The mention of Mayfair invokes thoughts of glitz, glamour and celebrities and I got a taste of all three on my recent visit to May Fair Kitchen which combines a warm atmosphere, upscale shared dining and reasonable prices with great service to boot.
Arriving at May Fair Kitchen, which is located in the opulent May Fair Hotel near Green Park, I get my first glimpse of the glamour associated with Mayfair. While I hand over my coat and gym bag, photographers take pictures of a gorgeous tall woman in a sparkly silver dress. Later, I find out that Cheryl Cole is expected as well. What a start to the night!
I use the time before my friend arrives to take in the surroundings. The restaurant offers a mix of intimate and communal dining with a few long counter tables placed in the midst of many small tables which are perfect for a date. There is an open kitchen and a colourful display of fresh veggies and herbs. My friend arrives and we nestle into a corner with a view of the beautiful chandelier made of bronze pipes and industrial lamps.
The menu is split into Mediterranean and Latin American cuisines with dishes from Italy, Spain, Peru and Mexico. We decided to start with some Italian burrata from Pugliese, smoked lamb carpaccio, gambas, roasted octopus and sea bass ceviche. The octopus is perfectly roasted and comes with a number of unusual accompaniments; there is a selection of pickled vegetables including mushrooms, cauliflower and radish, but the highlights are the pickled smoked paprika and a padrón mayo which compliment the octopus beautifully. When the lamb carpaccio arrives, we know who the star of the show is. The dish is covered by a glass bell filled with smoke which is slowly being diffused with a swaying motion allowing you to fully take in the aroma. (Have a look here to get the full visual.)
Our mains arrive and another lamb dish takes centre stage: the signature smoked lamb cutlets which are served on hot lava stone. The meat is very tender and flavoursome with a marinade that incorporates garlic, cilantro and chilis which gives the dish a kick without being overpowering. After the slight spiciness of the lamb, I am drawn to the robata-grilled pisco-glazed smoked paprika ribs. My friend and I agree that the glaze is what makes this dish special – a mixture of sweet soy sauce, spice, ginger and paprika. Finger-licking good.
While my friend is not a fan of desserts, I love to end my meals on a sweet note and Tiramisù is my absolute favourite. May Fair Kitchen has a great take on this Italian classic: a thin round layer of fresh sponge, three mounds of mascarpone cream with deliciously dark truffle centers and a mix of espresso and Disaronno which is poured on at the table. What a delight!
For more information or to make a booking, visit mayfairkitchen.co.uk