Take a step back from the hell that is Oxford Street and you find yourself in pure foodie territory: Marylebone. Street food turned bricks-and-mortar restaurants sit alongside fine-dining and Michelin-star offerings. Big names like Hoppers, Fischer’s and Chiltern Firehouse all jostle for attention, whilst smaller restaurants tentatively open ready to make their name. The latest chef to throw his toque into the ring is Carlo Scotto (ex-Babbo) as he opened Xier last month.
Scotto’s first solo project Xier, which has made Thayer Street its home, is a modern European fine dining restaurant divided between the more formal first floor dining room of Xier and the more casual ground floor, XR which is where we found ourselves last week.
The restaurant still has that shiny new feel to it, partly because it is obviously new and partly because the restaurant is glaring, hospital white. Even with candle light, the restaurant felt a little stark with clinical colours and the loos even more so. That said they’ve already achieved a familiarity to the service, they’re warm and welcoming, charming us, as if we were lifelong patrons.
The menu pays homage to seasonal British produce and will change every two weeks and is made to share. We started with earthy enoki mushroom truffle arancini, perfect with a glass of champagne before moving on to a fresh tuna tartare topped with guacamole and a tart ponzu dressing which we scooped up with taro crisps. The classic bar food of sliders have been given the XR treatment, made with lamb they’re served with gruyere cheese, foie gras mayo and truffle fries. Served full size it might need to come with a health warning but served as a slider and it’s just right.
A hunk of pulled beef cheek practically melted away under our forks, they certainly saved the best until last. Given a kick with pickled walnuts, shallots and a generous helping of jalapeños we matched it with roasted cheesy aubergine, with plenty of rich tomato and mozzarella.
We rounded off with a mango pavlova. A crisp, light meringue shell filled with mango sorbet and fiery ginger Chantilly, the perfect antidote to the hearty beef and truffle before.
With the restaurant full when we visited, it seems as if Xier is already settling into Marylebone and finding its way. With dishes around the £15-£24 mark and on the smaller side, it’s going to set you back a fair whack if you’re particularly hungry, but for a lighter lunch or snacks with drinks then it’s just right.
Xier, 13-14 Thayer Street, Marylebone, W1U 3JR