HUNter486 Brasserie Review:
I really wanted to hide away for my meal at HUNter486. Not because the main restaurant is uncomfortable, but because the idea of being tucked away into one of their very comfortable booths, surrounded by light musliny curtains for the meal just would have been fun. Unfortunately no matter how hard I tried, every test photo I took came out with a yellow jaundiced look that would really not have complimented the food. So we moved to a table by the window.
Decor in the restaurant is classic modern and there’s a wood burning oven in the open kitchen where the chefs produce stone baked oven pizzas with fresh sour dough pizza base. You would feel at home here with (well behaved) children as much as for a business meeting or casual lunch. And if you wanted something a little more private, well there are those little booths!
The a la carte menu is quite brief, although there’s a separate express menu, with two courses for £19 or three for £21 which potentially adds a few more dishes. And, what we tasted was beautifully presented and for the most part immaculately prepared.
I chose the green asparagus with hollandaise sauce – on the menu marked ‘hot’ but more accurately (and more appropriately) warm. The serving temperature really did bring out the flavour of the asparagus. It looked pretty too. I had to admit that I didn’t check the hollandaise too closely, because I was quite happy eating the asparagus and I suspect that I could have been served the cold variation although it might simply have been the length of time we took taking photos.
My companion, the pescatarian Hedonist, chose smoked salmon – a classic dish that arrived with its half of lemon nicely wrapped in muslin and a garnish of a few caper berries nestling in smoked salmon ‘roses’. Not a streak of white, a mark of a really good quality product, this was delicately smoked and served with little triangles of buttered brown bread.
On to the main courses. I’d struggled here, It was rather a hot day, but reviewing a restaurant on the basis of a salad never seem realistic. I wanted to chose a meat dish because I knew the Hedonist would be eating fish, but I try to avoid rib-eye steak because of the high fat content (actually the reason why many love it!) , I don’t particularly like steak tartare and the chicken dish sounded lovely but just too wintery for a sunny August afternoon. That left me with fillet of beef ‘Wellington’ – not a bad choice for a carnivore like me but one you seldom see on restaurant menus because it’s tricky to serve.
The Hedonist picked the Grilled ‘Troncon’ of Scottish Plaice which was served with lemon butter and a warm new potato salad. And we ordered a couple of side salads to go with the food.
Although this tomato and mozzerella salad was not what we ordered, it does look very pretty and if it hadn’t arrived at the same time as the beef wellington I’d probably have eaten it happily.
As was the first beef wellington, which looked stunning but which was just not rare, as I’d ordered, but uniformly beige throughout. The second one though was spot on – and almost every restaurant has the occasional glitch. The test for me is when something goes wrong is whether the staff are willing and able to put it right, which HUNter486 did quickly and efficiently. The beef wellington turned out to be a really delicious dish and I am glad I asked for it to be cooked the way I prefer my beef, simply because it allowed me to appreciate the great combination of flavours with a lovely rich madeira sauce and pretty delicate turned vegetables without feeling slightly irked that it wasn’t quite what I’d asked for. In fact the meat was so meltingly tender it would probably have been fine as first presented.
By this stage I was quite full and ordered coffee instead of dessert, which came with a little selection of handmade chocolates.
My friend ordered a creme brulee, which looked superb with a very fine crisp caramel topping and a vanilla seed infused custard. I didn’t get to taste though, which is always a sign that it’s good!
All in, despite some rather confused service, this was an excellent meal. Everything we ate was clearly made with care and presented beautifully. And, I met the chef who came out to apologise for the beef wellington and was both charming and clearly a bit upset! For me it’s most important that if something isn’t quite right, it’s changed quickly and without any argument. And, at Hunter486 the freshness of the ingredients shone through and each dish was simple and yet beautifully balanced and well presented. I’d go back without hesitation, and I rather fancy trying the pizzas!
We were invited to review Hunter486 and received our food free of charge.
HUNter486 at the Arch
50 Cumberland Place