Restaurant Review: Thirty Six By Nigel Mendham, Mayfair

12:07 30 October 2012

Sea bass with all things nicoise

Sea bass with all things nicoise

Archant

Prepare to devour a sumptuous feast at the ‘James Bond’ hotel

It’s easy to see why Thirty Six By Nigel Mendham restaurant has just been awarded three AA Rosettes for its outstanding service and food.

Located in the basement of Dukes St James boutique hotel in Mayfair, the presentation of the modern British cuisine was stunning, and tasted as good as it looked.

Not only that, the friendly attentive staff went out of their way to make our experience perfect.

My two dining companions and I began our night in the hotel’s legendary bar, Duke’s, which used to be a haunt for James Bond author Ian Fleming, and is said to be the inspiration for his classic line, ‘shaken, not stirred’.

We soaked up its bustling historic ambience, before moving downstairs to the intimate and cosy dining room of the hotel’s restaurant Thirty Six.

Simply decorated with plush pink cushioned chairs and mottled peach candle holders, the flickering light cast a warm glow around the room, which was filled with a low chattering buzz.

We ordered the three course a la carte menu, priced at £60 including tea or coffee, and were pleasantly surprised when Bart, our attentive and charming server, presented us with a platter of canapés to warm up our taste buds.

Sumptuous smoked haddock arancini rice balls with a mayonnaise-style sauce gribiche had a hint of aniseed, while the savoury choux Gougeres were delicious, filled with caramelised onions and goats’ cheese.

A spoonful of smoked salmon from the famous Forman’s East London factory was served on a bed of sour cream, and topped with caviar - testimony to Mendham’s promise to source produce the best British ingredients from small artisan suppliers

Nigel Mendham who was previously head chef at the Michelin-starred Samling Hotel in the Lake District, moved to London a year ago to create a new look and identity for Duke’s restaurant when Thirty Six was launched - so-called because it is the number of the hotel’s entrance and also represents good luck in Chinese astrology.

Yet another surprise was presented to us before our starters - an ‘amuse-bouche’ of roasted chestnut and pancetta.

Topped with foam, their thick and rich but light and sweet texture was so good that I ate all three of them, while my vegetarian and pescatarian companions were presented with a ham-free variation.

For my starter I chose the sustainable ‘hand-dived scallops with textures of fresh pea and Iberico ham’.

The colours looked beautiful on the plate, and the textures turned out to be a pea puree, liquid pea and whole peas.

A picture emerged of what Mendham seems to be striving to create in all his dishes – multiple ways of using the same ingredient.

My veggie friend took the goat cheese flan, which came with tangy “variations of beetroot” and a celery sorbet complimented the strong flavour of the flan perfectly.

The pescatarian ordered red mullet with the theme “all things nicoise”, which came on a bed of diced potato, with anchovy purée, deep fried anchovies and quails’ eggs.

My main course of Goosnargh duck - from Lancashire - was cooked to tender medium-rare perfection and the duck theme was expanded with a duck samosa accompaniment as well as foie gras.

Crisp duck crackling provided the perfect texture next to the soft duck meat, and black morello cherries provided sweetness to balance the flavour.

The fish-lover chose sustainable line-caught sea bass with white crab cannelloni, with came with “amazingly earthy” organic carrots and crab mayonnaise.

Meanwhile the veggie tucked into butternut squash fondant, puree, with a savoury nutty but sweet granola, which she said delivered “unexpected textures”.

Feeling rather stuffed by this point, we were excited when another bonus course arrived in the form of a refreshing vodka granita with olive powder on a marmalade base.

It really hit the spot, the ice contrasting with tangy sticky orange shreds.

Almost too full to order desert, we were glad we did.

My friend raved about the orchard apple crumble with apple sorbet and brulée which had cinnamon tones, while salted caramel and banana and popcorn contrasted perfectly against an ultra-light chocolate pave.

A blackberry buttermilk slab reminiscent of panna cotta was subtle and not overly sweet, and was served with a blackberry sorbet and liquorice toffee, which was truly out of this world.

This was all accompanied with refreshing mint tea served grandiosely in a silver teapot.

Believing our meal finished, we couldn’t believe it when a plate of petites fours turned up to tempt us.

Sadly I was just too full up to feast on the mini lemon merengue, a tart cube of blackcurrant jelly, a tiny chocolate macaron and a saffron Madeleine – but regret not tasting a little nibble now.

The fine-dining experience provided a real foody night out, as we spent a leisurely three and a half hours devouring the seven courses, which filled our bellies to popping point.

“I’ve never had a meal like this,” remarked my friend, and we all dreamt of being able to eat like this every day.

To make a reservation at Thirty Six By Nigel Mendham call 0207 491 4840 or visit www.dukeshotel.com.

Latest Stories

Yesterday, 15:03
Dynamo spotted by Steve Spencer

Fans of magician Dynamo were delighted by his latest trick: appearing to ‘levitate’ from The Shard near London Bridge.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:13
Undated handout photo issued by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home of Bless with Geoff and Sylvia Shoesmith, of Chelmsford, Essex. The mournful-looking stray which was thought to be putting potential adopters off with her hangdog expression has finally found a home.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday August 27, 2014. Bless was the most long-term resident at Battersea, with staff believing the lack of interest was down to the doleful dog's permanently sad expression. But following publicity, the Shoesmiths leapt at the chance to take the six-year-old in after being drawn to her loving personality and calm, kindly temperament.  See PA story ANIMALS Sad. Photo credit should read: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home /PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

A frowning dog can wag her tail again after our plea to find her a new owner was a success!

Read more
Yesterday, 18:25
Lilian Jean Turner  was seen wearing a white blouse embroidered with flowers, black trousers and white sandals and also had a walking stick and holdall with her [Photograph from Metropolitan Police]

Police are increasingly worried about an 85-year-old woman who went missing in Penge on Wednesday morning.

Read more

Top Stories

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

Quizzes

I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more
Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more
Can you guess the Tube station just from the outside? (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

How well do you know your Tube stations? Can you guess these Underground stops from the pictures taken outside them?

Read more