I seem to be writing endless reviews for new restaurants in Marylebone at the moment. I can easily understand the netherending supply of openings in say somewhere cool and hip such as Soho – but Marylebone? Walking around this part of town in the last year and you’ll notice things have changed considerably. A vast array of new restaurants all varying in cuisine and a huge influx of burger joints – but when it comes to bars, things have stayed the same. Marylebone is still yet to get any kind of speakeasy or luxury bar (unless we’re including those located in a hotel). At least not until now anyway. The newest arrival, The Cavendish has everything under one roof – a luxurious white linen adorned restaurant upstairs, and a swanky cocktail bar with all the trimming downstairs. With that said we delved straight in to the cocktail menu and order an espresso martini laced with cardamom. it packed a good punch, had nice rounded flavours but the crushed ice filling the glass up was not completely to our tastes. But for £10 this wasn’t bad as pricing goes, especially in the part of town.
The Cavendish sits on the former site of which was up until last year, The Fat of The Land. It was a sort of pub serving tapa style dishes, derived from across the globe it seemed. I’d been a couple of times for a glass of wine and catch up with friends but rarely was I excited by it, so I hate to admit, I was slightly filled with joy when I heard it had closed. I had no idea what to expect from the newest instalment here, but it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise from start, right through to finish. Cocktails down the hatch we moved our way on to the starters and first out was this vibrant and fresh burrata, heritage tomatoes and parma ham. Classically presented but every ingredient was as fresh as one could hope and while everything on the plate was simple, it screamed quality. That burrata was on another level.
One dish that really stole the limelight was this gorgeous carabinero prawn risotto, which at £16.50 for a starter size is certainly commanding a high price – but one spoonful of it and you’ll realise it’s worth every penny. If you’ve not had a carabinero prawn before, then make it your mission to do so. It’s so large, full of flavour and respected as one of the best examples from top chefs around the globe you shouldn’t even treat it as a prawn, instead like something so much more. Described as a light bisque broth on the menu, it’s actually rather more intense then it lets on. A lightly oily layer, a good amount of seasoning and the most beautiful and perfectly cooked risotto. This dish is Incredibly rich so expect it all to spend moments in the mouth, but no doubt a lifetime on the hips.
When it comes to my tuna, I’m an extremely fussy person – I like it to be a perfectly cooked medium-rare, cut through with ease, have a delicate, yet rich flavour and most importantly – expertly seasoned. Here The Cavendish got incredibly close to perfection which left us salivating. To hunky chunks of tuna steaks which were so tender you could have simply torn each apart with your fingers. Lashings of olive oil, gorgeous roasted baby leeks and a salty salsa verde. This dish has just about everything going for it and indulgent as it is, still manages to remain healthy – until you match it with their oh so cheesy mac ‘n’ cheese that is and some fried zucchini.
One thing I’ve been seeing a lot of lately is veal chops. I’ve eaten them countless times over the months recently and to see the sheer size of these chops is something everyone should be seeking out when dining in London these days – they truly are spectacular. Here it was no exception, although I much prefer the chop to arrive whole, it’ always much more imposing and a great talking piece to wonder how anyone would manage to finish it alone (we did of course). The sauce in which this delicious chop was bathed and glazed in had a sweetness to it and flavour which I couldn’t quite put my finger on, yet the unknown didn’t distract us from every tender bite we put in to our mouths, of course.
Creme Catalana is a variant of the classic creme brulee and is perhaps the best example of this simple, yet satisfying dessert. So many places manage to still get this dessert wrong, whether it’s because the custard is too thin and watery, or simply the burnt sugar on top isn’t crisp and burnt enough. There was no sign of runny custard or limp topping here, it was quite simply faultless and its large portion size meant for a long affair which we was hoping would never end. The custard was full of zesty flavour and that topping – incredibly crunchy.
Full, drunk and wanting our afternoon nap by this point we still had room for one final, and refreshing dessert. From the menu it sounded rather simple but this pineapple ravioli was the perfect way to end a meal, dripping in its own ripe juices. Button done back up we stumbled down the stairs and back into the cold, only wishing we could curl up in one of the cosy corners in the downstairs bar. The Cavendish is a far cry from what used to be here on this site and a much welcomed addition to Marylebone. My advice, book now before everyone finds out about this hidden little gem.
I was invited to review