The name of this snug Marylebone restaurant suggests a polite blend of English and Mediterranean, and that’s what you feel when you walk through the door. Like the area, it’s imbued with an air of relaxed wealth: quietly luxurious but not showy.
You can opt to eat at closely packed tables(don’t share any state secrets), or take a seat at the buzzy counter. From the delicately conceived dishes to the weighty copper-tinged cutlery holders, everything looks exceedingly refined, but once you dig into the menu, you realise there’s far more going on than presentation alone. I was only halfway through a chocolate mousse packed with orange pieces and topped with crumbled ginger biscuits before wanting to scream about how brilliant it was. I didn’t, of course, because this place attracts a serious-looking, part-business, part-pleasure crowd and I doubt they’d have approved. So consider this a delayed but passionate scream.
The cooking is meticulous and just the right side of fussy. Split into simple sections – raw, vegetable, fish, meat – the menu is bashfully modest, with most dishes available in two sizes. Don’t expect volume even with the big plates. But do expect to want to lick them.
A gazpacho starter was excellent, the server pouring a nuclear-red cold tomato soup over croutons and veg, bringing it to life in front of my eyes. Main was quail: lovely, juicy thighs that came with my favourite bit of the meal, a fluffy truffle boudin (sausage). Everything really clicked when I felt totally at home picking the bones and running a finger over the plate to finish the rich, sticky sauce. Who wants guilt with their dinner? You won’t find it here. What you will find is show-stopping cooking, with no need for fanfare or snobbery.