Monday, January 12, 2015

Hunter 486 at The Arches, London

Hunter 486 – Great location, gorgeous restaurant!

I love a restaurant with good lighting!  It’s my number one priority – especially for a date, because generally, you’ll always look better than when you left home!  Hunter 486 is one of those restaurants.  Gorgeously lit with an overwhelming ambience , there’s also the most amazing intimate dining booths (but we’ll get on to those later…)

As it turns out, I wasn’t on a date.  I was meeting my friend Kelly for a massively overdue catch up.  Because I was coming from Oxford Street and she was coming from Marylebone, Hunter 486 which has a new chef at the helm, seemed like a pretty good choice.

The restaurant which actually takes its names from Marylebone’s old dialling code in the 50’s, is set within The Arch London – a luxury, family run boutique hotel, boasting a huge Union Jack flag outside.  It has a warm and inviting reception area with those chairs you’d really like to just sink into while waiting for your room, or like us, if you’re here for dinner, you haven’t got far to walk to the beautifully lavish restaurant.

The restaurant area actually encompasses three separate areas which seamlessly glide into one another.  To one end, the actual restaurant with kitchen, then a super sleek and stylish bar area where I could see myself sitting at, supping on a killer martini.  To the other end, you’ll find the Champagne room (how chic!).  Le Salon De Champagne is a gorgeous loungey space with amazing décor and floor to ceiling banquette seating areas, which can be curtained off for special, intimate dinners… or in our case, a bit of a girly catch up!

Service was faultless and the waiter didn’t seem to mind at all, that we were too busy chatting to check out the menu!  I’d decided to have a night off the wine (yes that is a first for me), but after spying a rather fancy Cabernet Sauvignon-Shirz-Malbec on the list, I couldn’t really say no to a glass… or two.  (Must try better next time!)  Kelly went all out and ordered one of the cocktails – a pomegranate and peach bellini – fresh fruit muddled with crème de peche and topped up Tattinger.  That seemed to go down very well indeed!

For a hotel restaurant, Hunter 486 really stands out.  Probably because aside from the reception area that you have to walk through to get to it, Hunter’s contemporary feel and relaxing ambience make it feel anything but.  You can imagine sitting here supping on a glass of Chablis, but definitely not coming down from your room in the morning to eat a buffet breakfast…

The food is described as modern European and although the menu isn’t as extensive as some other central London restaurants, I do think there’s something to everyone’s taste.  And Hunter does have that air of offering something a little special.  The newly appointed head chef Gary Durrant (who brings a wealth of experience from The Savoy and Claridges), delivers a combination of classical French cooking with a no fuss contemporary edge, while dishes are created and based purely on the taste of the high quality ingredients rather than being dressed up or over fancied.  

Starters were beautifully presented and delivered with care by our wonderful waiter who was keen on making sure everything was ‘just so’.  It was.  I went for the John Ross Scottish salmon with shallots, capers, parsley and warm homemade soda bread.  Kelly had the Potted Morecombe bay shrimps with melba toast which I think I enjoyed slightly more than my own, but only because it really was amazingly tasty.

Staying with the fish theme, I was totally in the mood for fish and chips, but Kelly being slightly more health conscious than I, decided to go for the whole grilled lemon sole served with a tarrogan butter.  My fish and chips didn’t disappoint.  Cooked perfectly, fluffy fish was encased in a light, tasty batter.  The chips were perfect and although the tartare sauce was just the right consistency and also had a great flavour to it, I’m afraid I’m a ketchup girl at heart and was overjoyed at the prospect of being given three small jars of potted ketchup (it was so good that I actually took one home with me – oops! – It’s all coming out now…)

Kelly’s lemon sole was absolutely huge and most definitely whole!  I forgot to ask where the fish was sourced, but wow, I’ve really never seen a sole so big!  As expected, there were some bones, but the fish itself was delicious, while the tarrogan butter was a perfect accompaniment.  The next time I go back to Hunter 486, I’m most definitely having this!

There was absolutely no room for desserts, but we did manage to fit in another round of that gorgeous red wine before heading home.  The one problem with Hunter 486, is that it’s so cosy, you really do wish you’d booked one of those beautiful boutique bedrooms so you could just roll upstairs without the cold journey home….


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