I have to say, I love the decor in the Berners Tavern, it is one of the few places that draws me to look around the dining room instead of giving my dining companions my full attention. As far as I could see, there were a lot of people there for a business lunch/lunch meeting rather than on a purely social dining experience.
Our party had two components to it… the main diners who had all the time in the world (or at least practically) and a couple of “youngsters” who were on a very limited time for lunch but of course wanted to try the food out. The staff were totally at ease in accommodating our differing requirements: calm, efficient and very friendly.
Our starters were formed from the following choices: Orkney scallop ceviche, avocado, radish, baby gem. jalapeno and lime ice; Carroll’s potato and parsley soup, Dorset snails. Stornaway black pudding and Breville toastie; and, Crispy Romney Marsh lamb breast, Iron Bark pumpkin and pecorino fregola, lamb marrow crumble.
Light or lightish lunch was on my mind, though as you can see from their menu, Romney Marsh Lamb features greatly. As I have spent many years living in Kent, I am always interested when, as in this case, particular Kentish cuisine/produce is highlighted. The menu covers a very good range of British offerings – I would love to see how their kitchen functions with this variety. I eyed the sharing dishes in particular and made a mental note that the next time I would definitely choose this option. Perhaps my fellow diners were all too polite… but I could see when the neighbouring table to us had their Roast Shoulder of Romney Marsh Lamb with char-grilled cabbage and roasted parsnips topped with cabbage and mint pesto served to them, all our eyes wandered across longingly!
Instead, our tabled ordered the following by mains of: Char-grilled Dingley Dell pork chop, braised baby gem, fig chutney, toasted hazelnuts; Pan braised Atlantic halibut, squid ink risotto, crispy squid and rainbow chard; Rack of Romney Marsh lamb. bruised neck. spiced aubergine. apricot cous cous and sprout hearts; South coast cod. bruised puy lentil, Smoked bacon, charred Calçots onions; and, Goat’s cheese gnocchi. roasted mushrooms, artichoke milk and crisps.
We definitely enjoyed our meal! I love the Britishness of the dishes, homely but refined, familiar but with a twist. Just enough to make you curious enough and subsequently undecided to what exactly you want to order to try. Bravo Jason Atherton, I am now curious to try your other establishments to compare. When our choices arrived I would say it didn’t disappoint – much to the point where for some dishes when there was “char-grilled” mentioned, the “char-grill” was a little excessive. However that didn’t seem to put the diners at my table off. This detail seemed to loose focus, perhaps the combination of atmosphere, which I can definitely say there was a buzz, a feel good factor, with that of the dishes that were presented with flair and all enjoyed them thoroughly. So much so, I am afraid on this occasion I have only one image of dessert, as only one dessert was ordered. This because we were all completely full after the first two courses, but we could not resist knowing what the Rhubarb and Custard would be like. This did not disappoint especially in the presentation stakes.
So after a nice leisurely lunch of almost three hours, punctuated with great British cuisine, some attentive staff who didn’t blink as our table seemed to consume copious amounts of bottled water, the maitre d’, a French man who charmed you with his accent and smiles, we rolled out of the restaurant, totally satisfied but still talking about when to try that Roast Shoulder of Romney Marsh Lamb! Food addicts!
10 Berners Street, London W1T 3NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7908 7979
MONDAY TO SUNDAY
Breakfast: 7am – 10.30am
Lunch: 12pm – 2.30pm
Afternoon: 2.30pm – 6pm
Dinner: 6pm – 10.30pm
Supper: 10.30pm – 12am
Sunday Brunch: 11am – 4pm