30 June 2014

Friday Night At The Berners Tavern

When it comes to d├ęcor, the jaw-dropping opulence and glamour of the Berners Tavern places it at the forefront of the London restaurant field. It opened just under a year ago and as you'll see from the photos coming up below, it's no more a tavern than, say, The River Cafe is a cafe.  Set inside the glitzy London Edition Hotel, the restaurant attracts London's elite and thus is a great place for lovers of people-watching - like me! If you book a table here (and do it way in advance) expect to see both the rich and famous. I saw many, many rich. No bloody famous this night though - typical!

I was first to arrive when meeting my friend for dinner last Friday evening and I was floored by the grand, stately home-esque room that I had walked into. The ceiling, which is as high as a cathedral's, was intricately designed. Beautiful chandeliers add to the enchantment as do hundreds of gold-framed paintings adorning the walls.

I settled myself at a table next to the impossibly high cocktail bar. Whilst tempted to request a shot on the rocks from one of the bottles right at the top, I settled for one of their very pleasing and well-presented cocktails (a Room With A View - vodka, quince, citrus syrup, apple juice, lemon and prosecco) then took in my surroundings until Jen arrived soon afterwards to join me for aperitifs.

At our table, we considered the menu. It's certainly mouth-watering with something to please most people; grills and steaks, salads, sandwiches, elegant seafood dishes, sharing platters and Sunday roasts. The decision wasn't an easy one!

The friendly and informative sommelier was on hand to help us choose a fantastic wine based on our food choices and budget.

There are many Berners Tavern takes on classic dishes on the menu, one of which I was quick to secure as my starter: the good old-fashioned prawn cocktail. Or to be more precise, the native lobster and prawn cocktail with avocado and crispy shallot.

I was delighted when it arrived before me!

The cocktail was bursting with flavour, wonderfully tangy with a pleasing texture from the crunchy lettuce and toasted croutons in the creamy sauce. I also liked how the lettuce was chopped up to the perfect size with none of those annoying long pieces dangling off the spoon and making a Marie Rose mess!

Jen had the "Egg, Ham and Peas" - new season pea and broad bean risotto, crispy quail egg and lardons. Beautifully presented, Jen said the ingredients complimented each other perfectly and the dish was delicious.

We both ordered fish for main. I had the turbot with squid ink risotto and Jen chose the Cornish cod with borlotti bean, courgette and chorizo.

Although we commented on how nice both our dishes were, they didn't make for particularly appealing photographs (jet black squid ink risotto in a pan doesn't look too enticing). Instead, I'm going to move on to something much more of a feast for the eyes because - as it turns out - The Berners Tavern do some great desserts.

Introducing their strawberry trifle!

And their cinnamon doughnut! 

That's a warm, cinnamon sugar coated doughnut with 70% chocolate ganache seeping from the inside, served with almond sorbet...

Each plate was paired by the restaurant with a delectable glass of dessert wine. The trifle went fantastically with the Italian sparkling Brachetto d'Aqui and the doughnut with a Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel.

I was a big fan of that trifle. It had the perfect ratio of cream to custard to sponge to jam.

I was the cat that got the cream. And the cat that got the oozing chocolate doughnut...

We both had lovely meals in an impressively grand environment. Berners Tavern may not be a place for everyone - it's not the most laid back, unpretentious atmosphere in London and it delivers a rather punishing bill at the end. But the venue definitely has something special and the food lived up to the hype for both Jen and I.

Unable to tear ourselves away after our dinner, our waiter secured us a table back in the bar area where we enjoyed a post dinner cocktail and a selection of their little macarons. The perfect finish to a super-luxurious evening.

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  1. That dining room looks so beautiful and I really want that donut!! Love your shoes too :)

  2. Wow! What a jawdroppingly beautiful place. I love these pictures, It all looks so grand and the food looks amazing too. :) xx

    1. It is really beautiful in there. I'm glad you like the pictures :) x

  3. I loved it there too, I went for lunch though, I'd love to see the glamour of the place at night! I love that you went retro with the prawn cocktail and strawberry trifle! I also had the squid ink and it turned my mouth black!
    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London

  4. WOW! This venue is absolutely stunning! Everything looks amazing!

  5. Those desserts look so good this is now on the foodie list to visit. Love the leather skirt looks beautiful and perfect for the opulent surroundings Lucy x

  6. The restaurant really does look the picture of opulence and reminds me a lot of Le Train Bleu in Paris (not what you'd expect for a train station restaurant). I can't wait to get myself down there - not least to try that trifle!


  7. Ooh this looks amazing! The desserts look very yummy!


  8. I've been meaning to go here for a while but never got around to it as I thought the decor was pretty, but it would be a bit bland. Turns out, it's far from it. This will definitely go back on my list to visit!

    Katie <3


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