Dining at the Cavendish, Marylebone:
I have reviewed The Cavendish several times before most notably in its last iteration when El Bulli trained chef Alfonso Lillo Fas offered classic French, Italian and Spanish dishes with formal service, linen and a tableside Crepes Suzette that was pure theatre. With an interior that is a fusion between a masculine 1940s club and contemporary Soho, The Cavendish feels warm and comfortable without being overly stylised. The newly appointed Italian head chef, Douglas Santi, has some serious form initially working under gastro-god and Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse and then as head chef of the award-winning Italian eatery Babbo in Mayfair. With Douglas and a new general manager leading the charge The Cavendish is going for a more informal atmosphere now with a modern European and produce-led approach serving all-day brunch, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Suppliers include butcher Audrey Allen, the Queen’s butcher and local cheese specialists La Fromagerie. I had been invited to sample dishes from the new menu with a cheery band of bloggers and things warm up quickly after a Negroni Sbagliato or two (the delicious younger lighter sibling of the classic Italian cocktail made with Prosecco replacing the gin as the medium for blending the Campari and sweet vermouth).
The Cavendish’s Croque Monsieur must surely be the most indulgent in London tasting as good as it looks!
Mini Cavendish eggs benedict had golden yolks, a rich hollandaise and a slice of smoked salmon to add some salty flavour.
I loved the Quinoa and Prawn Tabbouleh. The prawns were fresh and tasty and the delicately spiced crunch of the quinoa was the perfect complement.
Cavendish beef tartare was delicately spiced with great meat.
I only had three portions of the Tuna tartar, avocado and chili …
Mains were accompanied by a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Rita 2010. It had great body and was packed with luscious blackcurrant and vanilla flavours which could handle the famous 100 layer lasagna based on a family recipe handed down to Douglas by his grandmother. This was not a dish to be argued with. The (not quite 100!) layers were actually thin crepes rather than pasta making this a lighter form of indulgence than the original.
Rib-eye, béarnaise and triple-cooked chips was for the serious carnivores. A big hunk of full flavoured meat with great chips and a rich blob of tarragony béarnaise sauce.
Josper baked artichokes were baked under a herby breadcrumb topping giving the dish a terrific savoury crunch.
By the time the selection of mini-desserts arrived I was pretty full but the salted caramel tart was great!
A wonderful pair of cheeses from La Fromagerie came out with quince jelly Spanish style. For relaxed casual all-day dining The Cavendish has to be the go-to place in Marylebone. I was concerned that the quality previously achieved would be lost but with careful product sourcing, a skilled chef, a carefully curated interesting drinks offer and an on trend menu they have pulled it off. It’s just the sort of place Marylebone needs. I’ll be back….