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Apricity

  • Restaurants
  • Mayfair
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  1. Photograph: Ben Carpenter
    Photograph: Ben Carpenter
  2. Photograph: Ben Carpenter
    Photograph: Ben Carpenter
  3. Photograph: Ben Carpenter
    Photograph: Ben Carpenter
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

On my Friday evening visit, I went looking for Apricity, a new socially conscious restaurant in Mayfair. Instead, Citymapper failed me and I ended up at a fertility clinic also called Apricity five minutes down the road. 

The two share the same name and they also share the beginnings of parenthood. Chef-owner Chantelle Nicholson’s new restaurant baby has been years in the making (after being delayed thanks to something or other). She’s known for her zero-waste approach to cooking and has previously received a Green Michelin Star (an honour for sustainability) for her work at her former restaurant Tredwells. 

When I finally find the right Apricity, I discover that this emphasis on sustainability is also promoted in the interior. The walls are bare plastered; chairs are made from old Coca-Cola bottles; oyster shells are crafted into moon-like light pendants; pothos and ivy plants hang down from the ceiling, giving the airy space a distressed-chic (or late ’00s Dalston squat party) look. 

The menu Nicholson has put together with head chef Eve Seemann follows the seasons and naturally changes a lot. Things kicked off with a plate of cuttlefish with chilli cherry tomatoes and smoked emulsion, and aubergine with zhoug and roasted almond butter. Both were punchy, crunchy and creamy – texturally triumphant and moreish. The move is to make sure you order Flor sourdough to mop up the saucy remains. A lettuce head followed, with dainty pieces of dehydrated tomatoes, blobs of aioli and slivers of roasted kale. The whole thing looked like it belonged in the Tate and tasted wonderfully fresh and balanced, though somewhat overshadowed by the previous dishes. 

The rhubarb cashew cream with rhubarb granita and honeycomb was a mind-blowingly smart dish

Next, the shio koji (Japanese fermented seasoning) cured pollock and mussels in sambal sauce was a beautiful funky and saucy harmony, but I would’ve liked that sambal sauce to be dialled up a notch. A plate of tempura-fried oyster and black-pearl mushrooms with XO sauce, Flanders wheat and wild garlic tasted like a deep-fried forest in the best possible way: complex, woody and earthy and raw; sadly the grains were far too chewy and let this dish down.

The standout plate? Rhubarb cashew cream with rhubarb granita and honeycomb was a mind-blowingly smart dish. The rhubarb was electrifying, jolting me awake after my hefty meal: the real magic happened when the granita melted, adding a cooling watery sweetness. Then the light golden honeycomb pieces cut through, bringing a fun crunch to the party. Sadly, the same couldn’t be said for the baked milk-chocolate mousse with miso and brown-sugar custard. It basically disintegrated and turned into soup. Texturally it didn’t work at all, though the incredible umami-packed miso and luxurious chocolate flavours were all there.

Service was enthusiastic and always accommodating. Staff recommended items and matching wines for each dish, and even showed me around the kitchen downstairs. I’d happily come back for that aubergine, the rhubarb dessert and a lovely glass of Riesling. However, pricing is on the high side (hey, we’re in Mayfair) coming in at about £85 a head with drinks (there are two tasting-menu options: £65 for five courses or £85 for seven), but the prices ensure staff are valued and rewarded for the work they do. 

Nicholson and her team know their way around using ingredients to their full potential. They’re obviously having fun playing with flavours and textures – chewy, crunchy, nutty, smooth, silky, velvety – sometimes all on the same plate. Some dishes were knockout and some needed more work, but I reckon with time this place will grow into something beautiful and flourish to its full potential

What is it? Chef-owner Chantelle Nicholson’s no-nonsense approach to sustainability. 

Why go? For the aubergine with zhoug and the rhubarb, cashew cream and honeycomb dessert.

The vibe: A casual neighbourhood restaurant vibe but in Mayfair.

The food: Fresh veg-forward sustainable cooking. 

The drink: A daily changing cocktail menu using seasonal ingredients and a mighty selection of wines. Plus, an interesting and well-thought-out selection of soft, no and low cocktails for the non-drinkers. 

Time Out tip: It’s not open just yet, but there’s a private dining room downstairs right by the kitchen where you’ll get the chef’s table experience.

Angela Hui
Written by
Angela Hui

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Address:
68 Duke St
London
London
W1K 6JU
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