Being so close to Oxford Circus station, one of the busiest in central London, Pollen Street is a contrast. It is a well located peaceful alley tucked behind all the bustles from shoppers, tourists and commuters. As we arrived, we were greeted at the reception and given a key as if checking in to a hotel. The key will open the letterbox filled with a surprise we could only find out after dinner, on our way out of the restaurant. That kept my curiosity on the high throughout the meal.
The crab and soup starter was a combination that came together well with sweetness of the crab, creaminess from the ice-cream, acidity of the tomato soup and crispy thin toast that added texture. The other starter of scallop ceviche was fresh and interesting. Then came roast cod, broad beans, peas, cockles & squid, parsley emulsion, creamed potatoes which we did not order. That was an additional main course, my birthday present from the kitchen. What a pleasant surprise. Apparently my friend told them it was my birthday.
West Country ox cheek with tongue & sirloin, carrots, caper & raisin purée
The roasted halibut and broccoli was well cooked and the pot of paella that came with the fish was big portion but sublime. We would have finished it but decided not to, because we were saving space for dessert. I recommend that you have the dessert at the dessert bar as you will be sat on the high chair. It was a lot of fun watching the chef at work and chatting to him while he prepares our dessert. Every single element of the ingredients were explained to us.
Ham, cheese and herbs sounded like a simple starter but it wasn't. I was the a dessert with compressed watermelon, finely sliced to look like ham and the frozen tarragon added a unique touch to the already exciting dessert.
These are not elegant doggy bags but a beautiful surprise from the restaurant; the surprise promised as we enter and an additional gift of a birthday cake.
The surprise was a paper bag filled with little financiers and tea bags for breakfast the next day, with a thank you note. It was a lovely touch. The birthday chocolate cake was moist and indulgent, decorated with silver leaf. Now this is definitely a restaurant that knows how to make their customers happy and make sure we return. The wonderful meal and surprises made the night wonderful and memorable.
Jason Atherton should be very proud of himself for doing so well, a lot better than Maze I would say.
A restaurant that pays attention to details with fun and inventive concept and high level of cooking techniques.
Nothing negative except it being pricey but for such a wonderful experience, it was expected.
Will I return?
Definitely yes. Do remember to tell them if you are there to celebrate an anniversary or something special. You will be surprised.
8 Pollen Street
London W1S 1NQ
Tel: +44 (0)207 290 7600
Closest station: Oxford Circus (central)