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London's 34 Restaurant
London's 34 Restaurant:
Linger with a Leisurely Weekend Brunch

Story by Ruth J. Katz
Photos courtesy of Caprice Group

exterior of London's 34 Restaurant  at night

et just off regal Grosvenor Square, 34 is an elegant oasis in a region, Mayfair, which is a haven in and of itself. A relative newcomer to London's restaurant firmament, 34 has become an instant culinary classic. With its burnished ginger banquettes, rich oak parquet flooring, and open kitchen as a centerpiece, it has fashioned a welcoming hearth and homey table for visitors; and indeed, there is a literal hearth, 34's charcoal grill (custom-built in Argentina) .

interior of London's 34 Restaurant

Part of the Caprice Group, 34 is a sister restaurant to the many bold-faced names in the group: Le Caprice, Scott's, The Ivy, and the destination restaurant, Daphne in Barbados (where I dined a few years ago and where I murmured to myself after my meal, "That is one of the best meals I have ever enjoyed.") In addition, under the company umbrella are some of London's most prestigious private clubs, including Annabel's, George (where the hamburger is to-die-for), and of course, The Club at the Ivy.

34's remarkable grill, fed by natural fuels, is known as a parrilla and is ideally suited for the kind of meat repasts for which the Argentines are lauded – the cornerstone of which is the churrasco, the beef (usually) which is prepared in the Argentine churrascaria, or beef restaurant. Head chef, Harvey Ayliffe, has developed an eclectic menu, using the grill not only for beef, but also for seasonal game, fish, and shellfish. The beef served at 34 includes Scottish, dry-aged, grass-fed; Australian Wagyu; and US prime, corn-fed beef from particular ranches with which the restaurant has a relationship.

Bloody Mary at 34 Restaurant

Weekend brunch is a lovely treat here and on a balmy Sunday, I enjoyed my meal there, as well as a stroll around the nabe. First, ask for the ingenious drink menu, as there is an entire page devoted to Bloody Mary and her cousins.

After fortification, then dig in: My colleague savored the lobster Thermidor omelette, so rich and creamy it was sinful; the crab and grilled asparagus frittata was a great twist on a classic, as were the buttermilk pancakes with cured bacon, which we drenched in sweet maple syrup.

The smoked salmon, dill, and bacon hash was an extraordinary combo, and the pan-fried calf's liver, with maple-cured bacon, pickled shallots, and sage was a savory and succulent main course. There are also a few interpretations of American classics, like the Southern fried chicken/coleslaw sandwich and the 34 hamburger, with dill relish. (Oh, did I mention that the menu also sports – get this – lobster macaroni. Talk about obscene.) Save room for dessert, as it's another walk down Tasty Lane: roasted plum, caramel, shortbread, and brioche ice cream; warm almond and honey cake with roasted figs and yoghurt ice cream. Ummmmm...

34 Restaurant's pancakes and smoked salmon

As for the ambience, designer Martin Brudnizki has taken inspiration from English, Edwardian, and Art Deco styles. The bar, at which guests can dine or enjoy an aperitif, has garnered awards and is the perch for the house pianist, Sunday to Wednesday evenings (and from Thursday to Saturday, a jazz trio performs).

If you luck out and have as lovely and balmy a day as I had, then walk over to Grosvenor Square (home to the American Embassy until the new one is built), where you can sit and enjoy the serenity of the outdoors. Pay respects at Britain's 9-11 memorial, honoring the 67 British citizens who died that day. There are two pergolas, with quiet seating, where you can enjoy a contemplative hour.

Restaurant 34: 34 Grosvenor Square (entrance on South Audley Street), London, W1K 2HD; telephone: + (0)20 3350 3434

Related Articles:
Paparazzi at the Osteria; Modern Charlevoix Dinner Reminiscent of Historic Battle for Quebec; Linnertime in Spello; TAPAS: Opposite Sides of Madrid’s Culinary Coin; A Dark and Foodie Night;


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Let Ruth know what you think about her traveling adventure.

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