Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yaneff at DSTRKT, London

Sumptuous and central dining – Yaneff at DSTRKT, Picadilly

Restaurants attached to London’s super clubs are becoming all the more popular, but

bizarrely in all my years in the capital, I’d never eaten at one…until now!  And after

sampling the delights of Yaneff at DSTRKT based right in the heart of Picadilly, I’d say the others have some serious competition on their hands!

With a stylish transformation rumoured to have cost in the region of the £25 million, DSTRKT is now home to the Yaneff restaurant – where a stunning dining experience awaits, hidden beneath the Picadilly tourist trap.  Fantastic mood lighting, sensational design and of course the brilliance of each unique dish all contribute to a first class intimate and quite excellent eating experience.

While the interior will wow on you arrival, it’s of course the food we were most interested in.  At the helm of the kitchen, is head chef Georgi Yaneff who counts Michelle Obama among his fans – she used to eat at the Oyamel Restaurant in Washington DC where Yaneff was sous chef back in 2007.  Georgi also headed up The Bazaar at Beverly Hills and the result of his extensive experience is plain to see in the creation of his amazing tasting menu.  A passionate cook who obviously pays significant attention to detail with his works of art, Yaneff uses only the finest of ingredients, sourcing fresh produce from only the best suppliers and delivering an innovative range of dishes full of rustic charm.

I’d definitely recommend trying the tasting menu which gives you a chance to sample the delights of a range of amazing dishes including:

-Blini with citrus creme fraîche and osetra mottra caviar
-Smoked Rock oysters with lemon air
-Chicory endive with Canadian lobster, radishes, blood orange and pecan nuts
-Cornish crab cakes with dill yogurt sauce, dill pollen, crispy pumpkin seeds and red mustard frills
-Yellow fin tuna tail cubes with avocado mousse, chilly, soya air and dehydrated seasonal flowers
-Seared Scottish scallops with fresh english pea puree, crispy sugar snaps and olive oil powder
-Saudi prawns with charred scallions oil and black creamy polenta
-Grilled flat bread salad with macadamia nut pesto, baby rocket, fresh chèvre, black olives, sweet grilled peppers and baby tomatoes
-Rabbit croquettas with porcini mushrooms and truffle honey, served on banana leaves
-Grilled ostrich skewers with Guinness mustard and mint gremolata
-Grilled broccolini with burrata, pomegranate seeds and reduction, micro basil and garlic
-Grilled British lamb cutlets with homemade lamb pancetta, smoked aubergine puree, confit piquillo and micro celery
-Truffle potato gnocchi with cheddar espuma and shaved Italian Alba summer truffle
-London fog, freeze dried strawberries dipped in liquid nitrogen
-Piña Colada, warm banana bread with home made coconut sorbet, confit pineapple, coconut and pineapple sweet chips and Rum drizzle
-Home made tiramisu with espresso gelee, espresso soaked sponge cake cuillere, mascarpone cremeux, dark cocoa powder and milk chocolate crisp

As you can see, it’s an extensive list and we ate far too much (in one sitting?!) to go through everything, but I thought I’d list a few of my personal – especially if you’re just going to order a couple of dishes each.

The seared Scottish scallops were the finest I’ve ever had the pleasure to taste, perfectly complimented by a delicate pea puree; the Cornish crab cakes (which unlike most crab cakes, had a significant amount of good quality crab in them), were also a delight… and the rabbit croquettas, were smooth, well seasoned and perfectly balanced with the nutty and distinctive flavour of the porcini mushrooms.  Out of the mains, I can definitely recommend the potato gnocci with truffle and cheddar espuma – the two overpowering flavours work splendidly together and the gnocci was punchy and light and totally delicious.

When it comes to desserts, it’s difficult to come up with something totally different, although Yaneff’s deconstructed Pina Colada – a concoction of warm banana bread, coconut sorbet and pineapple, drizzled with rum totally hit the spot.  Innovative yes, sweet but not sickly – the ingredients make for an amazing combination.

With an attentive head waiter and some excellent staff, there’s a nice range of customers at Yaneff too – the clientele ranging from couples, to groups of birthday parties and girls enjoying some food before the club opens.  The music gets progressively louder throughout the evening with a DJ warming up the diners who’ll be heading next door when DSTRKT gets going.  As far as the club goes, it isn’t really my kind of place, but if you’re like me and would tend to give the restaurant a wide berth because of this, then I’d tell you to think again!

Yaneff is one of the best restaurants I’ve had the pleasure to eat in and with Rihanna rumoured to have taken inspiration for her Barbados mansion from this place, if it’s good enough for a millionaire popstar, I’d have to say, it’s most definitely good enough for me!


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