Berners Tavern at the London EDITION Hotel
Jason Atherton is on a roll: following his departure from Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in 2010, the chef has wasted no time in erecting his own empire. Earning a Michelin star in 2011 for his flagship restaurant, Pollen Street Social, Atherton has just been awarded another coveted star for Social Eating House − two weeks after launching the critically-acclaimed Berners Tavern, his third London opening this year.
The “tavern” (a misleading name for a venue far removed from a public house) is located within Ian Schrager’s highly anticipated EDITION hotel, a multi-million-pound venture near Oxford Street. The ballroom-esque dining room, with elaborate, high ceilings, stunning chandeliers and old-fashioned opulence, is nothing less than show-stopping. Paintings and framed photographs of all shapes and sizes are tiled across the walls, depicting every conceivable form: still life, livestock, landscapes, sculptures − even fashion accessories!
Arriving at the height of the lunchtime rush, the restaurant was heaving, with visitors including leading figures from the catering and entertainment industries: a good sign. The starters, though pretty and delicious, teetered dangerously on the edge of balance. Refreshing Orkney Scallop Ceviche, with avocado, radish and baby gem, was occasionally overpowered by a jalapeño and lime ice; Middle White Pork and Pistachio Pate, served with a fantastic spiced pear puree and toasted sourdough bread, looked and tasted like a rustic slice of Italian mortadella − with a vampire-slaying dose of garlic.
Main courses, in contrast, were flawless. A medium-rare Creedy Carver Duck, Braised Leg, Caramel Apples, Pickled Plum Puree and Turnips was perfectly tender and brimming with flavour, as was Blythburg Pork Belly, Hispi Cabbage and Apple “Coleslaw”, Capers and Raisins.
Unable to decide between three desserts, our helpful waiter recommended we sample them all, so we duly obliged! A Chocolate Filled Donut, dusted in cinnamon sugar, arrived with an exceptional almond sorbet, tasting like a pureed macaron, while Chocolate Éclair – filled with a vanilla cream and juicy strawberries – was a work of art, worthy of its own hanging space on the Tavern’s walls. Both were narrowly overshadowed by Warm Almond Brioche, Pear Compote, Ginger Sorbet, deconstructed into a jar and topped with crème anglaise – unforgettable!
Steering clear of an impressive wine list, we opted for cocktails, which were crisp and fruity, though slightly medicinal in taste. Once Upon a Thyme (pineapple, lime, ginger beer and thyme) and Appley Ever After (bitter lemon, blackberry syrup, mint, lemon and apple juice) seemed too healthy to be indulgent.
We left on an immense (possibly sugar-induced) high, eager to return with family and friends. Berners Tavern is that kind of place – special and inviting, an experience to be shared and fondly remembered. The restaurant is undoubtedly one of the most exciting new additions to London’s dining scene, reflecting its five-starred home in offering a comfortable yet luxurious haven from the throng of Oxford Street. Whether indulging in a tea and cake or lengthy three-course meal, disappointment is unlikely.★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Monika Jørgesen
To book a table at Berners Tavern, 10 Berners Street London W1T 3NP, call 020 7908 7979 or visit their website here.