Food at Fenwicks – Bond and Brook
I have a soft spot for Fenwicks. It was one of the first ‘big’ shops in London I felt comfortable in when I was younger. I was brought up in the country and trips to London were special and rather scarey. We used to visit twice a year, me dressed up in a liberty lawn smoked dress and white socks (but no patent shoes even though I BEGGED because my mother thought they showed your knickers and were vulgar). And, we were so indoctrinated with the ‘dangers’ of London that when I did get to the age where I should have been independent I was actually quite scared. Particularly of the shop assistants who all seemed REALLY glamorous to me (by then I’d progressed to Laura Ashley frilly white blouses and jeans!).
But, Fenwicks was, and still is, friendly. It’s partly a size thing. It’s not quite as big as some of the other department stores. And I think it’s also partly a location thing. Very close to Bond Street station and away from the main Oxford Street/Regent Street shops, it’s just not as frenetic. So, it’s rather good to find that one of my favourite London department stores has a great restaurant too.
Bond & Brook is the first project conception to completion by “Rhubarb” and A Private View – the partnership of Evening Standard restaurant critic Fay Maschler, and journalist and broadcaster Simon David. It’s a light, white space that feels immediately welcoming as you walk in with comfy lounge seating to the front of the bar with a more formal dining area behind.
The restaurant serves a mixture of dishes. Brunch and Afternoon Tea menus are complimented by a wide range of small dishes for sharing and a selection of main courses and dessert. A perfect place for lunch if you are shopping in the area, there’s a real feeling of tranquility.
My lunch companion, Jacqueline from how to be a gourmand and I enjoyed a glass of champagne while we waited for our food. We did both nibble at some of the lovely bread, but neither of us were hungry enough to need three courses. My seafood risotto was really flawless with just the right amount of seafood to balance the creamy rice without overwhelming it. And the rice was nicely al dente without being undercooked…quite a skill in a commercial kitchen.
But Jacqueline’s pasta - Hand made beetroot ravioli With goat’s cheese and walnuts was a spectacular dish which had a real wow factor and seemed very appropriate. The pasta itself looked fabulous, but most impressive was the salad garnish which accompanied the dish of edible flowers and a variety of salad leaves.
For dessert I chose macarons which were good although not outstanding – just a little dry for me.
Jaqueline’s orange creme brulee once again looked lovely with little lavender shortbread biscuits on the side.
In a way it was entirely appropriate that this lunch was taken over a bit by good conversation. Bond and Brook is the sort of place where you could meet up with friends after shopping and end up staying all afternoon. It’s comfortable and friendly – and despite that manages to be ultra chic.