| Everyday Restaurants

Asian Tapas at StreetXO in Mayfair

Pursuit of Instagram perfection means spontaneous reviews on this blog have become more and more of a rarity. Instead they are carefully planned to make the best use of light and with heavy DSLR camera in tow. In the spirit the f*k the ‘Gram which I know bloggers are feeling more and more these days I’d like to make a return to the early days of this blog, when reviews were more spontaneous, pictures were more fuzzy and perfection wasn’t so much of a necessity.
With that in mind Mr S and I decided to revive the spontaneous blog posts by taking a small camera along on a date night. At Mr S’s suggestion (!) the venue of choice was StreetXO, a newish fusion restaurant inspired by street markets. As we walked in the basement location, low lights, black and red decor were already not exactly grid-friendly but the atmosphere was fabulously buzzy. When I saw people having this humungous drink I kind of had to have…the cocktail menu is based on the idea of ‘liquid cuisine’ meaning there are some rather strange combinations that mirror the gastronomy of the restaurant. The epic Liquid Diver kind of reminded me of gin and tonic and was a combination of sweet, citrus and floral. The glass itself was pretty heavy but it’s more than just a gimmick as it mean you can take in all the aromas of the cocktail.  
We were offered a seat at a shared bench but counter-style dining is also available. I was please to see a spot of light above our table which ended up being a great aid to my photography. It’s hard to describe the food at Street XO but think Asian cuisine with a Spanish / South American flavour. These starting bites from the Japanese Xoncept menu are a great example; “Niguiri Socarrat” of Spanish red tuna with charcoal ali-oli and creamy paella essence were a twist on tuna nigiri which worked beautifully. 
Next up hamachi usuzukuri-carpaccio with Ají amarillo and yuzu, a kind of twist on fish and chips. The fish is rolled up so that all the flavours are combined together to a taste sensation, particularly from the piquant yuzu. 

So why this unusual combination of cuisines? Chef David Muñoz was born in Madrid and honed his skills in London’s top Asian restaurants, Nobu and Hakkasan. He returned to his native Spain in 2007 and opened DiverXO which had gained three Michelin stars by 2013. The more casual Street XO in Madrid made his food more accessible and of course this Mayfair restaurant is the London off shoot.

The hot smoked scallops are a one of the signature dishes and our waitress told us unmissable. A fabulous combination of beautifully cooked scallops with beautifully balanced flavours. The creamy citrus ponzu, coconut-kaffir lime reduction and apple blossom was the ideal mix of sweet, citrus and salty.
Indonesian Rendang beef taco with pico de gallo, guacamole, parsnip purée, Mexican corn tortilla introduced curry style flavours with a Mexican twist. Yes it was weird, but it was very good and the chef seriously doesn’t shy away from experimentation.   
There aren’t many side dishes on the menu but the Singapore brioche XO is a great option for some extra carbs to soak up those gigantic cocktails. Beware though, they’re dangerously good – kind of a hybrid of French brioche and Chinese buns – they’re super fluffy and moreish. 
A tomahawk of beef was beautifully cooked (if you like your meat rare) and it came with a delicious spicy sauce. 
Dessert came in a carton, in keeping with the street food style of the restaurant. 
An utterly delicious combination of cookies, dark chocolate, yuzu and blackberry foam finished us off very nicely.

Mr S and I are huge fans of clubby vibrant restaurants such as Hakkasan, Roka and Coya so we loved finding a new place with a similar vibes to our favourites. Would I return again and again? Probably not as the food is a little too out there for that but it’s undeniably excellent and perfect for a fun night out in London.

15 Old Burlington Street