"Another success for the 28-50 stable"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
The rep of Michelin-starred Texture hasn’t wavered since opening six years ago. It was launched by Icelandic chef Agar Sverisson and sommelier Xavier Rousset, who after meeting at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons decided to open a restaurant with a champagne bar that served Scandinavian-inspired food.
Fast forward to September 2013 and the duo are opening their third branch of 28-50, a more informal eatery in Mayfair’s Maddox Street, home to many a fine restaurant like Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus and famed steakhouse Goodman. As with their other “wine, workshop and kitchen” establishments in Clerkenwell and Marylebone, the wine is as important as the food.
The entirety of the main wine list has options by the glass and even by the teensy 75ml, which depending on your viewpoint may be for you to sample a few or down as many as possible with each course. Like the food menu, the list is constantly changing, but on the night we visit some notable examples include bold reds Vacqueyras 'maitre de chais' and Xinomavro from Greece. A separate, lengthy collectors list starts from £44, with some coveted bottles costing over £2,000. Then there's the ground floor bar with more than 40 champagnes, from popular choices like Bollinger and Moët (along with their 1990 vintages which cost hundreds, naturally) to grower champagnes like Larmandier-Bernier.
The Nordic influences have been swapped for French ones, and executive chef Errol Defoe adds a sophisticated touch to simple dishes like salt beef, here served shredded and stirred into a mustard and yoghurt dressing with chopped gherkins and capers, and tuna Niçoise, which becomes a dainty plate of soft boiled quail eggs, piquant black olives, green beans and perfectly seared strips of tuna drizzled with olive oil.
As the place is buzzing (as any newly opened eatery with good pedigree should be) there are leisurely gaps between courses, which is no bad thing. Confit duck is full of flavour and comes with a version of cassoulet with white beans and bacon. The Icelandic fish stew is far more complex than it sounds; a supremely rich hotpot of cod, onion and potato with crisped up melted cheese over the top, boosted at the end by a kick of mixed spices. Dessert is a sublime poached fig with chocolate mousse and fragrant vanilla ice cream, which the sommelier pairs with syrupy Vin Santo.
They may be sticking to a formula here, but no one is going to complain.
Leila reviewed 28-50 on Mon 30 Sep 2013