Mortons Club – Private dining

Mortons Club overlooking Berkeley Square, is often described as the best private members’ club in Mayfair.  Dressing appropriately is de rigueur.  Elegant attire and high heels for the ladies being encouraged in the evenings.  The Restaurant  is part of the Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation and a sibling to The Greenhouse.  The restaurant has an excellent reputation,  some say if it were not a private members club it might merit 2 Michelin stars. Not quite there though in my view, but I have to say the food style and menu did rather remind me of The Waterside Inn (a 3 star Michelin).  So I can sort of see where that idea comes from.  The food is certainly of a very good standard. It is somewhat retro in style, with classic dishes like Steak Tartar and Crêpe Suzette (which we were tempted to order just for the table side service).

I started with braised octopus. The octopus was nicely cooked but rather lost in tomato sauce. Tasty though, it went well with my glass of Gavi di Gavi La Meirana, Piemonte, 2009.

My companion had the Fois Gras, not the best she has had (that’s at Pied à Terre), but certainly a good sized portion.  For my main course I ordered the Steak Tartar and appreciated the chance to have a tasting spoonful first so I could check it was not too spicy for me.   That was accompanied by very good french fries and a glass of M. Chapoutier, Saint-Joseph Les Deschants, Rhone, 2003. My companion had the Jacobs Ribs (short ribs) which were beautifully cooked – very tender beef.

For dessert I had an attractive, subtly flavoured lycee tartlet and coconut crumble with rose water ice cream and my companion had the Carmel parfait with Licorice ice cream – too many interesting combinations on the dessert menu to follow through on the Crêpe Suzette idea. We accompanied our desserts with a glass of Coteaux du Layon, Dom.des Sablonettes, 2004.

We decide not to bother with coffee, so it was a nice touch to be given the petit fours anyway – something that is often done in the better restaurants. However we were rather taken aback at just how spectacular looking the petit fours were, definitely not petit. My rather awful photograph (difficult lighting) really does not do them justice, it was a candy store. Marshmallow lolly-pop, chocolate bread stick, huge meringue, truffles, pastries and jellies, a real sugar rush.

(UPDATE June 2011 – We made a return visit and I managed to replace most of the old  pictures, but alas by the time we reached the dessert and petit fours the light was gone (even with the speedy service) so I have left the old ones in.  On this visit I particularly enjoyed my perfectly cooked lamb chops.  For dessert this time I had a lovely poached apple stuffed with cinnamon ice cream.

We also noticed on this visit that the menu had stronger Italian influences. It included some pasta and risotto dishes, and a cornetto dessert.)

The dining room is a nice size, about 40 covers I would guess, with a view over Berkeley Square. There were also plenty of staff so service was brisk.

The club itself is very pleasant, with some attractive modern art work from some mainstream artists like Julian Opie. It has two bar areas and a good size room ideal for party bookings. The lower membership fee for under 30’s obviously works, as the average age was definitely on the 30’s mark at least on a Saturday night, might be different during the week.

Mortons Club certainly seemed to be doing good business, there was no sign of the recession here!

Marks out of 10

Food 6.4

Service 5.9

Ambience 6.8


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40|30 at the Gherkin – COOLest venue of the Noughties!

My last visit to 40|30 Restaurant at the Gherkin was in January, long enough a gap in my view.  So it was back again with a group of friends to enjoy a night out in the one of the  “COOLest venues of the Noughties“.

So is it still “Cool”? – Absolutely.

This place has substance and style, there is no question that 40|30 is continuing to delivering first class food in a first class venue.

The menu was both interesting and varied, some classic food combinations and some more surprising ones.  My main course of  Pork belly with Black Pudding doughnuts was  just stunning and the cheese cake with celery of all things, was another standout.

For food of this calibre in such a world class location, 2 courses at £39.50 and 3 courses at £47.50 is such a good deal (especially as it includes an amuse bouche and a pre dessert).  The wine list is extensive but there are sufficient bottles under £40 to ensure that it is not too daunting.

You could tell by the empty plates at our table just how much we all enjoyed the food.


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40|30 at the Gherkin – hi def cuisine

Another visit to 40|30 Restaurant in the Gherkin, Norman Fosters landmark building. An amazing venue for a restaurant with unrivaled panoramic views of London. The food is also of a very high standard. Indeed this restaurant has everything going for it. The only thing that I felt spoilt the experience was the acoustics. The music from the bar upstairs and the general background noise made it virtually impossible to follow conversations at our table. Perhaps I’m just going deaf or am too old to appreciate the buzz!  Give me a quiet peaceful restaurant every time.

Generally we have found that the better the view, the worse the food.  This venue is the exception to the rule. The Cod with Feta and Chorizo Tortellini for example was a standout.

There was also good selection of reasonably priced wines, including a rather good Pinor Noir from California (pictured).

For more on the Gherkin, see post titled:-

40|30 at the Gherkin – the high life




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40|30 at the Gherkin – the high life!

I was lucky enough to be able to book a table at the 40|30 Restaurant in the Gherkin, Norman Fosters landmark building.

This is normally for private dining only, so not easy to get in, but if you ever get the chance, go for it.  The views and the architecture are breathtaking, the photographs do not do it justice. However what really surprised me was the food, it actually managed to compete, we went for the tasting menu with matching wines, so not a cheap night out by any means.


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