This Saturday I enjoyed a meal with a friend at Pollen Street Social in London. The meal has made it to my list of top 10 meals of all time – yes, it was that good. Located in the Mayfair district, Chef Jason Atherton – formerly of Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant – has created a contemporary and trendy eatery well worth its acclaim as one of London’s best new restaurants.
I arrived at Pollen Street Social before my friend and was greeted by two hostesses who were very friendly and offered to take my coat. I took a seat on a comfortable couch in the bar area. While I waited, I was offered a drink menu by at least 3 different people and offered water a few times as well. The entire bar and reception staff was very welcoming and accommodating. The bar is light and airy and has an informal and warm vibe.
Once my friend arrived, we were taken to our table in the main dining area. The meal started with fresh bread, dips and Spanish olives. Our server was very knowledgeable about the menu and made several recommendations. Since I have a food allergy- tomatoes- ordering was a little challenging.
I started my meal with the scallop ceviche served with cucumber, apple, radish and yuzu soy dressing. The presentation was beautiful and the dish was delicious. The scallops were fresh and thinly cut and the combination of cucumber and yuzu dressing was great.
For my main course, my options were a bit limited and, in fact, I had to go with my third choice. The manager even came to the table to discuss my options with me – turns out most of the meats are braised in a tomato base of some sort or another. So after I gave up on the idea of having duck or Atlantic Halibut, I settled on the roasted sea bass with celeriac, celery and celeriac crumble. The dish typically comes with a truffle sauce, but that had to be replaced because it had tomato in it. In the end, I was thrilled with the sea bass. The fish was cooked perfectly and the texture and flavor were dead on.
After the main meal, we were served a pineapple granita topped with Kaffir lime, a thick lychee foam and passion fruit coulis. It was a great way to cleanse the palate and prepare for dessert.
Having read much about the restaurant online, I knew I had to save – or make – room for dessert. The dessert choices all looked amazing – and in fact, the restaurant has its own dessert bar – but I had to go with the PBJ. The PBJ looked amazing online, but only tasting it in person can really do it justice (my pictures certainly don’t do it justice). The PBJ is a peanut butter parfait with cherry jam and creamed rice puffs. The dish also had a scoop of sorbet and fresh blackberries. It was as good as I had hoped and just enough sweetness to end the meal – or so I thought.
Just when you think you’re done, the staff, who never stopped attending to our table throughout the meal, return with a box filled with chocolates and miniature macaroons – the macaroons were yummy! And then, just before you’re served the check, you’re given one last treat – a classic French financier. Ours were filled with Almond and Pumpkin and were warm and rich.
Every attention to detail was thought through and looked after. The service was spectacular and the food was magnificent. Pollen Street Social is expensive – but it’s worth the price for a special dinner you’re not likely to forget.