View all newsletters
Have the short, sharp Spear's newsletter delivered to your inbox each week
  1. Luxury
  2. Food & Drink
February 13, 2015updated 11 Jan 2016 2:56pm

Restaurant Review: Portland, Great Portland Street

By Spear's

Although the invitation was from Michael Stobbs, my preferred London wine merchant at Latimer Vintners, and supported by the promise of a bottle of Tertre Roteboeuf 1989, I must admit that I was somewhat hesitant.

After all, whenever someone mentions the words ‘Great Portland Street’, I think hospital. I think pregnancy, stress, tension, worries and finally great delight, if subdued or even drowned by the sound of innumerable screaming infants.

Either way, what it doesn’t conjure up is wistful dreamy food delights. At best, Villandry, but otherwise drab hospital food or cold coffee while fathers interminably wait for the newborn future house terror to make their grand entrance.

Be that as it may, my trust in Michael and in Tertre Roteboeuf swayed me into following him back into Great Portland Street to the (originally named) Portland restaurant.

Portland is an unassuming, simply decorated magic box. With cool naked light bulbs. And shy chefs. With amazing talent. The menu is short and simple, original but intriguing. What would you make of a pig’s head croquette? Wolfed. Or the tartare of mackerel and oyster, beetroot and wasabi? Gobbled. The Yorkshire mallard, enoki mushrooms and smoked onion tea? Devoured. Rice pudding, Seville orange and London-honey ice cream? Gulped.

Portland restaurant on Great Portland Street

The balance throughout was stunning. The rice pudding could have been, should have been, overly sweet or overly marmalady. But it was neither: gentle rice but still with a bite, sweet strong honey (must be the pollution) caught on the edge of coyness by the exact tinge of bitter sweet orange.

None of this was dainty but all of it was refined, simple, clear, clean, sharp and precise. Very fresh ingredients, often raw or barely cooked, others respectfully so. None shocking or gimmicky. Very true, earthy even, but with a touch of the ethereal nonetheless. You can feel the Noma influence here (where the chef has been), but I liked it perhaps a little more because it was more real, more accessible. Just like the restaurant, waiters and manager. Just like you wished it had all been at the Portland Hospital.

And as we left, I saw my friend Alain Ducasse (of so many Michelin stars I forget to count) get up from the next door table. We shook hands knowingly and he added, ‘That was very good wasn’t it?’

Content from our partners
Stoneweg, Icona, and CBH Strengthen Partnership with Cromwell Acquisition, Adding €4 Billion AUM to Stoneweg
Why investors should consider investing in nature
HSBC Global Private Banking: Revisiting your wealth plan as uncertainty abounds

As I said, Michael really is in the know. And I need to buy more of that Tertre Roteboeuf too.

Website

Select and enter your email address The short, sharp email newsletter from Spear’s
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network