Introducing our new foodie contributor Laura Jemmett Park..
'An Architect and designer by day and an eating-out obsessive by night. I have a passion for interior design and food! I love trying out the amazing restaurants that London has to offer, with the design of the space as important to me as the food served...plus the occassional bit of glamour and luxury never hurts!
I like to keep track of the new restaurants offering the latest dining concept as well as finding out what all the fuss is about with the well-known favourites. I am looking forward to sharing restaurant reviews and visiting lots of interesting places for the cause.'
As soon as I heard about the models and fashionistas flocking to party at the new Berners Tavern during London Fashion Week I thought a visit was in order. When I then saw pictures of the beautiful dining room I instantly booked a table one Saturday in late December.
Berners Tavern, a new all-day restaurant from Michelin-star Chef Jason Atherton opened in September 2013. It is housed in the impressive Edition Hotel just off Oxford Street, making it the perfect place to lunch after a busy morning shopping.
The dining-room is simply stunning - it evokes such glamour and luxury that the prices on the menu, when handed to us by the attentive and extremely polite staff seemed surprisingly reasonable. The room is positively palatial with a cavernous high ceiling, decorative plasterwork, opulent chandeliers and walls covered by hundreds of gold-framed paintings. No understated touches, this was over the top opulence. It really was up there in terms of 'wow-factor'.
To contrast the grandeur of the surroundings; good, fresh ingredients put together in familiar and fun combinations make up the majority of the fairly extensive menu. We both went for 'Eggs, Ham and Peas' to start which looked amazing and tasted even better. What could get better than a gooey deep-fried duck egg, with crispy salty pancetta on a bed of the freshest minted mushy peas I have ever tasted? It was a perfect combination of three simple elements presented elegantly. For mains we decided to join the majority of the lunching-girl groups and couples on dates around us and order a 'sandwich'. Mine, BBQ pulled-pork in a soft bun with pickled cucumber, slaw and chips was delicious. I could not however, resist a taste of the modern twist on a prawn cocktail classic - battered rock-shrimp in a brioche bun with a spicy Marie-Rose sauce, lettuce and chips. Deliciously simple. In an attempt to counter the gluttony of the sticky sweet barbecue-y pork I demolished, we ordered a side of the swede and carrot mash with ginger, which was divine.
Full to bursting point from the generous portion sizes, it was a sad moment declining the extremely tempting dessert menu. Not to feel completely out-done and not quite ready to swap the glamour of the interior for a rainy Oxford Street I opted for a sweet cocktail instead.
I picked 'Cereal Killer' which was made with the fabulously nostalgic taste of chocolatey coco-pops milk and served with a retro straw in a glass jar. Chocolatey, rum goodness is a way to end any meal that I thoroughly recommend.
Berners Tavern is a fantastic experience - full of fun surprises in a lavish dining room. The food was good; the service was near-perfect and the dining room..well, I think you can tell I liked it. If you are looking for a 'wow' moment with un-complicated but tasty food then this is definitely worth a visit.
I am absolutely getting the girls together and heading back to try out the dill and thyme-infused cocktails and splash out on a sea-food platter!