A gloriously sunny Thursday evening and off to leafy Kensington, where London’s first business members’ club combines a top notch dining room, deli counter, cocktail bar, florist and bakery. The outdoor terrace, meeting rooms and private office suites are perfect for entrepreneurs and start-up firms looking for a chic, centrally located base.
We were treated to dinner in the sleek, art deco inspired restaurant with tables thoughtfully arranged around a magnificent marble and pewter bar. Canary yellows, jet blacks and slate greys compliment one another in a spacious, convivial dining hall overlooked by a neat, buzzy open kitchen.
Head chef Adam Simmonds, formerly of Michelin-starred Restaurant at Danesfield House, in Marlow, has created a thoroughly modern menu with a focus on seasonal British ingredients injected with a passion for experimental cuisine, taking shape in delights such as the Scottish lobster salad served with octopus, watermelon, fennel and black olive puree.
The impressive 1930s bar boasts carefully selected, predominantly British independent drinks suppliers. Seasonal cocktails such as the buttered julep (£12.50) intrigued; Buttered bourbon, mint, sage and bitters, and the exquisitely presented absinthe frappe (also £12.50); Butterfly absinthe muddled with cool cucumber, mint and yoghurt.
First up was a cool, creamy scallop ceviche, which sat alongside a zesty lemon confit, baby gems, green almonds, vanilla and just a touch of camomile (£14.95). My guest declared the slow-cooked pork belly a triumph. Generous, meaty Scottish langoustines accompanied by smoked pineapple and a rich, chewy homemade black pudding.
A gold star is awarded to Pavilion’s informed somellier who has created an extensive, attention-commanding wine list. A decent balance of new world and old world, we were presented with a most agreeable 2012 Pinot Grigio Azienda Agricola Blason from Italy. Lively floral notes with vanilla, blackberry and summer fruits perfectly chosen for the balmy evening.
Although the menu caters to most palates, Pavilion’s speciality is steak. With a choice of rib-eye, sirloin, fillet or cote de boeuf, meat lovers are in for a treat. Accompanied by beer pickled onions, truffle salad, pungent whipped bone marrow, parsley crumb and fat chips in beef dripping, a delightful culinary journey to be cherished. The fillet steak (£26.50) was as hoped: moist and succulent with just the right amount of chew. Our side order of broccoli and fresh almonds didn’t touch the sides.
Simmonds has a talent for the savoury as well as the sweet; cleverly curated desserts were a highlight of the evening. A luxurious bitter chocolate marquise (£8.95) was complimented by mint, acrated chocolate and a scoop of delightfully cooling mint ice cream. An ingenious and refreshing apple mousse (£7.50) was accompanied by sweet, nutty butterscotch, compressed apple and an extraordinary, wholesome pine nut puree.
Pop in soon - if only to marvel at the exquisite decoration.
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