I also ate at Gordon Ramsay's Verre in Dubai when Mr Atherton was their Executive Chef, the London EDITION and Mr Atherton was the first British person to complete a stage at El Bulli, & so is regarded as an industry star. At Pollen Street Social he promises "fine dining with a twist".
My friend was already having a drink in the bar when I arrived. Despite me not being late, we were rushed through to our table. After a busy morning of meetings, I would have preferred to have a quiet drink with her in the bar first.
The restaurant was formerly a Pitcher & Piano in Mayfair. There are floor to ceiling windows and an open-plan dining room with a confident but undistinctive design with wood, banquettes & contemporary art. This place has the buzz of fine dining with less of the formality.
Cocktails at Our Table
Any cocktail list that quotes Denis Thatcher on gin is worth a read. The whole place is about enjoyment, playfullness & fun. I entered into the spirit of this getting a 'Ten Pollen' with Tanquery Ten, wild dill pollen, grapefruit, dry vermouth & 'fake olives'. The 'fake olives' are actually Japanese baby peaches & it was a stunningly fragrant drink.
We started with amuse bouche, called 'canapés' here, on a two-tiered wooden stand. There was smoked salmon & caviar on rye bread; fluffy sweetcorn muffins with dill, cucumber & whipped cream cheese; and zingy celeriac & beetroot tarts with blackberry.
Next it was 'mushroom tea' which was poured at the table & silky-smooth, more like a frothy cappuccino.
There was lots going on at the start of the meal and it almost seemed too much to take in, while trying to catch up with a friend, talk about Brexit, picking a wine etc.
Soft Egg Appetiser
We both picked from the appealing set lunch menu. I started with a slow cooked Burford Brown egg, turnip purée, Parmesan, sage & kombu (kelp) crumb with chicken gravy poured at the table.
The soft egg was incredible with its luxurious yoke and the whole dish a riot of delicious flavours & textures.
Our Chicken Main Courses
For the main course I got Penrith chicken breast with braised morels, peas & broad beans.
The chicken breast was succulently moist and it was refined cooking at its best with the earthy flavours of the braised mushrooms contrasting with the sweet tastes of the broad beans & peas.
Full from all the 'freebies', we declined the idea of dessert. However, we were still brought tiny portions of rich chocolate ganache, delicate jelly cubes and a moist almond cake. Despite being almost too full, we had to try all this and it was a perfect end to a decadent lunch.
🐻🐻🐻🐻(4 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - Pollen Street Social is less formal (but not as casual as Hong Kong), very customer-oriented & the food is excellent. They only lost a 'teddy' because of what seemed like a rushed/pressured start to the meal. Tip:- ask to take some time for a quiet drink in the bar before your meal.