‘Chain’ wine bar x kitchen serving v. decent fare

Met up with a childhood friend and my sister for a long overdue catch up yesterday. I arrived at 7pm to find out that my sister hadn’t made a reservation. Smart. However, the staff were quick to accommodate and ushered me to the bar. I nestled in the corner on the plush, comfortable bar stools away from the other diners and drinkers, waiting for the other two to arrive. When they did, we decided to stay where we were, as it felt intimate and the perfect location to have a good ol’ chinwag without interruption. Over the course of the evening, I had about 4 glasses of their Chenin Blanc, J.Mourat, Loire Valley which was reasonably priced at £5.40 for 125ml glass.

For starters, I ordered the crab tortellini (£7.95) in miso broth with spring onion and toasted garlic which was really light and delicate. The chicken spatchcock with watercress and béarnaise sauce (£14.95) called out to me, so I had that for my main meal, accompanied by a side portion of triple cooked chips. The chicken was tender and quite tasty but I would have preferred if they’d browned it a bit more; the chips, however, were really good. My sister offered up her tenderstem broccoli side dish (with chilli and garlic) to the table, so I took a helping; it had been put in a bath of olive oil which I wasn’t particularly keen on.

By this point I was pretty stuffed, so when the dessert menu was shared, I declined initially. My friend decided to go for the apple & pear crumble with gingerbread ice cream. As I stared longingly at it, it became clear she had no intention of sharing and whilst I knew I absolutely couldn’t finish a whole one, I ordered one regardless whilst being chastised by my sister for being greedy. I didn’t f****ing regret it – the crumble was absolutely delightful and I loved the punchiness of the ginger against the apple.

The bill came to £115 or so and I ended up paying £45 as I had drunk more than the others.

My sister and I had quite a heated debate about ‘chains’ with her branding 28 50 a ‘chain’. I do get that categorisation, they have x3 spots around town (Mayfair, Marylebone and The City) which have the same look and feel and serve similar fare. However, I felt myself leap to the defence of 28 50 (because I generally tend to associate chains with low quality food in a branded environment backed by financiers who I presume only care about the bottom line) because I felt the food was of a very decent standard with staff that really cared about serving you well (even though the wait times for the food was extremely SLOW).

Another ‘chain’, I’m pretty fond of is Bill’s for the same reasons stated above. So, perhaps we are entering an era of new ‘chains’ who are raising the bar and that can only be a good thing.

Cuisine: Modern European 

Average cost incl. a boozy bevvy: £36-45 [£££]

Address: 17-19 Maddox Street, Mayfair, W1S 2QH (see website for other locations)

Tube: Green Park (see website for other locations)

Reservations: Yes (walk ins welcome too)

Hours: Bar: Mon – Wed 12pm – 11pm Thurs – Sat 12pm – midnight (bar food is available all day from 12pm – until 11pm) Lunch: Mon – Sat 12pm – 2:30pm Dinner: Mon – Wed 6pm – 10:30pm Thur – Sat 6pm – 11pm

Phone: 0207 495 1505  (see website for other location numbers)



Image from 2850.co.uk