Inside Bacchanalia, Richard Caring's new Mayfair restaurant - Spear's

Bacchanalia Mayfair: the bare cheek of Richard Caring’s newest restaurant

Bacchanalia Mayfair: the bare cheek of Richard Caring’s newest restaurant

Bacchanalia Mayfair, the extravagant new restaurant from Annabel’s and The Ivy owner Richard Caring, promises to be a modern classic

Who is the king of Mayfair? Richard Caring has a claim to the throne. The billionaire who made his first fortune in the rag trade has parlayed that success into a hospitality empire that covers much of the West End (and stretches far beyond).

Anyone strolling up through Berkeley Square finds themselves surrounded – on the eastern flank there is Sexy Fish, to the west lies Annabel’s (one of five Caring-owned private members’ clubs within a third of a mile of one another) and now, to the north, occupying the site of an old Porsche garage at 1 Mount Street, is Bacchanalia.

This playfully outré homage to the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome opened late last year, promising guests ‘a truly unforgettable and unique experience from the moment they step inside’. 

Bacchanalia Mayfair’s imaginative take on the classics

The restaurant is largely staffed by statuesque models/waiters dressed in glitzy – if less than authentic – period garb, who affect a winningly wry attitude to their work. In the men’s ablutions, a soundtrack of gladiators battling in the arena is piped into the room.

But the star of this particular show might be the restaurant’s extraordinary interior, which is dominated by vast Damien Hirst sculptures of unicorns, winged angels and a topless, tattooed Medusa, which overhang the main dining room.

These are complemented by striking Gary Myatt murals, one being an expanded version of the painting that inspired Caring to create the restaurant in the first place. It shows classical figures in the throes of Bacchic rites, but includes evidence of the modern world – San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge can be seen in the background, while an Apple Macbook lies open on a table.

A sumptuous feast

Of the many good reasons to visit Caring’s various restaurants, food and wine seldom top the list. But here they are no mere afterthought.

The kitchen is overseen by Athinagoras Kostakos (formerly head chef at Bill & Coo in Mykonos), while the 650-strong wine list is the work of fellow Greek Terry Kandylis. It charts the spread of viticulture through Europe and includes a collection of critic Robert Parker’s ‘100-point wines’. 

The complete package, then? Perhaps not. On the restaurant’s opening night, Caring himself admitted there is a limit to his powers.

‘What’s the definition of Bacchanalian party?’ he asked the assembled revellers, doing his best to channel Mark Antony. ‘The history books tell us, and I quote: “Wine-drinking to excess that causes extreme drunkenness – and then free mingling of the sexes.” We can help you with the first part; the rest is up to you.’ 

Images: Bacchanalia

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