What: Top seafood in a classic English setting
Where: 11-15 Swallow Street, Mayfair W1B 4DG
Why you should go there: To experience a nod to a time when dining out really was a luxury
Favourite thing we ate: Bread and Butter Pudding and the lobster
Opened since 1916, Bentley’s is a staple of fine English dining and a must do if you are eating out in London, taken over in 2015 by regaled chef Richard Corrigan, it oozes classic English style. Upon nearing the outside terrace I was instantly struck by the waiters and doormen’s impeccable smartness and understated charm which is likely to have been there since they first opened their doors, a nod to a time when dining out really was a luxury and something that is lost in today’s new wave of pop-ups and casual restaurants.
As it was a warm evening we sat outside and really got to enjoy the other side of summer in the city that doesn’t include sweating on the tube and searching for some spare grass in any given London park. Although the weather is pretty unpredictable at the moment, you won’t miss out on al fresco dining as even if it’s a chilly day Bentley’s has toasty outdoor heating and warm blankets to keep the shivers at bay if the temperature dips.
Working like a well-oiled machine, polite staff attend to us throughout the evening advising on specials and the best dishes. I took them up on their offer of a salad to start which consisted of a refreshing mix of watermelon, feta, rocket and almonds. For those of you that love your seafood, Bentley’s is a beaming light and we kicked off the fishy dishes with the Dover Sole Goujons, lovely strips of white fish deep fried in breadcrumbs.
On to the mains, the lobster seemed the obvious choice and it definitely didn’t disappoint as it tasted so fresh it was as though it has just been plucked from the sea, served in a buttery, garlic sauce with side of chips and greens made it into a meal. The White Truffle Macaroni was a nice alternative to the otherwise seafood dominated menu although some of the outer pasta pieces looked like they had been waiting to be served a little too long. The unaffected middle pieces came in a lovely buttery sauce but I personally could have done without the egg accompaniment. At this point in our meal we began to hear soulful music filling the courtyard which was being played from a talented lady just out of sight in the restaurant and contributed to the lovely relaxed atmosphere.
The best part of the meal for me by far were the puddings and specifically the Bread and Butter pudding which had a crème brulee sugar crust, topping the most divine creamy underneath. If you’re feeling extra indulgent a side of their amazing vanilla ice cream goes with it perfectly. More indulgence comes in the form of the Chocolate Mousse, gooey and fudge-like in texture on a layer of nuts (and that vanilla ice cream again) is a perfect way to end a meal. A final cocktail from the bar and we bid goodbye, the wine sommelier had also been a great help, filled to the brim with knowledge on any and every wine you can imagine.
The evening was a delight from start to finish; Bentley’s is one of those rare restaurants that cares about the small details which is probably the secret to its success as it celebrates its centenary next year, we felt totally taken care of the whole night and would definitely recommend dining here or even taking in a drink at the gorgeous indoor bar.