Published on August 22nd, 2016 | by Ben Southwood0
The Wallace Restaurant, Marylebone
Summary: The Wallace Collection is beautiful and it's fitting that it has a lovely little restaurant to go with it
I had a lovely lunch at the restaurant in the Wallace Collection in beautiful Marylebone, just a bit north of Bond Street tube station and Oxford Street. The sun was shining (and the dining room has an all-glass roof), the room is very attractive, the background buzz was a pleasant “rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb” and a three course lunch is the sort of rare luxury that lifts your whole week when you indulge in it. Basically, this is very pleasant food in very pleasant surroundings, for about the price you expect in a gallery in such a well-heeled area.
The bread was just-out-of-the-oven warm, surely baked on-site, and semi-divided into four pieces, and came with a soft pat of butter that had just the right amount of salt, i.e. a lot more than the meagre smattering you expect with most restaurant butter. Sometimes they even serve unsalted butter—a travesty. But not here. The menu is fairly well catered to the summer, and we managed to pick mostly rather refreshing dishes, keeping us cool in the glare of the bright, glass-roof-magnified 30 degree summer sun.
A gazpacho with goat’s cheese was salty and creamy yet somehow still a cleansing light summer dish, perhaps purely due to its cold. The cheese formed satisfying little amorphous lumps, somewhere between holding their shape and entirely disintegrating into the main liquid. My companion ate a salad of burrata and watermelon. The copious seeds annoyed him, and he said the combination wasn’t quite there, but the ingredients individually were delicious. A valiant but perhaps failed experiment.
Mains were perfectly cooked sea bass: salted to just the right extent, turned upside-down with a gloriously brown and crispy edge but firm coherent flakes of white flesh on top. It was accompanied with mild courgette and tomato, and it was a dish they were proud of. Mine was a vaguely Thai creamy coconut soup with spring onions, sliced chillies, and meaty, springy turbot, again cooked in a way I wish I could consistently achieve at home. Once again, it was a dish suited to the—finally—extremely hot midsummer.
Maybe very best was a peach soup dessert, with knobs of sorbet bobbing around, as well as soft raspberries and—for some reason—a smattering of watercress leaves. Peach soup turns out to be a fantastically delicious liquid, like a sweeter, thicker fruit smoothie. My companion said his moulleux au chocolat was good though not wonderful. We were recommended a dry white wine which was exactly what we needed. The set menu is £23 for two courses or £28 for three; if you order a la carte you’ll spend anywhere from £30 to £50 for three courses.
The Wallace Collection is beautiful and it’s fitting that it has a lovely little restaurant to go with it, with comfortable chairs, a comforting afternoon atmosphere, pastry counter, unobtrusive but effect service, and a well designed menu, each dish done well.
The Wallace Restaurant, The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1U 3BNShare This Post