If you missed the news, Heinz Beck – the three Michelin star chef from Rome – is back in London with a new Italian restaurant at Brown’s Hotel…
Although billing itself as a casual dining concept, there’s a sense of occasion at Beck at Brown’s, braced by white tablecloths and service which is distinctly characteristic of a five-star hotel.
Taking over the grill recently occupied by Mark Hix, the capacious space has been subtly redesigned with a botanical theme by Sir Rocco’s sister, Olga Polizzi. However, historical details – notably the rich oak-panelling – remain intact, while some of Brown’s legendary art and antiques collection also make their presence felt.
Unsurprisingly then – on first impression, the two-weeks old restaurant already feels as though it has long since been part of Brown’s furniture, no doubt providing a familiar sense of comfort to our fellow diners who very much fit the hotel’s archetypal regular. You know, the sort who are often seen at Brown’s during the week, but never over the weekends which are instead reserved for retreating to one’s country pile.
The menu holds a somewhat broader appeal – except, in terms of pricing.
Burrata is a thing of beauty, a buttery cloud of cream encircled by a verdant medley of fresh veggies. There’s a compelling case for carbs here too – whether in the form of a startlingly-exquisite risotto, intriguingly enlivened by tender artichokes and aged parmesan; or the silky strands of Cacio e Pepe, topped off – some might argue, unnecessarily – with lime-marinated scampi.
In the interest of full disclosure, at £24 this is also the most expensive plate of Cacio e Pepe we’ve had in London yet. As perfectly enjoyable as the dish and our evolving experience at the restaurant is, there’s no denying the disconnect between the prices charged and the “casual dining” premise promised at the outset (even taking into account the fact that we are dining at a hotel restaurant in Mayfair helmed by Heinz Beck).
The real highlight is a tiramisu affogato, which centres on a cool column of aerated mascarpone having an almost soufflé-like texture. Dark chocolate tuile lends a bittersweet foil, enhanced by the kick of espresso swirled on top.
It’s a revelatory twist to an old favourite, adding a contemporary edge to a restaurant that has all the makings of a (stereotypical) Mayfair classic.
Beck at Browns, Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4BP
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