A restaurant, bar and foodstore with seasonal fresh produce
Where? 170 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5QB (020 7631 3131, www.villandry.com)
Isn’t that a food store? Funny you should say that. Villandry opened its doors 17 years ago on Marylebone High Street as just that. Now it has many more strings to its bow. A ‘charcuterie bar’ offers a reasonably priced menu with quick, tapas-style bits like a charcuterie plate or soup of the day. For full meals, the restaurant is run by head chef Raj Nathan and, of course, the food store is a gourmet shop for serious foodies.
So where should I head with so much choice? The restaurant is perfect for a fuss-free meal; a simple, stylish setting with a succinct but delicious menu. At lunchtime it is buzzing with a real mix of Londoners – we even sat behind a Hollywood star, mentioning no names…
And to eat? The menu changes every month and aims to stick to simple, seasonal cooking. The crudités with hot anchovy dip (£5.50) and charcuterie platter (£6.50) were perfect for sharing. My motto? When in a French restaurant, eat mussels, and the Moules marinière with crusty bread (£11.50) was plentiful and swamped in a delicious white-wine sauce. For something lighter, the seared rare tuna salad Niçoise tasted tender and flavoursome. It’s hard to resist the dessert menu – our top two favourites were honeycombe ice cream with chocolate sauce and Eton Mess.
Lunch-time tipple? We tried the Churton Sauvignon Blanc, recommended by the helpful waiters, which was light and pungent and is dubbed as ‘the next Cloudy Bay’.
Need to know? If you need a regular supply of the mouth-watering products on sale at Villandry’s food store but can’t get into London, you can buy online and stock the cupboards to your heart’s content.