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A modern British restaurant at Brown’s Hotel.
Parts of the decor at Charlie’s will charm the pants off you: the velvet petrol-blue booths, for example, or the ornate border of tropical wallpaper; even the polished mahogany panelling is quite gorgeous, in that Mayfair library way. But Easter Island-style heads, trellis separators and chairs upholstered with striped towelling push it from playful luxe to a bit of a head trip. After all, there’s only so much fun you can have in a thickly carpeted room where the loudest sound is the rattling of the silver trolley doing its (perfectly sliced) smoked salmon rounds.
Serving traditional wood-grill classics and modern British fare, the restaurant – which gets its name from Brown’s Hotel’s former owner, Lord Charles Forte – serves a menu that comes courtesy of Adam Byatt, who earned a Michelin star for his Clapham restaurant Trinity. Unlike the interior, many of the plates sing. A pre-dinner radish and whipped cod’s roe combo was an en vogue surprise while slices of raw kingfish came prettily topped with pickled rhubarb and blood orange. With most ingredients being simple things sourced from the UK, the devil is in the detail, such as a rich, coarse mushroom purée served with sirloin of beef or the toasted hazelnuts strewn over green beans.
From those radishes to the celestial sourdough rolls and digestif petit fours and macarons – added freebies help justify the pricey bill. But in the golden era of relaxed fine dining, Byatt’s cooking (and covetable crockery) is ultimately let down by Charlie’s starched upper lip. My advice? Bring a boom box.
Brown’s Hotel London
|Transport:||Tube: Green Park|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £200.|
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