Tucked beneath the streets of Mayfair, Nicole Farhi’s glamour-fuelled basement brasserie exudes sophisticated elegance . It’s an ideal posh pit-stop, though the lack of natural light and stream of well-dressed tourists are somewhat reminiscent of a business-class airport lounge. The menu is on the pricey side, but service is first-rate; before ordering, you’re offered a variety of artisan breads studded with nuts, raisins and herbs.
Starters comprise such simple favourites as grilled squid, mezze, and asparagus with serrano ham. We opted for roast quail with peach and pistachio salad, which was fine except for some tasteless, unripe peaches. A main of calf’s liver with smoky bacon was pleasant, while pan-fried sea bass with roast artichokes, fennel and black olives had a delicious balance of flavours and textures.
The best dish was dessert: a wonderful own-made lemon tart with thin, nutty pastry, a silky, tangy interior and a crunchy brûlée topping. With such excellent pâtisserie, it’s no wonder Nicole’s afternoon teas are in vogue right now.