The Mayfair, a brasserie from David Mackintosh (SPQR) and Joe Jones (Romeo Lane), sits at the base of the Sofitel hotel, flanking a golden-lit roundabout with a diameter wide enough to accommodate any circling limousines.
Despite fitting right in, Fred Astaire’s tap shoes would be rendered useless by the carpeted floor. Soft furnishings continue in a fit-out by Mills Gorman Architects and designer Luisa Roth, with leather booths and white tablecloths.
Mackintosh and Jones used New York’s famed Stork Club as a point of reference for their CBD bar and bistro. The club, which closed in 1965, was a symbol of wealth and power – the kind of place where Ernest Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra stopped by for a drink.
All liquor is served from glass decanters. Your fellow patrons won’t have a clue if you order top shelf whisky or a house pour.
Naturally, glasses of Perrier-Jouët champagne flow. The delicate enamel flowers coating the flutes echo the white bouquets on the dining room tables. The rest of Elle Fredrick’s wine list is essentially classic, with French producers alongside local drops.
The kitchen serves up French-leaning classics with finesse. Taro crisps provide a delicate vehicle for four-week dry-aged steak tartare, mixed through with the tang of mustard and crowned by a smoked egg yolk. Also to start, a crisp-bottomed, house-made crumpet is capped with a nest of herbs, spanner crab, bottarga and trout roe, lightly dressed with Keens Curry-spiced mayonnaise. A must-order dish.
Caviar is served with chicken skin crisps and chive crème fraiche. The duck a l’orange is no more expensive than a special at a nice pub. This version sees a bird dry-aged for 21 days, before its skin is crisped and served with savoury orange sauce, roasted carrots, charred leaves and dukkah.
Past 11pm, the reasonably priced supper menu offers an omelette bathed in chicken and truffle gravy. The eggs are whipped to sabayon consistency before hitting a pan of hot butter, creating a darkly browned shell to hold the cloud-like interior. The dish proves eggs need not be reserved for the breakfast table.
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