Posted by Stephanie Butler on October 20, 2016
Open Mon–Thu midday–11.30pm, Fri midday–midnight, Sat 5pm–midnight, Sun midday–6pm
Flaunting history from 18th-century London to 20th-century boutique chic, the recently opened Hatchetts takes its name from the erstwhile Piccadilly hotspot nearby that was a byword for conviviality from The Pickwick Papers to the Rolling Stones.
Head chef Andrew Evans has created a menu that combines quintessentially British flavours with modern twists. The innovative dishes are emulated by the stylish yet minimalist interior, and all is situated at Shepherd’s Market, just a stone’s throw from Green Park station.
Think traditional meets minimalist with a little edge. Elegant decor and dimmed lighting welcomes you as you enter, a large well-stocked bar is on show in front of you and a scattering of tables are available for the post-work boozers or late-evening minglers.
We were led downstairs to apparently the ‘most romantic’ table in the restaurant, near a corner that was also home to a wine rack, a freestanding candelabra and our favourite addition to the room: a super-cool ‘Reverspective’ piece of 3D art.
With dangling bulbs lighting the exposed brick walls and deep red paintwork, Mayfair glamour is subtly complemented throughout by industrial modernity.
It was a Wednesday evening so wasn’t the busiest, but the atmosphere was buzzing upstairs regardless. A handful of quiet couples and louder clusters of men in suits padded out the bar on ground level, but once in the basement we were given our pick of tables as we were the first diners downstairs.
Throughout our meal, several other guests gradually began to fill out parts of the basement, from colleague dinners to mature family get-togethers. The atmosphere is relaxed but classy (perfect if you want to impress a date), with staff who are appropriately charming and attentive.
To start, the Devonshire crab and nectarine salad caught my eye, and our waiter did say it was a favourite. But it wasn’t available—instead I chose the chef’s special, lobster linguine, fresh and well-cooked with the perfect amount of chilli. Definitely the highlight of the night!
My partner opted for the lamb sweetbreads with minted greens and lamb jus, which looked like a very small portion of British meat, greens and gravy. It tasted better than its appearance, but I was glad I chose lobster.
The main game: this time, I was the one who had food envy. Lentils with butternut squash and stewed tomatoes did provide a rich, homely burst of flavour in the mouth (the lentils were too much for me to finish), but the 12oz ribeye steak (£28) on the plate next to me looked and tasted incredible. It was accompanied by Lyonnaise potatoes and bone marrow gravy, and we couldn’t resist ordering a side of baby gem covered with blue cheese and walnuts as well (£4.50).
By dessert I was starting to feel (happily) sated, so we chose one dish to share. Again guided by staff recommendation, we went for the dark chocolate marquis with chocolate mousse and cherry sorbet (£7)—I still cannot decide which of the three elements I preferred. It was melt-in-the-mouth gorgeous, with tastes that complemented each other to a T.
The cocktails were divine, with six classics and six specially crafted concoctions on offer. I’m a sucker for sweet so I was recommended the May Fair Lady (£8.50), a deliciously smooth combination of vodka, mint, grapefruit, lemon, sugar and egg white, with a delicate garnish on top.
The rest of the bar list is elaborate enough for any thirsty visitor, with an appropriate selection of wines and London beers.
In a nutshell
The service was excellent, and the atmosphere suitable for an evening meal or event. I’d love to see how the ambience evolves on a busier night, especially in the private rooms.
As for the food, the flavours were on point with no taste too overpowering, but some portion sizes were a little enthusiastic—if I had cleaned my plate of lentils I would have been uncomfortably full! Hatchetts entices you to try many dishes from their tempting menu, which is perfect if you’re a massive foodie, but when I return I’ll shamelessly be returning to the lobster!