Retro Feasts in Mayfair
Grandma’s recipes get a modern makeover in a new venture by Mark Fuller and teenaged chef Luke Thomas. Retro Feasts is a stylish pop-up restaurant on the ground floor of Fuller’s high-end nightclub, Embassy. The eatery is open for six months and pays homage to the duo’s favourite childhood dishes. In keeping with the Mayfair location, the diner-come-bachelor-pad avoids excessive kitsch; fitted with plush sofa booths, wooden school chairs and even a foosball table, the restaurant – like the food it serves – has been stylishly updated for today’s market.
There is no indication of innovation on the menu. It reads like a 1980s pub lunch – Coronation Chicken, Fish in Parsley Sauce and Rice Pudding. Picking out a three-course meal is tempting but the emphasis is on “Dishes to Share” and it’s recommended to order several small plates and work up to a main course. Cheese and Pineapple has evolved from cheddar blocks on cocktail sticks into skewers of creamy goat’s cheese in golden crumb. Partnered with cubes of pineapple and toasted coriander seeds, it’s deliciously nutty. Smooth Chicken Liver Pate is moreish but a surprising quince jelly upgrades it to exceptional. Prawn Cocktail and Crab on Toast are clean and balanced but too safe for a first visit.
For mains, opt for Steak Diane and Fish Fingers. The latter arrives as three rectangular, chunky fish cakes made with salmon and white fish. Accompanying fries and tartar sauce make this a hearty dish with plenty of flavour. The steak is a juicy rump cut, smothered in a glossy sauce crammed with onions and fried mushrooms. It’s teamed perfectly with a buttery mash.
Desserts are difficult to choose but Peach Melba pairs the bruléed fruit with an excellent vanilla ice-cream, rolled in toasted nuts. Black Forest Gateau is deconstructed and dished up in a jar. It smells like a childhood birthday cake but is strictly for grown-ups. The brandy cream topping delivers a strong kick over layers of cherry compote, rich chocolate mousse and crunchy brownie pieces.
Don’t leave without trying a “From the Sweetshop” cocktail. Humble penny sweets are reinvented into sophisticated tipples, including Kola Kube and Pear Drop. Topped with thick foam, Rhubarb and Custard looks pretty in a martini glass and isn’t too tart. Fruit Salad, sweetened with raspberry jam, tastes exactly like the Barratts confectionery But don’t be fooled, the alcohol takes effect fairly quickly!
As with every enterprise involving Mark Fuller, Retro Feasts attracts a celebrity clientele. However, the restaurant isn’t just for champagne drinking socialites. With prices starting at £5 and capped at £12.50, this is a fun and affordable eaterie in the heart of London’s Mayfair. It won’t be around for long so indulge quickly before Retro Feasts, like the dishes it reinvents, becomes a thing of the past.
Photos: Allie Suwanrumpha
Retro Feasts: 52/60
To book a table at Retro Feasts, 29 Old Burlington Street, Mayfair, W1S 3AN, call 020 7494 4660 or visit here.