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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Hush(sshhhhh, it's a hidden Mayfair gem!)

I suspect that in any given week, I recommend Lancashire Court to at least five people, whether this be to colleagues, associates, acquaintances or friends, either by email, social media or my big mouth! I absolutely love it, with all it's cobbled glory, tucked away off New Bond Street (or Brook Street if you're coming in from the other direction!), crammed inbetween buildings on all sides and almost entirely immune to the hapless foot traffic of the average tourist. It's never anything less than a hive of apres workers, seated comfortably and happy to be sinking into whatever boozy potion takes their fancy...

If you're coming in from New Bond Street, you will turn right into an alley alive with the sound of diners from both Mews of Mayfair (left) and Mayfair Pizza Co. (right), which offer fine brasserie dining and a superb wine list or mezze sharing plates and plush pizza respectively. Formally Rocket, Mayfair Pizza Co. was opened by Mews of Mayfair, so this alley quite literally represents different sides of the same coin! Adding to the party, Mews also has a bijou art gallery and a tiny private dining room in a wine cellar, aptly named le Cave; for the more discerning hob nobber, there is also tiny basement club downstairs, open until late and free-flowing with Champagne usually (being bubble drunk allows one to forget how sweaty basements always are when dancing, regardless of how posh the establishment!). Quite honestly, Mews is a triumphant brasserie, paying homage to British fare and rejoicing in simplicity, executed perfectly. Well worth a visit if you're willing to splash the cash a little (not Nobu, Fera at Claridges or Helene Darroze at The Connaught sort of cash, rather more Holborn Dining Room, Chotto Matte and Berners Tavern type of respectable spend!).

If you can wade through the narrow impasse between the aforementioned hoards of diners and apres work drinkers, you will reach Hush Mayfair. Similarly, if you enter Lancashire Court from Brook Street, you will avoid said gulley negotiations and reach the same spot - unlike Mews of Mayfair or Mayfair Pizza Co., which both share the alley, Hush occupies the entire open courtyard. Guarded from any roaming or transient diners sauntering between three eateries, the majority is laden with astroturf and a white picket fence, not to mention huge canopies (yes, it rains a lot here even when it's summer and even when it's hot!). Alfresco dining is emblematic of this location, with all three restaurants offering multiple spaces to suit your every whim - cocktail lounges and private rooms included.

As a food blogger, I would ordinarily like to start with a rant about the food, but on this occasion, I must first stop at the drinks...well, one drink in particular! The Chenin Blanc & Elderflower Spritzer is unequivocally the best drink I may have ever had - who knew that violet liqueur is such a extraordinarily good thing?! I appreciate that this is a bold statement, but I'm wholeheartedly willing to stand by it, just so long as the lemonade is replaced with soda water (lemonade makes it all far too sweet for my taste!). I've tried others and while my friends thoroughly enjoyed them, I now cannot deviate from this perfect combination of liquids in a giant goblet sized wine glass. Stop me now, for I need not go on and you really don't need any more information...

For the sake of all you folk who may also be interested in eating though, I shall pay brief homage to the thoughtful European selection of dishes, presented well and cooked very nicely. I really enjoyed the Lobster Macaroni, but at £16.50 for a small copper pot of it, this is an expensive starter priced like a main course, and for the love of gluttony, far too undersized to pretend to be your main dish (unless you are Kate Moss of course, who believes that skinny tastes better!). The Wild Mushroom Arancini + Truffle Mayonnaise (£4.50) was much more sensibly priced and very tasty indeed - the fact that the mushroom was a little overpowered by the dominant truffle is absolutely a very first world problem and one that I was very happy with as a fan of truffle! Aspen Fries tossed in parmesan and truffle oil (£5.75) tasted thrice cooked, crispy and full of flavour - win! Similarly the Rare Tuna was delicate and fresh, tossed in a soy & ginger dressing with greens - exactly what it said on the tin!

I cannot alude too far to the main courses because every time I visit Hush, I find myself covering every inch of my table in appetizers to share! All the while inhaling the delights of my ultimately divine Chenin Blanc and Elderflower Spritzer...sheer perfection and worth every penny of my £8, though I'm sure they were only £5.95 last year! Competing with Mews of Mayfair next door, no doubt...

I'll be in again w/c 1 September and am already counting down the days! Thanks, you're epic!

Rare tuna with soy & ginger dressing (£13.50 / £19.50)
Wild mushroom arancini with truffle mayonnaise (£4.50)
Parmesan fried courgette with herb mayonnaise (£4.50)
Aspen fries (£5.95)
Lobster macaroni (£16.50)
Courtyard - Lancashire Court
Ladies lav!

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