Writing that Berner’s Tavern is eye-catching is an understatement, and it’s really no wonder it has won a number of awards for its design since it opened mid-last year. I remember when it first opened, the press obviously loving it, seeing countless photos in magazines, online and on Instagram: of a room with every inch of its walls covered in paintings and with a feeling of grandeur few restaurants in London could rival. Another addition to Jason Atherton’s (of Pollen Street Social and the Social Eating House fame) restaurant empire, it meant that people certainly had high expectations of the food and the setting. And I don’t think they were disappointed. It firmly became my number 1 must go to place.
But I clearly wasn’t the only one whose attention had been grabbed. Booking a table for dinner was impossible unless done weeks in advance. And the high prices meant that I wanted to keep dinner here for a special occasion. So when the opportunity arose to have lunch here (even if the only table available was at 14:30), I grabbed it.
I was early, which gave me the time to fully appreciate just how stunning this restaurant – part of the Edition hotel in Fitzrovia – actually is. The restaurant has an almost palatial feel to it, like you’re eating in a grand museum like Villa Borghese in Rome (but without the calibre of art and (sadly) the Boromini statues). High soaring ornate ceilings, the vast open space and the varied clientele ensure that you will always have something to look at. The bar – lit with a golden hue – adds a more contemporary, light-hearted feel to the restaurant. The waiters are efficient and helpful, but perhaps so professional that they might think to smile a bit more.
The food – with a focus on everything British – is sensational (with prices to match). I made sure I enjoyed every dish, eating carefully and slowly, savouring it all. The steak tartar with crushed quails eggs was smooth and delicate. The lamb with Tuscan beans was tender and soft, the beans an original, welcome addition. Pudding – a dense chocolate tart – was perhaps a little heavy for me, though I adored the white chocolate ice cream it came with. Taste-wise, I couldn’t really fault any of it.
This is truly a ‘wow’ place. A serious treat. A restaurant for a special occasion. But if you want to experience it without denting your bank account, I’d recommend trying it for breakfast. I personally can’t think of a better way to start my day.
10 Berners Street,
London W1T 3LF
020 7908 7979
Photos by Nikolas Koenig