A very British brunch at Reform Social and Grill
All eyes may be on Stratford this summer, but there’s good reason to avoid the Olympic Park and make for chi chi Marylebone where the Mandeville Hotel (one of CD-Traveller’s favourite luxury boutique boltholes) has opened a brand new British restaurant – Reform Social and Grill – just in time for the anglophiles arriving in town for the Olympic Games.
The decor – all dark wood floors, copper coloured walls, marble tables and deep red banquettes – and smart dress code, evokes the feeling of a classic British gentleman’s club making you think you’ve stepped back in time to a far more graceful age. Happily however the restaurant is not a case of style over substance: head chef, Jens Eolkel’s brilliantly British menu also elates.
The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but CD-Traveller went along for that wonderful weekend meal – Sunday brunch – the brainchild of Brit, Guy Beringer, back in 1895.
Order a classic cocktail (try the Champagne concoction of Remy Martin VS, bitters, sugar cube and champagne, £11.50, for in such stunning surroundings it would be a shame not to) and prepare to peruse the extensive menu.
A seasonal fruit platter (£6.50), a selection of English and tropical fruits, sounds like something Gwyneth Paltrow or Madonna (both of whom have called Britain home) might eat. But it works well as a bit of stomach lining before a legion of sweet looking staff (who occasionally line the walls like theatre usherettes waiting for the show to start) bring in treats like the Cornish mackerel (squid, sea pickle, watercress, £6.50). Moving onto mains, all the usual suspects are here – think eggs benedict (£10.50), flat mushrooms on toast (£5) and the full english (£16.50) – but some more unusual offerings help lift the Mandeville’s brunch menu out of the ordinary.
Plump for the buckwheat pancake (£7) – comfort food in its truest sense – served with smoked salmon and a poached egg so rich, the hen must have enjoyed a five star life rivalled only by the likes of Tamara Ecclestone. The salt baked beetroot salad (£7) is another dish that shouts of a confident kitchen.
But save room for dessert: puds here are no afterthought, but instead an integral part of the menu, so abandon all thoughts of calorie counting. The chocolate pot (£6.50) made from amadei chocolate and complimented by salted caramel and a generous dollop of whipped cream was simultaneously beautiful, surreal and delicious, while the Yorkshire rhubarb fool and cheeky brandy snap (£6.50) had my dining companion moaning with pleasure. Other appealing menu options include the eccles cakes (remember them?) and orange and amaretto tart.
Essentially then, eating at Reform Social and Grill may be bad for the waistline (we couldn’t help but wonder why the regular diners were not all immensely fat rather than glossy and gorgeously model like) but it’s good for the soul. British band, The Pet Shop Boys, once famously sang ‘go west’. Fast forward to 2012 and owing to Reform’s winning alliance of cuisine and character, both visitors to London and locals alike would do well to follow suit. We left the west London restaurant enamoured and wanting more. Bring your appetite and Black AMEX: a great British feast awaits.
NEED TO KNOW
Reform Social and Grill
The Mandeville Hotel
020 7935 5599