"Award winning yet secret designer restaurant and bar"Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
Whilst it is just a five minute walk from Marble Arch tube station, you’d be forgiven for not finding this beautiful family-run, award winning boutique five star hotel towards the end of Great Cumberland Place as there are no nearby bars or restaurants. But it is worth seeking it out.
You are greeted by a Canadian concierge and whilst the décor is elegant and understated it feels a little American. There’s a tiny cloakroom to the side and the loos are a bit of a trek downstairs but it’s worth wandering around a bit as the art on the walls is tasteful, modern and bold.
Around to the right is an intimate but open bar area (Hunter 486) which is a designer’s dream yet comfortable with stunning modern high wing back velvet chairs and a hidden round booth in an alcove to provide privacy. It could pass as someone’s home. A beautiful home though.
In front of you as you enter is a reasonably sized bar that is inset into the wall with opaque blue glass forming a striking feature and a large matching table area in front. There are also free standing round booths (a warm, chocolate brown leather for the shell-like seats) and we were told that these could be screened off with curtains for really private gatherings.
Then over to the left it becomes a dining area – perfectly plain wooden floors and right at the end is an open kitchen which you have to stretch to see as it doesn’t face the restaurant. And above all of this are stunning lights – both clear and frosted bulbs in artfully arranged clusters. It really does get top marks for décor. But for all this subtle loveliness it retains a relaxed feel. The staff are wonderful.
It is five years since the hotel opened and the “Best of British” menu has just undergone a major overhaul. Yet it’s not pretentious – it’s surprisingly “back to basics” and the prices are reasonable considering the location.
For those in the bar who want to keep it informal there are plates and boards – some are strictly for sharing (vegetable board with burrata £16.50, fish board comprising potted shrimps, cured salmon, mackerel pate, smoked eel and prawns £25) and others are available to share or for one person – potted duck (£9/£16.50) and cheese (£8.50/£17).
Starters include crispy oxtail (£8.50), soup of the day (£7.50) and scallops (£12.50). Mains include fish stew (£17.50), peppered loin of venison (£24) and wild mushroom and spinach tart (£15). Then there’s a grill section with a variety of steaks (from £26), burgers (£16) and fish of the day. Double lamb chop and kidney (£17.50) also features.
But there is palpable pride in the stone oven items and our attention is drawn to the roast Norfolk Black free range chicken (£35 to share or £60 for four) although I’m interested in the game pie (£17), braised lamb shank (£18) and roast whole seabass (£17).
There’s also an all day menu with no nonsense fare such as club sandwiches (£14), fish and chips (£18.50), two varieties of pizza (from £12.50) and burgers and steaks.
There’s a reasonable list of wines which start at good prices. I was glad to see that Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc features (£45). The cocktail list (from £12) would match that of any dedicated cocktail bar and I was pleased to see a selection of non-alcoholic options.
When we were there, it was a private reception so I can only comment on the quality of the canapes which were excellent: Cured salmon with blood orange and fennel, mini fish and chips, oxtail lollipops with horseradish cream and homemade burgers in brioche buns.
It’s luxurious in an understated and relaxed way yet it’s unusual and bound to impress – whether it’s a business or personal dining experience you are seeking.
KimT reviewed Hunter 486 on Wed 11 Feb 2015