If you’re searching for somewhere that showcases the best of London’s world-class dining scene, then Berners Tavern may be the place to visit. Located in the grand London Edition Hotel in Fitzrovia, Jason Atherton’s upmarket Modern British restaurant has matured into somewhat of a gastronomic institute in past years, and it’s easy to see why; because whether it’s the blazing chandeliers, 18-foot ceiling or the collection of gilt-framed paintings and photographs, every element inside is designed to impress guests who’ve travelled far and wide.
But, with an opulent decor must come gastronomic goods that are equally as rich, and so – unsurprisingly – the menu at Berners Tavern is as overwhelming and bountiful as any other you’d find in the capital. To help you navigate your way around this Epicurean dilemma, these are the five dishes to consider. Veggies, be warned…
“Traditional British pork pie”
Brits love pies. Fact. From the pasties of Cornwall to the meat-and-potato of the north, this pastry-heavy item is at the heart of the UK’s culinary make-up. And at Berners Tavern, the cooking staff take things to another level with their remarkable interpretation of the humble pork pie. Created by head chef, Phil Carmichael, this meaty monstrosity takes around two days to make and is rolled out into the dining room on an elegant, British oak, elm and cedar trolley – a sophisticated and apt touch given the grand surroundings.
A slice of the elongated pie is then cut (it’s approximately the size of two bread loaves), placed on a crisp white plate and accompanied by an assortment of culinary accessories including English piccalilli, pickled vegetables and a trio of mustards. Using free-range pork from Suffolk, the dish has a clean taste, while the radish and vegetables add a crunchy contrast and the condiments inject a nice amount of heat. Although you may expect this to be a light amuse-bouche to kick off the feastings, let this be your warning that it’s far from that. £17
“Buccleuch Estate beef tartare”
Seasoned to perfection, the beef tartare is both silk-soft in texture and hits the palate with a subtle, soothing and umami-like taste. The truffle cream and horseradish provide a welcome sweetness to the overall dish, and the hazelnuts – although they add an unnecessary texture to the dish – bring an autumnal quality. £15
Coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. The chicken schnitzel sounds like a dish that’ll have the arteries pumping. Yet, at Berners, they’ve revamped this Austrian classic and made it sleek, elegant and light. Topped with a fried heritage breed egg, the schnitzel is crispy yet not heavy, stomach-pleasing yet not filling, and the fact it comes with capers, anchovies, red peppers and mixed salad helps add a dash of “health” to the gorging. £20
Although it may not boast the status of a chateaubriand or fillet, a rib eye is still a cut of meat with profound flavour. The 10 ounce, chargrilled and grass-fed Buccleuch estate steak at Berners is no exception. Bellowing with bovine heft, it has an easy-to-graze texture and a sweet and smokey flavour profile. The triple cooked chips that arrive with it are also of the highest order: crisp on the outer shell, pillow-fluff-soft in the middle. For full impact, order medium-rare and with both the béarnaise (sweet and moreish) and peppercorn (rich and well-balanced) sauces. £35. (sauces are £3 each)
Desserts don’t come as noteworthy as they do here. After all, with Jacopo Bruni – a man with experience in the kitchens of the Connaught and Baglioni hotels – as head pastry chef, you know you’re in for something special. The caramel apple éclair, with calvados cream, apple jelly and salted caramel ice cream, not only looks handsome but tastes sublime and is an inspired dish worthy enough to sit in the display window of any one of Paris’ Rue du Bac patisseries. £9
Visit Berners Tavern at 10 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NP
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