There has always been a recurring trait of high-end restaurants that I have found to be, sincerely, stifling: the interior design. To some extent, I do understand that their potential is limited by the need to conform to a certain image whilst maintaining a functional space, but most such restaurants just seem so bland, empty and dead to me to a level that is surprising. It was a breath of fresh air, then, to see a restaurant attempt, and somewhat manage, to tap into a rarer resource in London: green space.
Location: Greenhouse, Mayfair, London
Head chef: Arnaud Bignon
Camera: iPhone 4S
Rushing to arrive on time, I had nearly missed the entrance, gently tucked away inside a garden – a feature which is both precious and rare within London, especially in such an expensive area such as Mayfair. This gives the restaurant a very intimate, private vibe to it, and sets it apart with the green, fresh tones of the natural intro. The feature, however, fails to carry itself once inside the restaurant: sure, the large windows open upon nicely on the garden, and there is some attempt to continue the theme, but fails short of completely entrancing me.
With my iPhone 6 cruelly stolen from my hands (literally), I was downgraded (with many thanks to Kai for offering) to a 4S until I get things sorted out (until I hunt that bastard down and chop him into edible little pieces). Apologies for the lower quality of pictures – my soul was in pain.
We selected this to be our first 2015 restaurant, so decided to spoil ourselves a bit and go with the menu that offered 3 courses paired with 2 glasses of wine, together with tea and coffee. The price for this was 45£ a head – which is the general price a 2-Michelin star restaurant would charge you for this. I loved the simplicity of the menu – the main ingredient for each dish accompanied beneath by the secondary ones.
Overall, Chef Bignon’s food was delightful and the technical level of each dish was of very high level. Some, however, felt slightly awkward when it came to taste; my squid appetizer, whilst very well cooked, contained a lingering seaweed (I presume) aftertaste that reminded me of a beach where sea urchins come to die. The main dish, well cooked and solid on most grounds, had several pieces of meat with were contained a piece of silverskin (tendon, if I’m not wrong), which is unchewable and seemed more like a sloppy mistake that should not happen in a restaurant.
The deserts were – as is usual for most Michelin starred restaurants – top notch. They were fresh, interesting, playful on the dish – I specially enjoyed the Coconut, with a wonderful sour Yuzu core that complemented the sweetness very well.
The cuisine at Greenhouse still has some maturing to do, if anyone cares of my opinion. There is a definite obsession with Yuzu – unsure if because of it’s Japanese roots or for other reasons – but the dishes are playful and fresh, often fitting very well with the atmosphere the restaurant emulates. When playful, mistakes and dishes which aren’t quite there do appear, but it is a restaurant well worth checking out.
PS: I really enjoyed those little decorations at each table.