Hush Brasserie in St Pauls
Ascending the gentle slope of London’s Ludgate Hill in search of restaurateur Jamie Barber’s third addition to the Hush Brasserie group is a surreal pilgrimage: the majestic sight of St Paul’s Cathedral edges slowly into vision before filling the landscape with its imposing beauty. It’s suddenly doubtful that any restaurant could successfully follow such a gratifying view and in the case of Barber’s new opening, which is neatly situated opposite Sir Christopher Wren’s historical landmark, the cathedral remains the star attraction.
Designed by Michaelis Boyd Associates, the team behind the other Hush eateries, the venue is stylish yet informal, with a spacious dining area nestled between an open plan kitchen and a slick, curving bar that attracts city executives and denim-clad tourists alike.
The Nocellara Belice Green Olives and Flour Station Breads with Whipped Butter were a delight before starters, but an enquiry into the different types of breads was met with: “There is a white bread and a seeded brown bread.” There was no mention of the tastiest offering, a second white loaf mottled with a scant amount of seeds, which clearly indicated that the waiters could be better briefed on the food being served.
A starter of Pulled Pork, Yorkshire Pudding saw tender strands of meat encased in an overcooked outer shell, rescued by a ladle of soft, warm apple in an enjoyable calvados gravy. Grilled Tiger Prawns sadly couldn’t compete, despite looking spectacular, because they were served lukewarm with a chilli and ginger dressing that tasted like a confused Texas barbecue/Thai marinade hybrid.
A main course of Taglierini Pasta, with its generous chunks of lobster in chilli and garlic, was both flavoursome and bountiful but some of the chewier pieces of lobster belonged in an over-zapped microwave meal. A Caramelised Onion Tart was agreeable but not quite perfect; crisp puff pastry contained an ample, tasty filling but the star ingredient was rivalled by the inclusion of strong cheese.
A dessert of Warm Valrhona Chocolate Pot was a layer of cold mousse over scarcely heated custard but, infused with orange, it satisfied the most feverish chocoholic craving – although there’s always Chocolate Brownie with Earl Grey Ice Cream for a stodgier fix. The ice cream was subtle and the brownie moist and rich, with a delightful sticky toffee aftertaste that was washed down with a flawless Toffee Martini from an extensive cocktails list.
The bar area was heaving all night so it’s worth returning to explore the full repertoire of flavoured cocktails and imaginative bar snacks, which include the award-winning Joe & Steph’s gourmet popcorn. Hush Brasserie is a great place to relax in comfort and watch the world go by without breaking the bank, and the food is no better or worse than that of other restaurant chains found in and around London’s busy tourist hubs. For those seeking a substantial meal during a jaunt to the City, Hush is a handy pit stop close to the cathedral.
Hush Brasserie: 43/60
Photos: Monika Jørgesen
To book a table at Hush Brasserie, 1 Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7AA, call 020 7236 1544 or visit here.