Restaurant Review: Alyn Williams at The Westbury, Mayfair in London
For elegant, refined and creative dining in a calming, fresh atmosphere, London’s Alyn Williams at The Westbury is the place to go.
The one Michelin star eatery based in the upmarket Mayfair district serves up a variety of techniques, tastes and textures on the plate with excellent wine or beer pairings available. I visited on a Saturday lunchtime in February with my partner, Nick, and we thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon of being truly spoilt with exquisite foods and superb service.
Upon arrival at the five star hotel we were welcomed with a smile and shown to our table in the high-ceilinged restaurant, which was playing relaxing instrumental music to aid you through your visit. Staff are all full of smiles, immaculately dressed and are on hand to offer advice and answer questions when needed but leave you alone enough to enjoy your meal. The room itself reflects the grandeur of the hotel and offers a comfortable haven for your meal. The tables are well spaced out and wood effect walls and pillars, cream armchairs, light carpets, alcoves and spacious sectioned dining areas make up the calming venue. We were seated near one of the floor to ceiling wine cabinets, which offered a great feature for the room and acted as a wall for a private dining area on the other side.
While taking in the stylish décor we were brought a glass of deliciously light and fruity Prosecco to enjoy with our selections of bread and butters and a light and puffy canapé of cheese gougère.
The food was an absolute treat, we were brought a selection of dishes from the meat tasting menu, which costs £75. Wine pairing additions will cost a total of £135, the prestige selection will be £200 and a beer matched meal will cost £120. There is also a vegetarian tasting menu inspired by Alyn’s wife’s vegetarianism and previous visits to other fine dining establishments and their lack of meat free options.
Course one consisted of smoked salmon with marinated mackerel, Chantilly caviar and cucumber. The smokiness of the salmon was lifted quite nicely by the sweet Prosecco while the light, gentle and delicate flavours and textures of the other elements were uplifted by the smokey flavour, making for a gorgeous start to the meal.
Course two consisted of a delicious and plump piece of slow cooked Cornish hake, which was so delicate it fell apart gracefully as soon as the fork touched it . This was accompanied by a gutweed butter, which added a great saltiness to the dish, while grated black truffle rested on top. This was a classic, elegant and flavoursome plate of food with perfect flavour combinations and gentle salty flavours making us two very happy diners so far.
Course three was our absolute favourite of the meal and consisted of foie gras semi freddo, Medjool date, yogurt and Brazil nuts. The rich and sweet flavours combined with the cool, smooth textures on this dish set my taste buds alight. The fruity, sweet date, the warming nutty flavour of the finely sliced Brazil nuts and the hearty foie gras flavour combined to make a deliciously moreish dish that left us raving about it.
Course four was marinated roast quail, baked potato foam and confit yolk with red cabbage and purple mustard. Yet another flavoursome, gorgeous and beautifully presented dish with a central meaty element expertly complemented with sweet and delicate flavours and top notch cooking techniques. The quail was tender and light while the cabbage was sweet and the foam delicate, with a sprinkling of mustard powder on top offering a nice kick of flavour. The yolk added an extra bit of richness to the plate making the wine choice a very well matched one (Domaine Faiveley, Mercurey, Clos des Myglands, Premier Cru).
Course five consisted of Devon ruby beef, oyster, beef tartare, confit potato and sherry vinegar and showcased some great skill. The sweet sherry vinegar came in the form of a gel and was a great accompaniment to the tender medium/rare meat, soft potato, flavoursome tartare and oyster and crisp greens. This was another elegant dish with perfect flavour and texture pairings, a great balance of meat and vegetables, and mighty fine culinary techniques.
Although there is a cheese course on the menu (with a £12 supplement), we weren’t offered it, which is a shame as Nick is a great fan and we had spotted a fantastic looking cheese cabinet on the way in. Nevermind, we still had two more courses to come and went straight to the vanilla panna cotta with blackberry and Limoncello. This was a lovely uplifting dish of sweet, sharp, sour, refreshing and fruity flavours. The delicate panna cotta was covered with a blackberry jelly while some tiny lemon biscuits and Limoncello sorbet sat on top offering a nice palate cleanser.
Our final course was a wonderfully rich and crunchy ending to the meal and consisted of coffee, Baileys, mocha and milk. A mocha mousse had pieces of puffed rice underneath, which sat on top of a Baileys gel. This was encased in a dark chocolate ring and had striking edible gold on top. Next to this was a serving of espresso ice cream, which sat on a bed of fine crunchy crumb and, for good measure, had a piece of chocolate tuille resting on top = yum! It looked amazing and tasted just as good; there were deliciously rich flavours and an array of textures to delight and I could have ended up tipsy on the Baileys gel alone!
Over a cappuccino and some petit fours of dark chocolate and salted caramel truffles, and passion fruit tarts with meringue and red pepper, we reflected on our afternoon. There wasn’t a single part of our visit to Alyn Williams at The Westbury that we didn’t enjoy and, importantly, every member of staff that we came into contact with was spot on with their service. The variety of ingredients, flavours, textures and techniques on the menu and on each individual dish were a testament to the abilities that Alyn Williams and his team hold. It was a wonderfully refined and elegant menu that left us two very pleased diners. My only unanswered question is where is that second Michelin star??
Address: 37 Conduit St, London W1S 2YF / 020 7183 6426