With so many exciting new restaurants opening in London it can be easy to forget about the wonderful ones that have been around for years. Wild Honey has been open in Mayfair since 2007 and I remember having an amazing meal there several years ago but never revisited. However, one weekend the restaurant’s location made it the ideal place for lunch.
After the success of their Soho restaurant, Arbutus, co-owners Anthony Demetre and Will Smith followed up with Wild Honey in Mayfair. The concept was the same; top quality food but without the price tag of London’s Michelin starred restaurants. The combination of Will’s front of house skills and Anthony’s cooking meant that Wild Honey won a Michelin Star within its first year of opening and has retained it ever since.
Now I have to say, we’d chosen Wild Honey on the basis that we wanted good food in a casual setting and it wasn’t quite a casual as I remembered but the dining room was very elegant with red leather booths, wood panelling on the walls and well-stocked bar. There was a makeover by top restaurant design Martin Brudnizki in 2012 but then I honestly can’t remember what it was like before anyway. Also the ambience was a little hushed and muted, not the brasserie buzz that I’d hoped for.
Prices aren’t quite as low as I remembered either but they are still lower than many Michelin-starred restaurants in London and you could still definitely dine there for less by eating from the set menu.
There is a great wine selection and lots available by the carafe, which was ideal for how much we wanted to drink for lunch.
A little amuse bouche of a few canapés started us off; perfect little morsels for popping in your mouth.
Plus a really decent bread selection with big hunks of crusty bread and perfectly melty butter.
By the way, don’t have too much to drink before going to the loo as there’s a rather difficult winding staircase leading down there. But once there, you’re in for a treat with the Victorian pornography that lines the walls.
(Now I’m going to get people coming to my site after googling the key words ‘Victorian Pornography’). Back to the table and our starters had arrived, as usual we were sharing starters:
I chose a deliciously creamy burrata with young carrots, artichokes and hazelnuts. Burrata actually means ‘buttered’ and it certainly lived up to its name with the gorgeous rich flavour.
Our other starter of beef tartare was topped with creamy blobs which tasted fantastic when all mixed together and eaten on top of the crisp breads provided. I’ve had steak tartare many times and I’m always impressed how top chefs can reinvent it with such innovation.
Mr Silver went for roast beef which was a generous portion, perfectly cooked and came with a rich, hearty gravy and a side of sweet onion. I love the juicy slices of meat with the firm and crisp exterior, and I probably stole more than my fair share of my husband’s main course.
But the best component of the dish was the tasty potato dauphine, light, fluffy potato puffs with a sprinkling of parmesan for flavour, these could definitely rival a good roastie for me.
My dish was sea bass with curly kale and citrus fruit. Though the fish and side dishes were perfectly cooked I had thought the dish would be lighter but I found the creamy sauce quite heavy after our already rich starters. Plus it came with a slightly sweeter sauce, maybe rhubarb, which I wasn’t too keen on. But overall an enjoyable dish.
After our rich lunch we decided to forgo dessert and chose the option of coffee, chocolate and canelés.
I don’t think I’ve had a canele before but I loved the firm caramelised outer layer concealing a sumptuous soft and fluffy custard centre. And a truffle each was the perfect sweet note to finish lunch and to enjoy with our coffee.
Overall, I liked Wild Honey and the food is excellent but I wasn’t blown away by the whole experience. But the definition of one Michelin star is that you should try the food if the restaurant is on your path, whereas a two star restaurant is worth making a detour for. For somewhere that is conveniently located, Wild Honey is definitely an excellent option.
12 George Street
020 7758 916