Monday, 23 June 2014

Berners Tavern & The Punch Room

A Jaw Dropper

Jason Atherton has gone and done it again. Walking into Berners Tavern is like stumbling into Aladdin’s cave and the stunning interior is enough to make you gasp as soon as you slip through the doors. Opulent is an understatement and I had to concentrate on picking my jaw up off the floor where I had dropped it upon entry.

We were confronted by a room of majestic proportions with intricately carved soaring ceilings and artwork covering almost every inch of wall in sight; National Gallery eat your heart out.. (well, almost)! The two spectacular chandeliers modelled on those inside New York's Grand Central Station coat the room in a warm glow which is reflected in the gold carved picture frames all the way around the chattering diners. If you’re wanting to impress, you’ve come to the right place.

Jason Atherton has moved away from the French cuisine of his Pollen Street Social as the menu here sways towards the seasonal British with a twist. We chose Asparagus which arrived delicately presented with brilliant blobs of colour (look at me being all technical) and fresh as anything. The Prawn and Lobster Cocktail was served in a martini glass and while a little on the large side was delicious nonetheless.

For our main course, it was always going to be the duck with caramelised apples...because, well, caramelised apples!! Cooked perfectly pink and tender, the duck was covered in plum sauce and accompanied by our choice of garlic carrots and broccoli. Somehow we both managed to devour the whole lot (quite a feat considering the once again very generous portion sizes) and returned to admiration of the room. We were waited on hand and foot, and being the curious types, were treated to a miniature history of our surroundings by our totally clued up waiter.

Deciding we were totally stuffed and couldn’t eat another thing, we immediately accepted the dessert menu. After my sweet tooth had told my stomach to man up, we ordered a strawberry ├ęclair with chocolate sorbet. Thank goodness for sweet teeth since this was a delectable dish presented beautifully with tiny gold flecks, appealing to miss magpie here who has a certain penchant for all things gold and the chocolate sorbet was refreshing in a way that all chocolate should be. 

Our discussions with the waiter led to a sneaky invitation to the Punch Room, the reservations-only bar that sits just next door inside the Marriott Edition Hotel and feels ever so exclusive. Upon pushing open the heavy wooden door, we were swathed in an oaky aroma, transporting us directly back to the 19th century library that I (and I'm sure more of you out there) like to dream about, secret bookcase-door included (don't get me started)! 

Now for important introductions, meet Sally the ostrich. She came to say hello and we established she was really just a fun loving kinda bird looking for love. Her mate (currently Sally number 2) was off galavanting so we took her under our proverbial wing and she looked after our delicious ice berg, gin and sherbet filled glasses.

Our cocktails arrived in a fabulous silver punch bowl which is definitely an essential item in any drinks cabinet. We know I love the novelty of such totally necessary items so this had my attention right from the word go and has been placed firmly on my bijoux residence shopping list. 

It took some persuasion to peel me from the clutches of the leather chair which had me well and truly enveloped but drinks finished, our evening had to draw to a close (cue sad face, evenings like this should be more considerate and not end). 

So if you're looking to make someone sparkle and/or whisk them off their feet, an evening at Berners Tavern should do the trick. If your lady (or man) isn't impressed, get a new one! 

Square Meal  

Berners Tavern on Urbanspoon

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