With its new menu Hunter 486 in Marylebone aims to hone the ‘Best of British’ by teaming up with Henrietta Green, author of A Food Lover’s Guide to Britain.
Nestled in The Arch London hotel, the boutique restaurant exemplifies the hotel’s intimate feel with an obvious emphasis on quality over quantity.
Head chef Gary Durrant was the driving force behind the idea, opting to move away from the international range of their previous menu to develop one full of the country’s top dishes.
The restaurant itself is small but oozes class, with a polished wooden interior and modern furniture while brands of champagne and wines I have never heard of nor could ever afford adorn some of the walls.
My girlfriend and I were given a booth in the centre of the restaurant with a perfect view of the open plan kitchen and its famous stone oven while the hospitable staff added to the relaxed atmosphere.
From fish stew to roast Norfolk Black free-range chicken, the new menu boasts an impressive variety of options that proved difficult to choose from.
We both elected for cocktails as our drinks of choice on the advice of the staff, I had a pomegranate and peach Bellini while my girlfriend chose a Grace Kelly martini, made up of blackberries, gin, Crème de Casis, lychee liqueur and lime juice.
The Tattinger champagne dominated the Bellini while the martini packed a flavoursome punch.
For starters, I plumped for the crispy oxtail with horseradish cream while my partner went with the fried scallops.
The oxtail was sufficiently crispy and, having never tried it before, the horseradish cream was a revelation and turned a solid starter into a stellar first course.
My girlfriend was equally as impressed with the scallops, which were flavoured with a chilli jam and mango salsa that again set it apart from your average starter.
After an ever so slightly adventurous starter I opted for an old favourite for my mains – steak and chips.
Considering myself a bit of a connoisseur of this particular dish, I thought I would be able to pick up on any shortcomings it might have.
There were none. Within a few mouthfuls I was proclaiming it the best steak I had ever tasted and was on the verge of ditching my girlfriend and proposing to Gary.
The meat was tender and delicious when tried on its own, but with a couple of chips forked on top it became nothing short of incredible.
The béarnaise sauce it came with added a welcomed French element to a brilliantly cooked example of British cuisine that should be advertised as a main staple of this new menu.
My girlfriend elected for a dish that would be cooked in the stone oven, roast seabass with orange and rosemary butter, which seemed to back up the bold claims the restaurant makes of the oven.
After a heady first two courses, we faced the most indulgent of the lot as I went for the not-so-British chocolate fondant while my girlfriend had the blood oranges, pomegranate and toasted almonds with mascarpone sorbet for dessert.
Having savoured my mains, I attempted to do the same with the fondant, only for my sweet tooth to kick in and I ended up wolfing it down.
It was a fitting end to a great meal, with the orange ice cream that came with it providing a refreshing kick after the rich warmth of the fondant.
After a strong recommendation from the hotel’s general manager, Michael Voigt, the blood oranges had a lot to live up to which, much like the rest of the meal, they did.
Bursting with flavour, the dish served as both a memorable treat and sufficient pallet-cleanser.
While the price may rule this restaurant out for some, it is an excellent choice for a lunch with friends or a romantic meal with a loved one for those who can afford it.
Care clearly goes in to not just the preparation of the food but the service provided by staff while the menu gives a very good account of the best of British food.
Interior picture courtesy of The Arch London