The May Fair Hotel, 70 Stratton Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8LT www.mayfairkitchen.co.uk
Good looking and good for you, May Fair Kitchen has a special vegan lunch menu for London Fashion Week. We threw a shape and tried it.
It has to be said that J and I are not fashionistas, we dress mostly in what might be called ‘minor public school boy chic’. These clothes are what we were basically issued with when young and what we continue to wear today. Fashion is fickle you see, but sensible shoes go on forever.
It’s London Fashion Week in case you haven’t noticed, and all over central London willowy figures are drifting about and occasionally refuelling with drink (lots) and food (not so much), The May Fair Bar on Berkeley Street, is serving cocktails inspired by fashion week, while in May Fair Kitchen there’s a special lunch menu in addition to the usual small plates.
So J and I sashayed in to see what this Fashion Week lunch involved, assuming that it might be high on eye-appeal but a little light on the calories.
I have to say the restaurant turned out to be a lot nicer than I expected. Outside is a Roland Mouret window display on Stratton Street that sets an arty tone, while inside is a really relaxed place stylishly done out but not oppressively so. Tables are decently spaced and the open kitchen adds to the unpretentious atmosphere. The clientele seems attractive too, many good looking but all relaxed and unshowy.
The Fashion Week menu is as thin as a supermodel, which makes sense. So there were no long discussions of what to have; J went for artichoke and fennel soup, with roasted spring onions and pine nuts while I had almond, onion and saffron soup with roasted tofu. Both were 100% vegan.
I thought my soup rather good, the almonds not pulverised to paste so giving a pleasing texture as well as a creamy flavour which was of course sin-free. The saffron was a breath and no more while the semi-submerged iceberg of tofu was something interesting to chew on.
J liked his soup too, having been a bit sceptical of the whole premise and muttering about ‘why can’t we have a proper lunch?’ all the way over. My taste of his soup picked up a sure-footed balance of the aniseed and the artichoke flavours and the roasted onions gave a calcot BBQ feel. I liked the sweet pellets of pine nuts and the slick of quality olive oil.
A grammatical confusion led J to believe, and me too actually, that vegetable couscous would be couscous with vegetables. So when it arrived he was a bit curious as to the unusual texture. Closer examination revealed that it was vegetable ‘couscous’, in that the veg had been ground up to the texture of couscous, an idea often used with cauliflower.
Anyway, it came with grilled corn and berry pesto and overall made a dish that was fresh and tasty and gave the illusion of being filling but without calories.
My pomelo and avocado salad with shallot dressing also had little chewy red berries dotted about in it, these I suspect were goji berries, a popular superfood with A list ladies.
They are said to boost the immune system and brain activity, protect against heart disease and cancer and improve life expectancy.
So I ate them all and, luckily, they’re rather tasty too. The pomelo is a kind of citrus fruit, the segments look like a transparent orange, and again reputed to be healthy. Certainly the combination of this with the berries and the avocado and the baby spinach created fine mix of flavours.
I’d like to say we left it there but we shared a mini-pizza of speck and cheese because although we did feel surprisingly full, we are also a bit greedy. Decent pizza actually, if a bit messy to eat.
If you’re looking for invigorating, healthy vegan food served in an appropriately stylish setting this LFW until February 28, then two failed male models totally recommend May Fair Kitchen.