The Handbook
The Handbook

What: Modern European-style cuisine with a 1940’s gentleman’s style interior
Where: 81 Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6JF
Why you should go there: If you don’t want to have to change venue for post work drinks and dinner
Favourite thing we ate: Beef tartar

Headed up by chef Alfonso Lillo Fas, who came over from Spain to set it up, The Cavendish is a bar/restaurant serving up modern European-style cuisine with a 1940’s gentleman’s style interior. So naturally The Handbook went to check it out.

On arriving we stepped into the pub that was heaving, with music blaring, in fact it was so loud that they hadn’t heard us when we tried to ring saying we were running late, anyway we were ushered upstairs to the restaurant which was a little quieter, but if you’re sat beneath a speaker as we were then you still need to talk pretty loudly to be heard.

The restaurant upstairs was simple, with plain white wall, a couple of leather booths and lots of  dark wooden tables, a bar stood at one end beneath an exposed brick wall, but apart from the staff who were in white shirts and braces I couldn’t quite see the 1940’s theme.

Despite having numerous staff, we’re talking about 12 people for about 6 tables, service was really quite slow (although they couldn’t be faulted for politeness) – when we arrived, a table had to cut its meal short because they had run out of time for pudding. Since there were no menus on the table and with no one coming over to ask for drinks then we were left just sitting there and when drinks were brought over they were the wrong ones and the couple who sat down next to us a good while after us were served before us.

The food itself was delicious, juicy scallops arrived with a cauliflower puree and you must order the burrata as a starter – you won’t be disappointed, a generous helping with salty Parma ham, it’s simple but when it’s got right, as theirs were it was heaven.

For the main course the beef tartar was excellent, perfectly seasoned, but unfortunately the service let it down, as it said it came with zucchini fries and yet these weren’t brought over until we had already eaten most of it, despite asking twice. I would have rather waited a bit longer for it both to arrive at the same time rather than just eating a plate of beef by itself.

We also had the Secreto – Iberian pork shoulder with smoked asparagus and garlic sauce which was wonderful. We also had to try the macaroni which was cheesy but rather dry. We finished with a beautifully light and creamy caramel panna cotta.

With food as good as The Cavendish’s they have the makings of a really excellent restaurant, they just need to work on the service but that will come with time.