Art meets fine dining in the middle of Hyde Park
Category : Bar, Restaurant
| Cuisine : Modern European
Opening Times : Tues-Thurs 9am-6pm, Fri-Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 9am-6pm
Closest Tube : Lancaster Gate
The Magazine, simply put, is one of a kind. Only a city of London‘s magnitude could boast such a restaurant, designed by world renowned architect Zaha Hadid and nestled in one of the most celebrated corners of one of Britain‘s most famous parks. The Magazine is a testament to the richness and diversity of our city, but it‘s also a love letter to the avant-garde. Here‘s how:
When you first walk in from Hyde Park into The Magazine‘s dining room you feel as if you are entering the interior of a colossal white lily; a reflection, one could suppose, of all of the flora in the surrounding environs. The structure, which abuts the 1805 gunpowder store in which the Serpentine Sackler Gallery resides, is a masterclass in contemporary design. Monochromatically white, the space-age roof is punctuated occasionally by curvilinear columns rising like stamen to the ceiling, where skylights let in brilliant shafts of sunlight. The airiness of the room is second-to-none, in the afternoon it wells up with daylight, the floor-to-ceiling windows letting in the greenery of the park. The design takes on an otherworldly life of its own as husband and wife DJ duo Maxology imbue the room with glacial beats.
Whilst enjoying a preprandial cocktail at the bar it‘s impossible not to notice the central feature of the restaurant, the kitchen. Its appearance wouldn‘t be out of place in a Ridley Scott movie. The open-plan scheme instils the setting with an added level of theatre and drama, something which comes through in the dishes that they‘re producing. Head chef Emmanuel Eger previously worked as sous chef at the Dorchester Grill and has created a menu of European food characterised by bold, well-balanced flavours.
During our meal we opted for the tasting menu. It‘s been recently refitted so as to be more sharing-oriented, encouraging a more relaxed, entertaining evening. A large selection of maki sushi was brought to the table in two separate courses. It was of such impeccable quality and execution that we found it competitive with London‘s most popular Japanese restaurants. Our favourites were the volcano roll, flash fried for a crispy exterior and dressed with a teriyaki sauce, and the surf ‘n turf roll, which was impregnated with sweet lobster flesh and enwreathed in steak carpaccio. The flavour combinations were edgy, interesting and a little bit loud; it‘s food that would lend itself to a fun evening out.
Sushi was followed by a ceviche-style sashimi. Thick cuts of hamachi were served doused in an astringent ponzu sauce, with punctuations of texture from a rhubarb and scallop crisp. Sharp, delicious and healthy, it was the kind of dish that you wish you could eat every day. We were then brought spartan looking bowls with little nests of garden peas, yoghurt and nasturtium interspersed. We were a bit bemused until we were given miniature milk bottles with chilled pea soup. It was the perfect palate cleanser and a great breather course.
For our mains we split the halibut with yuzu and garden peas and the Rhug Estate lamb with miso potato risotto and wild garlic. The halibut was simultaneously creamy and light, its opalescent flakes calving off into the sauce, while the lamb was rich and fragrant, pairing divinely with a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. By the time dessert arrived, we were incredibly full, but the desserts were fruit-oriented and provided the sugary blast necessary to stave off our impending food comas.