Pierre Koffmann, one of the most esteemed chefs of his generation, came out of retirement in 2010 to open this formal brasserie inside the swanky Berkeley hotel. The dining room, split over two floors, features smart textured wallpaper, plush carpets and crisp white linen; however, first-timers may be surprised to find there are no views over Hyde Park, which lies just opposite.
Koffmann hails from Gascony and his culinary heritage is apparent from the off, but plump, garlicky snails with bone marrow and parsley foam showed that the kitchen keeps up with contemporary trends too. The cooking can be muscular, and our daube of beef cheeks in red wine was exceedingly rich. Potatoes are also taken seriously here – faultless mashed potato proved the point. For dessert, pistachio soufflé was executed with an architect’s precision while tarte au citron was a seductive blend of tart, creamy and caramelised flavours. Service is well drilled and attentive.
A carefully compiled drinks list showcases two dozen wines by the glass, and some gems from the south-west corner of France. No wonder visitors continue to be delighted by Koffmann’s return to the stove.