Amazing venue, great food and excellent staff. In particular, look out for Ellen (or the "Swede") who is one of the best dessert waitresses around!
© Ming Tang-Evans
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Tue Aug 27 2013
Restaurateur Jason Atherton has had a great year. Berners Tavern is the third restaurant he’s opened in the West End this year; the other two, Little Social and Social Eating House, were very well received for their playful and appealing dishes. This new venture is more of the same, but in a much grander setting.
It’s housed in the new Edition hotel in Fitzrovia, which looks like the older, more sophisticated sister of the Sanderson hotel just down the road. Both places were given makeovers by hotelier Ian Schrager, but Edition is an exercise in slick metropolitan taste, with opulent chandeliers, framed art-by-the-yard covering entire walls, and improbably elegant staff. The huge lobby bar looks fabulous; but the vast dining room, with its ornate plasterwork ceiling, very low lighting and lively bar area, looks even better. The menu’s prices are alarmingly high – but most of the dishes we tried were very good.
Head chef Phil Carmichael turns out tender pork belly with a sauce of sharp capers, golden raisins and apple coleslaw to cut through the fat. The flavours of this and a pan-braised halibut (perfectly cooked) with a little saucepan of savoury squid ink risotto were sublime. A starter of ‘egg, ham and peas’ updates a signature Atherton recipe; a breadcrumbed duck egg is held upright by a purée of fresh peas, the crisp Cumbrian ham almost a garnish. The only culinary disappointment was a chocolate éclair dessert, as the pastry – which should be very slightly stale – was overly so.
Any caveats? Sometimes dizzy service; too-frequent upselling of extras; lighting so low we could barely read the menu. But Berners Tavern is an utterly glamorous experience. Wear your heels or best threads – and book ahead for a cocktail in the Punch Room bar first, to steel yourself for that punishing bill later.
Reviewed by Guy Dimond
Berners Tavern 10 Berners Street
- Venue phone:
020 7908 7979
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Bar Open 11am-11pm daily. Restaurant Breakfast served 7-10.30am, lunch served noon-2.30am, dinner served 6-10.30pm daily. Lighter supper menu served 10.30pm-midnight daily.
Tube: Oxford Circus or Tottenham Court Road tube
Main courses £15-£26. Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £140.
- 10 Berners Street
- 020 7908 7979
- 10 Berners Street
- Berners Tavern
Average User Rating
3.5 / 5
- 5 star:5
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:2
Despite the beautiful decor and generally good food, there is one major problem with this restaurant which makes me never want to visit again (and I suspect many others including another reviewer below). Portions are tiny! Everything we ordered for breakfast was half the size of what you would get elsewhere. A £5 smoothie was less than half the size of what I would get elsewhere. Pancakes = two small slightly doughy discs. Etc, etc. There is nothing worse than paying high prices for tiny portions, leaving the restaurant feeling hungry and ripped off.
The venue is incredible and my girlfriend and I had high hopes of having a nice breakfast before work. Unfortunately though, it took 45mins for our meals to arrive; pancakes and a bacon sandwich (hardly time-consuming/difficult dishes). We were told numerous times that it was 1 minute away so we waited, hoping that the delicious food would make up for the service. But after 45 minutes we got burnt, rock solid toast for the bacon sandwich and 2 mini cold pancakes (that would've filled me up if I was 10 years old) with soggy strawberries. We were also late for work and all we got was a "sorry, this never happens". If we were offered a discount we probably would've declined but appreciated it, as we're not the type to demand anything - but we weren't. So although the place looks spectacular, the food was far from that. The only reason I gave it 2 stars was because the atmosphere was great.
Stunning room, attentive staff, great wine list and the potential to be fantastic. Needs to address portion sizes. Staff were fabulous overall. Sommelier was very knowledgable and recommended a great wine. Our waiter did use a wet cloth to wipe down our paper placemat- this was odd! But he was very polite so we forgave this. What we couldn't forgive was the portion sizes... The food tasted great but there wasn't much of it! At £24.50 ( if I recall correctly) for a sea bass main course, we were expecting more than the measly 6cm square (approx) portion that appeared before us. Maybe they thought we were on a diet. Maybe they'd run out and were rationing it. Unfortunately we'd both ordered the same main course so couldn't even share. This is my favourite meal and we've ordered it at many restaurants and have never seen such a small portion. To be fair, we didn't complain and in hindsight we should've sent it back as it was beyond unacceptable, but the look of sheer disappointment on our faces said it all. The waiter did ask if we were ok, but our shock left us speechless. As we assessed our miniature cheese and biscuits that followed, we concluded if we ordered another bread basket we might be full. We weren't. We did go soon after it opened so maybe it was a teething problem. Definitely worth visiting, but I wouldn't recommend ordering the sea bass for dinner if you're hungry, unless you've got the phone number of a good late night take-away for your return home.
I was blown away by the place! The food was amazing too. I had oysters (incredibly fresh) and steak!
London's newest bobby dazzler is Berners Tavern. This is no tavern or Bernies Inn, but more a gastronomic heaven in Ian Shrager's new hotel Edition behind Oxford St. Enter through palatial glass doors to a fabulous grand atrium and join the party. You are immediately transcended to a world of 5 star luxury, imagine lots of well groomed eye candy, high spec hotel interior, a hip bar, a huge silver egg/ spaceship for a chandelier and funky music. That's just the hotel reception. Turn right into the 'tavern' and be wowed by the sky high ornate ceiling, walls of gilted paintings and lots of alluring leather upholstered booths with an army of female staff in white tuxedos and men in jet black waistcoats. The music was an eclectic mix of salsa/ ibiza/ jazz and slightly contradicted the cuisine and surroundings but worked. You can feel the energy and finery in this place. The cuisine is mastered by Jason Atherton, top dog in London at the moment for new restaurants. My only niggle would be that the lighting was so dim, that my guests with dodgy vision all had to get their IPhone torches out to see the menu. But this is the kind of menu you could easily play 'pin the tail on the donkey' and win, all dishes were equally brilliant. Think Romney marsh lamb either as as starter with some amazing creamy pasta dish or as a main with delicate lamby chops or share a feast of lamb for £55 for 2. The ceviche of scallops looked slightly anaemic on the plate but tingled and tantalised the palate. I had the sea bass which was milky white with perfectly crispy skin accompanied by a bright green samphire and mustardy cream, 'a little bowl of yum'. Halibut with moreish squid ink risotto also satisfied us. The warm almond brioche in a jar was a novel, creamy, golden fruity delight. Dishes were generous, rich and worth every penny. After filling your boots with fine grub, totter into the the punch bar (can be pre booked) for a little brandy in sultry gentleman's club surroundings. This is the kind of place you need to go on a friday or saturday night, dust off those glad rags, shine your shoes and join London's most exciting gastronomic party.