One of the most buzzed about restaurants in London at the moment is Berners Tavern in the recently opened Schrager/Marriott EDITION Hotel in elegant Fitzrovia, a quiet hamlet just north of bustling Oxford Street. Based on our meal last night, if you’ve got clients headed to London, book now as this is a spot that is only likely to get hotter.
The space is dazzling – 18 foot ceilings with towering walls covered in gilt-framed art, different-sized paintings and photographs interlock in a grand puzzle surrounding an open and airy center with rows of cappuccino-coloured leather banquettes perfect for those wanting to see and be seen. It’s a good looking crowd at Berners. Successful fashion and media types filled the place, well dressed bankers and tourists between, topical chatter in a variety of accents creating a pleasant hum.
Food is overseen by English star chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton, who has devised a best-of-British menu with fun seasonal cocktails to match. Of the tipples, we liked the “Sloe Long Sweet Tart” a refreshing mix of sloe gin, cider, rhubarb and citrus. Creative appetizers, salmon cured with beets accompanied by a zippy horseradish cream and the “egg, ham and peas” a breaded, deep fried duck egg, yoke still runny atop bright green peas with slivers of crispy ham, was a delicious combo of flavor and texture. Mains were a bit more mainstream though we enjoyed a meaty grilled pork chop and lightly seared halibut followed by a sweet finish of rhubarb (it’s in season!) crumble and a creamy caramel éclair. Delicious on trend “farm to table” food in such a stunning setting comes at a price; expect 90 to 100 GBP per head for dinner including drinks and service.
Berners Tavern is Atherton’s third venture to debut in London in the last year, following the success of his Michelin starred Pollen Street Social which opened in 2011. As the first British chef to complete a stage at Spain’s famous elBulli restaurant, he has an inventive approach that lives up to the kudos, and his other spots Little Social nearby in Mayfair and Social Eating House in Soho are also worth a visit.