I love a soft launch, not just for the 50% off the food (which – don’t get me wrong – I do appreciate) but also because I love going to brand new places, and seeing what they have to offer that’s different, or better, than the rest. New places seem to be constantly cropping up in Fitzrovia, from Maple & Fitz (health-foodies alert) to Beyond Bread (Gluten free Bakery).
Percy and Founders opens tomorrow, with a soft launch from Thursday until today. I already had high expectations, since it is the creation of the new sister property of Cubitt House (who are behind gastro pubs such as the Thomas Cubitt and the Grazing Goat).
From the outside, the new development on Fitzroy Place looks more like an office space than anything else. But upon closer inspection you’ll see the Brasserie-esque windows of Percy and Founders.
While the restaurant is huge (it fits 200 covers), it certainly doesn’t feel empty. There is so much that catches your eye; from the tree with delicate ‘butterfly lights’, to the arched window looking into the neighbouring chapel – it certainly doesn’t lack the wow factor. Reminding me a little of Ham Yard, the space is open plan but divided into a number of different rooms, with slightly different looks and feels. We had our lunch in the ‘reading room’, and the bookcases filled with books as well as the more relaxed feel of the room certainly gave us this impression. The one room which looked a little forlorn was the ‘sitting room’, which would be perfect for high teas and, with stacks of magazines on the tables, will be a great place to chill out post-breakfast. When we were there it lacked a buzz, but with their breakfast/brunch menu launching mid-April, I am sure the room will be put to good use.
The colours throughout the restaurant are matted blues, oranges, greens and browns, coupled with soft wood flooring and panelled walls. It is clear that art plays am important role; there is a whole wall of David Hockney prints opposite the bar. The large painting of the dog wearing what I call a ‘lampshade’, by the stairs to the loo, is attention grabbing and not without a sense of humour. I adored the startled rabbit painting downstairs by the loos, and think it deserves a more prominent place.
The service was delightful – so friendly and enthusiastic, encouraging me to roam around the restaurant with my camera, explaining the concept, advising on wine and food. Which brings me on to the food, which was delicious. With no need for persuasion, we promptly ordered three courses. Of the starters, the short rib was my favourite, the ‘Pressed Piggy’ a close second. The vegetable and goats cheese option was nothing special. For mains, I went for a chicken and avocado salad, which, with the chicken skin ‘crisps’, was wonderful. The portion of lamb looked small but was incredibly filling and melted in the mouth. The sirloin steak with truffle chips was cooked to perfection, and even without 50% off at £21 is great value. For pudding we shared (and I’m glad we did – the portion is huge) an original version of a crepe suzette, with a sweet egg white and orange soufflé inside. Yum.
1 Pearson Square, Fitzrovia
London W1T 3BF
020 3761 0200