Phil Howard's new London venture (2017) providing simple and flavoursome dishes in a cosy setting
After having to upkeep 2 Michelin stars for 17 years at The Square, Phil Howard seems to be very much enjoying his new, more casual venture at Elystan Street, gaining a Michelin star in the first year of it opening. The restaurant itself lies within a pleasant suburb part of Chelsea and has a smart casual feel, seemingly good for an airy lunch and evening meal alike. This visit was a reasonable set menu lunch on a Sunday for £50 pp which, for a very good Sunday roast seemed reasonable value. Portion sizes were generous (bordering on too much) with service excellent and whilst it was not at the top bracket of Michelin starred options from my viewpoint, it was certainly loaded with some pleasurable options.
I believe that Phil Howard wishes to focus on less ornate food now but still pack lovely flavour – if this is correct, I also believe he’s achieved this well at Elystan Street. This Sunday lunch definitely had some good moments. The mackerel rilletts with pickled cucumber, horseradish and toasted muffins was simple and really enjoyable; my only gripe of this starter was that it was quite a protein rich and large sized starter (not a horrendous sin, but was quite a lot to handle). The mousseline of grouse with pearl barley, lardo di colonnata, green peppercorns and red wine for my guest was fair and with a decent enough red wine jus.
The mains had some highlights too. The rabbit was pleasant enough with adequate succulence but made me doubly sure I was correct to go for the beef which, as well as having a satisfying finish, was accompanied by a fantastically deep gravy. The all-important Yorkshire pudding was a little too hard for me (some more soft substance inside would have been better), but it all came together well in thankfully not being flooded too much by vegetables – the small amounts that were offered were very well done.
Apple crumble was as homely as they come with a very smooth vanilla ice cream and the smashed brownie with chocolate foam and cream was enough to need a day in a gym as penance, but was enjoyable nonetheless. The wines recommended were paired well and we were looked after very well throughout our meal. Basically, there really is not much to not like here and another meal here will give a wider understanding of the options, but it was relaxed and good quality throughout – perhaps not a million miles away from how Mr Howard likes it to be these days. Will definitely be happy to come back another time.
Food Grade: 78%
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