Published on June 6th, 2016 | by Ben Southwood0
Hunter 486, Marble Arch
Summary: Good British food, but not your typical fine dining experience
Hunter 486 bills itself as a fine dining restaurant, and though it’s situated in a lovely old-style W1 hotel, and though the dining room is very swanky and well put together, it isn’t really a fine dining restaurant. It’s a regular restaurant, though a smidgeon more expensive, and it’s better for it. Starters are about £8, mains a bit under £20, sides are £4, and desserts are about £6. You can also get a two course set menu for £19 at lunch, or up to 7pm. The food isn’t bad; it’s a bit too expensive, but anywhere in a nice hotel like this would be, so it didn’t feel recklessly overpriced. (The booze is a bit pricier, with bottles of beer at £6, and cocktails at about £12.)
We made some fairly down-the-line picks. My watercress soup was pleasantly thick, tasted shockingly like liquefied creamy watercress (in a good way) and came studded with two soft-boiled quail’s eggs in the middle. A very nice way to start a meal. My companion ate dressed Dorset crab with avocado and grapefruit, which looked cool, but which I didn’t try.
For my main I had rack of lamb, which was two bone’s worth of plump, tender lamb with warm, soft, English-tasting vegetables. The sort of taste that good restaurant vegetables often have, connected by a gravy-like thick liquid. She ate a rib eye steak that was done precisely medium rare.
The sweet potato fries on the side were a bit disappointing. Really, you ought to double cook them: fry them on a lower temperature for 10-15 minutes before taking them out, letting the oil heat up, and refrying them at 190C or more to crisp up the outside. They’re even better if you dab them in a tiny coating of flour before they go in the fat. And if you use beef dripping—well, then sweet potatoes can become a thing of wonder. And I do all of this at home with a £15 deep fryer and none of the benefits of a full restaurant kitchen. So these limp, chubby offerings were unimpressive. They still tasted OK, but they were basically wasted.
The desserts were decent without being anything special. I had a little mini chocolate cake thing filled with fondant, accompanied by a slightly sticky, slightly crumbly, slightly crunchy nut brittle, and some salted caramel ice cream. It wasn’t the best version of any of these stalwarts that I’ve eaten, but it did the job. I didn’t finish it. Hers was a bit more colourful, some sort of sorbet and fruit offering.
Overall, Hunter 486 is definitely not a place I would make a pilgrimage to. Indeed, with the local competition (Bernardi’s, Lorro, Donostia, The Lockhart, etc) I’m not sure if I’d return even if I was in the area either. The problem is that while the food is decent, the price point is just an inch too high. While I was there, Hunter 486 had a pleasant atmosphere, but it was more or less empty—on the strength of what I ate, I’m not sure we can expect that to change.
Hunter 486 @ The Arch Hotel, 50 Great Cumberland Place, W1H 7FDShare This Post