On a rainy midweek lunch, an arrival into the technicolour wonderland that is the Mount St. Restaurant is the most fitting tonic. Reaching the dining room is slow work for there is so much to feast upon (and that’s before you’ve even seen the menu) – the walls leading up to the convivial Mayfair dining room are covered with delicious recipes from founder the Wirths' decadent sounding dinner parties, alongside doodles and artwork from friends, including photographer Don McCullin.
Restaurant of the Week: Mount St. Restaurant
21st November 2022
Introducing the Mount St. Restaurant & Rooms. The new proprietors of The Groucho, Artfarm, and its owners Iwan and Manuela Wirth have just opened The Audley, an art-filled five story building on the corner of Mount Street and South Audley Street in Mayfair. SPHERE's Jemima Sissons, entered the building Mount Street side, and headed straight upstairs into the Mount St. Restaurant & Rooms, for lunch.
The room set above The Audley Public House and below what are set to be the most coveted private dining rooms in town, is full of gossipy corners and of course, big name art from the Hauser and Wirth collection.
A quizzical Lucien Freud peers down upon diners and Henri Matisse’s Éperlans frames the far wall. Even the salt and pepper are collector’s items (and surely many will try their luck). On the mocha leather-bound tables Paul McCarthy’s salt and pepper cruets sit like elegant silver trees. The frosted white table lamps are inspired by the late Davos artist Sophie Tauber-Arp. The mosaiced palladiana floor is by Rashid Johnson – a mish mash of elegantly broken marble.
The menu is old school – Omelette Arnold Bennett (£16) and Mock Turtle Croquette (£20) alongside Mylor prawns (£22) and Stepney smoked salmon (£20) for starters, with hearty mains fuelling a long lunch – helped with crisp glasses of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc. The lobster pie for two (£96) is a showstopper, topped with the flakiest pastry and made virtuous with a pile of greens.
A loin of Highland venison (£46) is hearty fare for game-lovers but there are plenty of delicious vegetarian options such as foraged mushroom with roasted celeriac (£24). It is reassuring to see a ‘savouries’ section, all at £10, – how very Dickensian – for serious lunchers: London rarebit or devilled kidney omelette for those who are settling in for the afternoon. We demolish a dark chocolate and hazelnut mousse (£14) along with the last sips of a buttery Burgundy.
When they are open, the upstairs bars with their secret rooms, tasselled maroon chairs and egg yolk walls will surely become the hottest hangouts in London – rather like Chiltern Firehouse they are not officially members only, but no doubt you will have to know someone (or be someone) to make the list. Form an orderly queue.
Further reading: SPHERE's interview with Artfarm CEO, Ewan Venters.