Anything Artfarm touches is a surefire hit – and this is certainly the case with Mayfair’s new Mount St Restaurant at The Audley. As you’d expect from a hospitality group with gallerists Iwan and Manuela Wirth behind it, the decor is exquisite, so too the British-luxe menu. With King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla already spotted at this W1 establishment, here’s why Mount St Restaurant is our dining destination of the week.
My first thought on entering Mount St Restaurant is that it is quite simply the most beautiful restaurant I’ve ever seen. I want the floor (Rashid Johnson’s 2022 palladiana mosaic “Broken Floor”); I want the chairs (Matthew Day Jackson’s serpentine-of-leg Kolho dining chairs); I even want the conical silver cruets that look like a luxey collab with a high-end sex shop. Works by artists including Andy Warhol and Lucian Freud line the walls of the restaurant and the four private rooms on the three floors above, while The Audley Public House at street level, has a collaged mosaic by Phyllida Barlow on its ceiling.
That Mount St Restaurant has such an enhanced aesthetic (credit to Paris-based design and architecture studio Laplace, lead architect behind the restoration of The Audley) should come as no surprise given that it is the creation of Artfarm, the hospitality company founded by gallerists Iwan and Manuela Wirth, known for the Fife Arms and Roth Bar & Grill. This is their first London opening, launched in tandem with The Audley Public House at the same address. They’ve also just acquired The Groucho and signed Mark Hix as chef director. It’s safe to say that Mount St. Restaurant will soon be a celebrity favourite; King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla have already been sighted.
Such chic surrounds, the gorgeous terrazzo in particular, put me in mind of luxurious Italian food – tagliolini and white truffle, carpaccio, red prawn crudo, the kind of expensive protein one can admittedly find anywhere in Mayfair. Mount St Restaurant has taken a different tack, prompted no doubt by the site’s 19th-century architecture, to explore a sort of culinary Victoriana.
To start, mock turtle croquette, a roundel of tender, braised veal, anointed with lip-smacking oyster mayonnaise for a saline kick. “Pigeons in Pimlico” to follow is very refined, a tranche of pigeon, duck liver and bacon farce inside glossy pastry. Both fascinating dishes, but a little fusty; I rather feel I should be sitting in a creaky old dining room, possibly haunted, hung with velvet curtains and ancient portraits. This is the peril of reviewing restaurants; one reaches for the quirky over the quotidian, the “story” over the “same old”.
Next time, and there will be a next time very soon, I’ll indulge in the simpler luxuries like plates of Mylor prawns, Stepney smoked salmon, oysters, beef tartare, and rib-eye and chips. Mount St Restaurant’s success most likely lies somewhere between the two camps, exemplified by its much talked about lobster pie for two and our elegant first course of smoked eel and potato salad dotted with caviar (plates were licked). Pudding, a retro moulded blancmange, combines pop art good looks with vintage appeal – quite lovely!
Do note that Mount St Restaurant opens for breakfast too. The caviar omelette is a dish simply made for the most beautiful room in London.