9 Rupert Street, W1D 6DG www.dstrkt-london.com
Cost per person without wine: £50
DSTRKT didn’t sound like my kind of place at all. It’s part nightclub and I hate those – I particularly don’t feel like clubbing after dinner. What with its club, its fancy cocktails, its caviar (there’s a whole caviar section on the menu) and its all-singing-all-dancing restaurant (complete with tasting menus), I thought it had the same ring to it as Novikov in Mayfair. Namely: crassness that caters to a particularly Russian taste.
But I had it slightly wrong. Because while Dstrkt may appeal to some Russians, its own-brand of crassness and noisy luxury is more American-style: an exuberant menu, prices within reason and friendly staff. Which must be why Jay-Z’s best friend chose it, rather than Novikov, for a birthday bash attended by Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West and Stella McCartney.
The entrance to Dstrkt is on Rupert Street, near Shafestbury Ave. It looks like a club entrance: there are ropes and a carpet later in the evening. Down the stairs you go into a dark, multi-leveled room. Here there is a smallish bar with a few tables, overlooking the dining room: a glossy, chandeliered but still very dark affair with banquettes, lime-light-stealing tables in the middle and more secluded spots for two on the raised floor. The food is tasty and fun, ranging across many categories, from local cheese to canapes involving puffs of liquid hydrogen, to barbeque baby goat.
We tried a foie gras lollipop and found it delicious and surprising: creamy liver coated in sour cherry and pop rocks that fizz when you put it in your mouth. Grilled broccolini with burrata was also suprisingly good: the cheese melty and creamy like in Italy. Most delicious of all was the truffle gnocchi with cheddar, chives and nutmeg that came steaming in a jar. It packed a high-density hit of creamy carbohydrate. Divine.
We also enjoyed the Saudi prawns with charred scallions (who wouldn’t?) but found the barbecued goat a bit slimy and odd.
There is lots to try here and lots to enjoy – all you have to do is forget that behind a flap is a nightclub where the worst reality TVstars, footballers and their hangers-ons go to sink Grey Goose and Cristal.