Hatchetts in Mayfair
At first glance. Hatchetts is all bare walls and laid-back elegance, small plates at the counter top and beautiful bottles of whisky. You could be forgiven for thinking it was yet another well-heeled wine bar in the City. Head downstairs though, and you’ll find a restaurant that couldn’t be more traditional. There’s very much a Georgian townhouse feel about the dining, room: crimson walls, dark green leather and crisp tablecloths. It’s pretty much exactly what you would expect from Mayfair, except for the prices, which are surprisingly reasonable. Both starters and desserts range from £6-8 and, although the mains are a little pricier, the whole thing is still very affordable for the area. With that degree of accessibility, an experienced owner and well educated chef, Hatchetts has the potential to be a real hit.
A Kentish Courgette Flower filled with lemony ricotta is a bright, fresh, summery start to our meal. So, too, is the white peach that it comes with, given a slightly savoury edge by the grill. It would have benefited from being sliced and pitted though, as served whole it’s still a little firm inside. Razor Clams with Black Pudding is a perfect pairing of surf and turf, the gentle white shellfish proving a creamy base for the more pugnacious sausage. Think of it as being rather akin to scallops and chorizo.
The mains play it fairly simple and safe, with four entries each for meat, fish and vegetarian options. Whole Cornish Lobster, Garlic Butter, Warm Salad of Land Cress, Jersey Royals & Bacon jumps off the menu: it’s hard to go wrong with such classic flavours, and that’s definitely the the case here. Perfectly cooked lobster is accentuated by the sweetness of garlic and the salty punch of bacon-laden potatoes. The cress, which initially seems superfluous, brings some minerality to cut through all that luxurious fat.
The Ribeye with Lyonnaise Potatoes and Bone Marrow Gravy is equally good. It can be a challenging cut, needing just enough time on the grill to get its thick vein of fat meltingly soft, but here it’s perfectly cooked: charred, almost caramelised crust giving way to tender, rare beef inside. The jus is rich and meaty, enhanced immensely by the marrow infused in it. The whole thing is slightly over seasoned though, and especially heavy on the salt. Our waitress recommends a side of saffron courgettes, which add a touch of energy and freshness to what would otherwise be a heavy meal.
A Buttermilk Pudding, with Poached Rhubarb, Rhubarb & Hibiscus Sorbet is another set of classic flavours, creamy pudding cut through by the tang of the last of the early summer’s rhubarb. Lincolnshire Gooseberries & Local Elderflower Cheesecake has a wonderful texture, which is the key to any good cheesecake. The jellied topping is especially interesting but could do with a little more bite from the gooseberries and an extra dash of elderflower. It’s a nice dish, but sometimes it pays to be a little more bold.
It’s a minor complaint though. Consistent quality is the aim here – the sort of traditional restaurant you can always rely on. In that regard, Hatchetts certainly delivers with its menu of classical delights.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Matthew Pull
To book a table at Hatchetts, 5 White Horse Street London W1J 7LQ, call 020 7409 0567 or visit here.