Berners Tavern for breakfast, Portland for lunch.. This is what you do when friends come to visit. What an afternoon!

I’ve been to Berners Tavern many times now for dinner and lunch but never for breakfast so having an old works reunion was the perfect excuse to visit. (My first review can be seen here). It never gets boring and the dining room is still in my opinion the most opulent & eye-catching in London.

I went for the avocado with poached eggs £9.50. It seems to be an ongoing super-food craze at the moment and yes I am late joining the party, but it’s better late than never as they say. It was good with the perfectly runny eggs with the deep orange hue but easily forgettable as the bread which it came with was cardboard like. It would have benefited from a thicker slice too as the one I got was akin to the processed stuff you get in the supermarkets. Hovis maybe?

Flat white £4.50, pink grapefruit juice £4.50.

Pain aux raisins £3.50 on the bill but evidently not as they are little croissants.

The verdict;

When did I go? July 2016
The damage: Expect to pay £15-£20 per head
The good: Berners Tavern always gives me a sense of occasion when I come here.
The bad: The restaurant is grand and beautiful, the dining experience this time round did not match. It’s a shame really but it won’t stop me coming back for lunch or dinner for that matter. It was a bloody pricey breakfast for what it was.
Rating: 2/5
Address: 10 Berners Street, London W1T 3LF
Closest tube: Tottenham Court Road
Phone: 020 7908 7979


Now onto lunch…

I first came to Portland in November 2015 and I was charmed by how good it was and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to come back.. And if you’d like to see my first review, click here.

The four of us opt for the lunch tasting menu at £45 per head.

Mahrsbräu £5. A lovely German lager, golden in hue and quite hoppy.

Stawley cheese macaroons £3 whilst we wait. They are made with goats cheese and you certainly knew about it from the pungent and robust flavour profile.

Their warm sour dough which is quite malty, is definitely worth a mention. The artisanal hunk of carb is warm when it arrives, ready for a good smear of butter. The flavour is immense.

From the snacks..

Crispy chicken skins, liver parfait, candied walnuts and pickled grapes. I couldn’t disagree that the chicken skins were made to a stage-perfect crispiness which provided the vehicle for the smooth parfait. The walnuts were welcome addition too, providing the sweetness and texture. We ordered them before going for the lunch tasting menu, which just so happened to be part of the course too, so the kitchen decided to be creative and bring us something off menu.

Our off menu snack of sweet roasted red peppers and almonds on a cracker. One bite wonders.

Chickpea and squid ink crisp with mackerel tartare, green apples and oyster emulsion. A melange of pungent fish.

Seabass in fermented beetroot parcels, miso mayo, pickled mustard seeds, finished off with dehydrated kafir lime leaves. Beautiful.

We share a bottle of Bourgogne Chardonnay £60 which worked wonderfully with the fish courses.

Post snacks..

Cured halibut with smoked yogurt, sliced avocado, pickled gooseberries, herring roe and shallot dressing. Some more good work here and isn’t it food art?

They look happy to be here!

Baby carrots sous vide in fermented carrot juice, on top of goats curd, flaked almonds, puffed rice and sunflower seeds mixed with yogurt powder & fresh blackberries. This dish was sublime, I loved the deep earthy sweet flavours of the tender carrots; overall it had multiple dimensions of texture and taste, from all the clearly identifiable ingredients.  

Longhorn short rib with baby beetroots, aubergine and yogurt. If you ever wondered what 43 hour prepared short rib looks like then look no further! It’s brined for 16hrs, smoked for 12hrs, sous vide for 10hrs, pressed for 5hrs, before being chargrilled and glazed with BBQ sauce. It’s an intense umami bomb! Thank you Portland for such an outstanding plate of food and the knowledgeable front of house for talking me through the process!

The Eclair which was not part of the tasting menu, but was ordered as I was so impressed with the hazelnut version during my last visit. It’s a choux bun, pistachio cream patisserie, pistachio glaze and crumble. Easily the lightest, crispiest and airiest pastry I’ve ever had, it was over-the-top deletable.

We went for a bottle of Innocent Bystander Moscato £30, which was light and fruity – it made for the perfect accompaniment to go with the sweet deserts. As modelled by our brilliant waitress – she really knew her stuff and smiled throughout the service.

Raspberry & lychee sorbet, whipped crème fraîche, raspberry coulis, elderflower, French meringues. It looks less extravagant in comparison to the eclair but believe it wasn’t less of a contender in taste. I would go as far to say that I’d preferred it. It was magnificent.

Chocolate fondant with tonka bean and whipped cream. The fondant gave a deep nutty flavour, with vanilla notes coming through. Another beautiful delivery of the petit four – awesome work.

The verdict:

When did I go? July 2016
The damage: Expect to pay £100-£120 per head with many drinks.
The good: It’s places’ like Portland which increases the quality of the London dining landscape, it’s rare in my experience that during a return visit that a restaurant surpasses how good it was the first time. Portland is an exception.
The bad: I wish there were more Michelin starred places like this.
Rating: 4.5/5
Address: 113 Great Portland St, London, W1W 6QQ
Closest tube: Oxford Circus
Phone: 020 7436 3261

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