Lancashire Court, 8 Brook St, London W1S 1EY www.hush.co.uk
The upstairs dining room has been through a few incarnations and now it’s reborn as Blades. Why Blades? Well as Jamie Barber, co-owner, tells me it’s a nod to the other owner – Roger Moore. The name references the private member’s club to which James Bond’s M belonged.
The idea of Blades is apparently to have a kind of 60s members’ club feel, Jimi Hendrix had a flat in the townhouse and it has always been a bit of a spot for celeb spotting.
The menu revolves around steak, lobster and craft whiskies. Things that were dining staples of ‘posh’ places in the 60s. Here you can have a whole Cornish Lobster either grilled, tempura or Thermidor, or pair a half lobster with Rib-Eye, Fillet or Sirloin.
These can be paired with Blades’ own Bloody Mary Ketchup, or sauces from Club Stilton Butter to Blades Blend Whisky Glaze. There’s whisky-cured smoked salmon carved at tables and Lobster Beignets to Stargazy Pie with Lobster and Rabbit.
Desserts feature British classics, such as Molasses Marmalade Roly Poly, or a Ã¢â‚¬Å“Scoop of Club Stilton with a Glass of PortÃ¢â‚¬Â , in homage to M’s penchant for Ã¢â‚¬Å“the ripest spoonful he could gouge from the club Stilton” in The Man with the Golden Gun.
Whiskies have been hand-sourced by Hush Bar Director, Pedro Solorzano, and include a number of limited bottles of American, Japanese and Scottish handcrafted whiskies and Bourbons from Ã¢â‚¬Å“forgotten distilleriesÃ¢â‚¬Â. These can be sipped neat, sampled in a range of whisky Ã¢â‚¬Å“flight,Ã¢â‚¬Â or enjoyed in a Blades Tipple, such as the Mr Kipling’s, with Apple Wood infused Rye Whisky, egg white and orange bitters, or the Bond Street Boulvardier, built with vanilla infused bourbon. The Bowler features Blades’s own bespoke blended whisky, mixed tableside on an iconic golden drinks trolley.
I should point out at this point that this was a press evening and so the menu was fixed.
So J and I had one of the cocktails, very nice too, and settled down behind the crisp linen for a starter of Lobster Salad, horseradish potato, chives, crispy pancetta. This was rather good although we both felt it could have been served warm for better effect, no doubt about the lobster’s quality though and the potato salad had that texture and taste that took me back to my childhood, in a good way.
Then we had the steak and more lobster. The fillet steak we reckoned may have been sous vided, and nothing wrong with that, but it needed a tad more searing to get that crispy exterior. Good steak, quality and full of flavour and it had the rather knowingly naff garnish of small tomatos on the vine. I dislike these because wherever I have them, the moment I force a fork in they spit juice across the table, usually onto my shirt.
The half lobster was excellent, J who knows about lobsters, said it was a mature lobster on its second skin, which was why the meat seperated out so easily from the shell. Extremely sweet and not cotton wool like so many lobsters taste. Special extra points for a baby kale, walnut and parmesan salad. I know it doesn’t sound much but there’s a real art to getting this kind of thing balanced and this was just perfect.
We could have gone for the Mars Bar Cheesecake, but instead it was Whisky and Brown Butter Brioche Pudding. J though this too soggy but I thought that was the point. It was soggy with whisky and butter and that can only be a good thing can’t it.
I don’t suppose Blades will get a warm reception from dedicated trendspotting food bloggers or cool Metro types, it’s not really for them, but I thought Blades did a pretty good job of providing the kind of food that Mayfair types like to eat and in a smoothly chic environment with pleasant echoes of the past.