New? Whilst their winter lodge is new, 28°-50° has been on Maddox street since 2013.
Where? We dropped into the 28°-50° on Maddox Street in Mayfair, but you’ll also find a 28°-50° on Fetter Lane and Marylebone Lane.
17-19 Maddox Street, Mayfair, W1S 2QH, www.2850.co.uk
On the Menu: The menu is the work of Executive Chef Justin Leclair with help from owner and Chef Patron Aggi Sverrisson. It’s modern, European and seasonal and all created to be paired with wines from their collection, 28°-50°, is after all, all about the wine – they have 30 different varieties available by the glass, carafe and bottle and 25 different Champagnes. Expect to find the likes of crab tortellini in a miso broth; grilled octopus with chorizo, new potatoes, piquillo peppers; slow cooked pork collar and for pudding Eton Mess or Icelandic Skyr.
First Impressions: We chose to sit by the window, giving us the opportune spot for people watching and on a Tuesday evening, the restaurant was busy with a mix of work parties and business dinners and those on dates were centred around the bar perched on high stools.
The Look: Split across two floors, the upstairs of 28°-50° revolves around a white tiled bar, which you can sit at on high grey, blue leather chairs. The look is both industrial and intimate, steel piping snakes across the ceiling, but reclaimed wood (a nod to the barrels that the wine is aged in) and glowing pendant lighting keeps the mood relaxed. Downstairs, you’ll find an open kitchen and wine display, it’s an ideal space for private parties. Currently it’s a winter lodge, decked out with fresh pines, fir cones, silver birch logs, wreaths and snowy trees. You might not see it at first, but you will smell it. The Christmassy scents from the fresh pines will have you craving a mulled wine if you so much as wander past the stairs.
What We Ate: We began with a smoked ham hock salad, although salad is a loose description and what arrived wasn’t quite what we were expecting; cold pearl barley mixed with Skyr and served with hefty chunks of ham hock and Romanesco. Good, yes but different. The Scottish ribeye is served with just a béarnaise sauce so we recommend the triple cooked chips. One, because steak and chips – it’s a given and two, they would go straight to the top of the chip charts if there was such a thing. They were the chunkiest chips, the antithesis of a French fry; crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, not greasy but not dry either – they were in Goldilocks’ words ‘just right’. Braised ox cheek was wonderfully tender and served with red wine and an earthy, woody olive oil mash. Cauliflower cheese is upgraded with truffle and bacon topped curly kale. You’ll want to find space for pudding, if you feel like sharing (or are particularly hungry) we suggest the warm chocolate madeleines served with a sweet, vanilla crème anglaise. The perfect, chocolate, comforting pudding they couldn’t be faulted. If you’re after something a little different then we recommend the white chocolate and lime mousse, topped with blackberries and ice cream. The lime cuts through the sweetness of the chocolate and the result is refreshing yet still indulgent.
What We Drank: Taking the sommeliers’ suggestions, we started with a Chardonnay, Ventisquerio ‘Grey’ from Chile, before moving on to Sicilian red wine, Frapatto, Baglio Gibellina, which was both smoky but slightly sweet, just right for the braised ox cheek and steak. To finish was a pudding wine from Tokaji, Hungary – Disznoko.
Go With: Obviously, someone with a penchant for good wine is a given. Great for a date, but equally good for when you need to find somewhere for sealing the deal with a client over a glass or two.
Final Word: The winter lodge is open until the 5th January 2017, so you have enough time to drop in for a mulled wine or two.