It has been some days since I dined at Hush Brasserie in Mayfair. Perhaps, as its name would suggest, I have wanted to keep it more of a closely guarded secret than I should do. It’s not every day that you come across such a find, even though this lovely place is now well into its tenth year. But here it is, tucked away at the end of Lancashire Court; a pretty enclave reveals an open terraced area reminiscent of the more romantic spots in Europe, in contrast to the familiar grey and grizzly London as is so often the case. Through the inviting doors of Hush, a feverishly hot Mediterranean ambience grabs you firmly and simply won’t let go.
A modern, newly renovated and shiny brass interior greets you – masterminded by architect Alex Michaelis (the man behind Sophie’s Steakhouse and Tom’s Kitchen, among others); flower vases loom over the bar at the entrance, and friendly staff lead you to your table. As a brasserie, it’s not pretentious or demanding. Big, open booths line the mirrored walls on one side, whilst more intimate twosome tables are scattered through the restaurant’s main floor.
The no-fuss menu reflects the relaxed ambience yet doesn’t falter on imagination or quality. You’ll find modern favourites mixed with things like rare tuna salad, ‘Harry’s bar’ style beef carpaccio, foie gras, salmon tartare, oysters, and hearty macaroni cheese. And that’s just for starters. Healthy portions, beautifully served, give this place credibility. Mains of pot roast pheasant, Keralan monkfish masala, whole roast sea bass, a classic Hush burger or standard but satisfying rib eye might take your eye off the ball momentarily as they arrive at tables nearby. But, coming back to the menu, your focus ought to re-adjust when you see the wine list.
A pleasant smile will no doubt creep across your face when you realise somewhat jovially that you don’t have to whittle down the selection too much – and, amazingly, each bottle listed here is also available by the glass. From a Gambellara Rocca Contri from the Veneto, to a Portuguese Red Quinta do Crasto from the Douro, this is great news for anyone who likes to live more interestingly, and priceless for all those vinous fusspots. It also means you don’t have to share. So, select your well-matched wine and then shake in a few sides.
My favourites included the utterly irresistible aspen fries (frites tossed in parmesan and truffle oil). And only then can you make a beeline for the puddings. There’ll be more than one to tempt your sweet tooth; try the hokey pokey ice cream or the light and fluffy sticky toffee pudding. But, if you don’t want to go all out, then you can enjoy a selection of the small plates instead. The wild mushroom arancini with truffle mayonnaise comes highly recommended, and marks the commitment to the very best of British, French and Italian ingredients. They also offer high tea, for an elegant end to an afternoon spent shopping nearby.
If cocktails are what you’re looking for, then start the evening with an English Rose cocktail, Elderflower Mojito or a Mayfair Cosmo. End the night upstairs in the equally elegant cocktail lounge. There are cosy sofas against a background of famous faces shot in black and white. It’s also ideal for post-dinner postulating or a hot date – and the lighting is particularly forgiving. In all, this place couldn’t do comfortable dining better. And in the most stylish of surrounds. Now that you know my secret, I hope you’ll enjoy it too.