Berners Tavern review: It’s a peculiar feeling to be allowed to eat this much food so close to this many oil paintings, but I like it

 
Steve Hogarty
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​The entertainingly ostentatious Berners Tavern is a cavernous fine dining hall just off Oxford Street, on the similarly apostrophe-averse Berners Street.

The restaurant first opened in 2013 appearing as if it’d been teleported in from some unsuspecting National Trust site in West Sussex. The ceilings are so tall you’d need permission from air traffic control to clean them, walls heaving with disparate oil paintings hung on elaborate plasterwork, and chandeliers the size of family saloons. About as impressive as eating lunch inside the life-size CGI doll house from the opening credits of The Antiques Roadshow, it won’t fail to make an impression on whomever you lure inside.

WHERE? On Berners Street of Fitzrovia, and attached to the 5-star and blaringly boutique London Edition hotel, which was designed by renowned international hotelier and Studio 54 co-founder Ian Schrager, no less.

WHO? This palatial restaurant is part of Lincolnshire chef and gastro-tycoon Jason Atherton’s sprawling empire, which includes such notable local diners as Pollen Street Social, City Social and Little Social.

ORDER THIS... The stone bass ceviche starter arrives as a small congregation of domino-sized pieces of cured fish, each wearing a grapefruit slice bonnet and escorted by a polite wodge of avocado. The Cornish mackerel is served swimming in a thin consommé and fregola soup. The fish is richly flavoured and roasted to somewhere near perfection, though it’s a little overpowered by its pickled onion pondmates. Elsewhere the braised lamb neck and wild garlic purée hits the mark, though the very fine portion sizes may have you popping into Itsu on your way back to your desk.

BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? Berners Tavern is precision engineered to impress, whether you’re entertaining a business partner or just ducking into the bar to cop a glance at some minor celebrities over signature cocktails with a client. A lunchtime set menu costs £29.50, and service is swift and smart.

NEED TO BOOK? Yes, you do. Reservations can be made online at bernerstavern.com or by calling 020 7908 7979

THE VERDICT… It’s a peculiar feeling to be allowed to eat this much food so close to this many paintings. Imagine eating a burrito in the National Gallery, and you have an idea of the flamboyant dining experience in store.

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