Wear The Right Trousers At The Wallace Restaurant, Marylebone

17 Aug 2016

Nestled in the middle of Manchester Square, just moments from the hustle and bustle of Bond Street, sits Hertford House. Home to The Wallace Collection, said to be one of the best collections of fine art in the UK, and now I learn, home to The Wallace Restaurant.

A Peyton and Byrne restaurant, The Wallace has an all-day offering serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. With classic European dishes based on traditional recipes that are said to be reinterpreted in an innovative style.

In the heart of the museum in a somewhat unexpected atrium, the restaurant sits flooded with light and whilst the overwhelmingly beige furniture and set-up might make you think ‘national trust café’, the food that exits the kitchen certainly does not. On a sunny Saturday lunchtime, my partner and I entered the pastel pink (and so it turned out, very warm) room and settled in for a three-course lunch.

To start we ordered the pan-friend mackerel with pesto and tomato salsa (£9), which appeared with two generous fillets of mackerel, perfectly cooked to ensure a crispy delicious skin and topped with a generous selection of fresh tomatoes. The pesto was full of flavour and the freshness and acidity of the tomato salsa set off the rich mackerel flavours. My partner, who usually opts for anything meat, decided to take a risk and ordered (having seen it be delivered to a neighbouring table) the watermelon and burrata salad with Kalamata olive, lemon and chilli tapenade (£8).

This dish certainly suited its art gallery setting, appearing like an artwork in itself, with angular squares of watermelon, and carefully placed small green tomatoes, herbs and fine red onion slices. This was definitely not only a feast for the eyes but also for the taste buds, as the tasty, creamy burrata, sweet and juicy watermelon and deep ‘olivey’ tapenade made for a perfectly balanced mouthful.

With an impressive start to the meal, we were excited for the mains and these didn’t disappoint. Of particular note was the main of poached brill with coconut broth and prawn ravioli (£19.50). With a taste for Thai flavours, this main sprinkled with a mix of fragrant micro herbs, including coriander (my favourite) was a winner. The coconut broth was rich and creamy and the flaking white brill sat at the bottom of the dish, submerged by the broth. The two generously filled prawn ravioli added texture and substance to the dish and made for very moreish mouthfuls. The rump of lamb (£22.50), cooked to pinkish perfection, was very much enjoyed by my other half, who particularly liked the use of feta within the dish and equally enjoyed the recommendation of a glass of pinot noir with it.

Dessert was up next and with a sweet tooth like nothing I’ve ever known before, my boyfriend ordered the chocolatiest option available: the warm chocolate and ginger moelleux (£7). As the kind of man that likes his chocolate rich and uninterrupted, he did find the flavour of ginger a little overwhelming in this dessert but the cakey texture and accompanying sauce seemed to have been crafted by someone who knows their way around a dessert. Continuing a theme, I ordered a coconut and passion fruit cheesecake (£7) for dessert and was again taken aback with the artistic presentation of the cheesecake, which was surrounded by blobs of a creamy custard, lumps of sweet passion fruit and crispy mini meringues. The texture of the cheesecake was impressive too, with a crunchy base and smooth, thick creamy middle.

Having spent a well-paced and leisurely afternoon eating and basking in the heat of a summer’s day at The Wallace, we wondered around the art works and felt very cultured and also very full. The Wallace restaurant is an ideal ‘take the parents’ spot but am told by the exceptionally friendly and warm waiting staff that in the evenings, under the stars, can make a lovely romantic spot for couples or relaxing treat for friends. More than anything the food here is fantastic and fantastic value to boot. Whoever is designing the menu knows a thing or two about great flavour combinations and also about the importance of presentation.

Helen

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