Pollen Street Social

Pollen Street Social is the new home of Jason Atherton, the celebrated former head chef of Maze. The venue aims to cater for those looking for a three-course meal or a drink and light nibbles in the bar area [or three-course lunch followed by a drinks in the bar in our case]. The décor is relatively neutral and simple yet effective, with wooden floors, white walls adorned with a variety of modern artwork and dark brown leather furniture. The use lighting really adds to the overall modern feel with multiple large glass light fittings and a collection of these at varying heights over the bar area.

We were a party of four friends booked in for a good catch-up over a 1pm Saturday lunch time table. We were seated at the far end of the dining room by the window. Aperitifs were promptly ordered as we perusde the menu. Bread arrived shortly afterwards along with an amuse bouche of salted cod and olives. Good start.

There was a choice of either a set menu or a la carte; I think we all got seduced by the a la carte menu in the end although the set menu also featured some great dishes. Food decisions finally made and ordered and with guidance from a very helpful Sommelier on wine choices, we were all set to lunch!

STARTERS

Amongst others, our starters consisted of the All Day Breakfast and deer tartare.  G: The All Day Breakfast certainly didn’t disappoint. A perfectly runny poached egg sat on a deep tomato ragu served with sautéed mushrooms, bacon strips and croutons. This dish was a much a feast for the eyes as it was for the taste buds, excellently executed, and it really raised the bar for the courses to follow.

B: The fallow deer was served with slivers of toasted bread, pickled beetroot, salted sesame and pumpkin seeds and a broken egg sauce. As a fan of rare meat, all I can say is I enjoyed it very much. The pickle replaced the typical caper accompaniment and presented a good contrast to the richness of the egg sauce and the meat.

MAINS

G: My main course consisted of lamb with creamed spiced aubergine, Jerusalem artichoke and a black olive reduction. The lamb was perfectly cooked, tender and pink. My plate was squeaky clean at the end of it. ‘Nuff said. (Of course, bone on the side LOL).

B:  I had slight food envy looking at the pretty lamb served right across me! Thankfully, the jealous feelings were quelled when the duck was laid in front of me. Certainly not an ugly duckling. 😀 Served with Jerusalem artichoke and braised duck leg, the pink meat (and skin) was rich, and the clementine and mandarin conserve served its purpose well.

DESSERTS

Before our official desserts arrived we were brought a lovely refreshing pre-dessert in the form of lychee granita, topped with lime foam, passionfruit coulis (or something) and lime zest. G: It was so good I ate mine and another of my friend’s.

G: Of party of four, two of us opted for the same dessert, the apple caramel puff. It was a close call between this and the tiramisu, but after consultation with our very helpful waiter the apple caramel puff won by a whisker. The dish comprised of a chunk of caramelised apple with some strategically and artfully arranged puff pastry sticks. This was topped off with a calvados cream. The apple was full for flavour with just the right mix of texture so was soft but still with some bite to it. The calvados cream added a subtle hint of alcohol which wasn’t too over-powering and really complemented the sweetness of the caramel apple. The puff pastry also added some texture. As a bit of a dessert addict this isn’t the type of dish I would ordinarily order but I was very pleasantly surprised.

B: The other two guys opted for a selection of cheese from the cheeseboard, all introduced and well explained beforehand and served with a selection of biscuits, chunky piccalilli and a tomato chutney. I cannot remember all the names of the cheeses as we had 10 different types. Finished all of them and the Cashel Blue was a stand out. I admit though, I am partial to blues 😀

Just when we didn’t think we could eat any more along came a little wooden chest with our coffees which contained mini macarons, chocolate-covered coffee beans, mini cakes and chocolate praline bites, all of which were an absolute delight. In fact, we actually requested additional macarons which they gladly provided with no fuss or additional charge. Brownie points (ding ding!!).

 

Overall Pollen Street Social is certainly up there as one of the best dining experiences we have had in London. Not only was the quality of the food exceptional, the service was also friendly and professional, we actually grew quite fond of our waiter towards the end of our epic 4-hour lunch.  He answered our many menu queries, demonstrating a real knowledge of the food, being served. Even when they needed our table back to prepare for the dinner service, they helpfully re-located us to the bar. The bill came to £400+ which is excellent value for four of us having a three-course lunch, bubbles and drinks, two bottles of wine and coffees.

We would certainly recommend Pollen   Street Social to anyone looking to indulge themselves in a quality and memorable dining experience.

POLLEN STREET SOCIAL / 8 Pollen Street  / London / W1S 1NQ