Wild honey restaurant
12 St George St, Mayfair, London W1S 2FB
Celebrating a decade on Mayfair’s Maddox Street this year, Wild Honey has found its stride. Like a golfer in his pomp, everything appears effortless, consistent and accomplished. The service is slick, the plates are elegant and the vibe has a kind of ‘landmark birthday’ feel to it that’s hard to beat.
Earlier this year, Soho said goodbye to the restaurant’s older sibling, Arbutus, with head chef and owner Anthony Demetre citing an unsustainable increase in rates. Together, the two restaurants pioneered the Parisian-style bistro in London. While it seems every restaurant worth its smoked Himalayan sea salt brags about ‘seasonal food, simply cooked’ these days, in the early Noughties, this wasn’t the case. With his menus, Demetre made it OK to grill a piece of sh, char a leek, add a simple sauce and price it accordingly. While the rest of London was thrice-cooking potatoes, spherifying olives and water- bathing beef, this move towards simplicity came as welcome reprieve.
The dining room has the feel of railway restaurant coach. I don’t mean this debasingly; it’s very much a rst-class environment. Honey-coloured oak panelling gives way to touches of brass and money green hooded lamps. A marble-topped bar sits in the middle of the space where Mayfair hedgies dine alone alongside taught-of- skin forty-something women and their daughters.
On our visit, wild garlic was bang in season. Turned into a silky velouté with a gossamer-thin ricotta dumpling resting in its centre, it packs the kind of avour that hits hard and develops as you probe deeper into the bowl. Grilled bavette steak is served with a delicate mushroom and bone marrow tart coated in a lick of hollandaise that is the umami-rich highlight of supper. Portions are light, leaving space for the cheese trolley. It lurks at the end of the room and emits a faint squeak as it is steered, alerting diners that it’s being called into service. Excellent French varieties are at play: a ne Comté, Epoisse and an unpasteurised goat. Wild honey ice cream with crumbled honeycomb is the perfect nish; smooth, not too sweet, with a hint of lavender. Now entering its prime, Wild Honey is every bit the Gallic-leaning institution it deserves to be.