Casual haute cuisine off Oxford Street
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Modern European
Address : 11 Woodstock St , Mayfair, London, W1C 2AE, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.neobistro.co.uk
Opening Times : Tues: 6pm-9.45pm; Wed-Fri: 12.15pm–2.30pm, 6pm–9.45pm; Sat: 5pm-9.45pm
Closest Tube : Bond Street
The last decade in London has been a very exciting period for haute cuisine, which has seen the city's top restaurants toned down and made casual to the point where many Michelin-starred eateries would be unrecognisable to yesterday's critics. But we were still surprised to see a bistro cut from the same Hackney cloth as Brawn, Lyle's or Pidgin make the move to the W1 postcode. When you consider the chefs behind it: Alex Harper of London's first and only Michelin-starred gastropub The Harwood Arms with Mark Jarvis of Anglo, it begins to make since.
Located a fork's throw away from Oxford Street, Neo Bistro runs the gamut of hipster signifiers. The dining room favours simplicity. Where the walls aren't worn exposed brick they're whitewashed. Dark wooden floors play off the dark wooden bartop and stools, which are a good bet if you're keen to grab a single glass of wine or something stronger - the selections are chalked up on the blackboard behind. Exposed filament lightbulbs descend from the ceiling. It's all very austere, which helps to rivet the attention on the food.
We opted for the tasting menu and weren't disappointed - particularly when taken in tandem with the low-intervention wines paired by our charming German sommelier Nadine. The meal lifted off with house-made charcuterie (venison chorizo and cured pork) alongside freshly baked bread and seaweed butter, which went elegantly with a Basque cider. Cornish crab with courgette was as beautiful as it was toothsome, the opaline shards of crustacean playing amongst courgette puree and confit lemon.
Smoked magret duck nestled nicely amongst beetroot and cherries, and the Cornish turbot with white anchovies was also rather lovely, but we were quite smitten by the Anjou pigeon served with green strawberries. The poultry was perfectly pink (in its breast, confit leg and croquette iterations) and smattered with lentils and a rich, saline sauce that played off the tart berries. We were similarly besotted with the Herdwick lamb which found a pleasant if unconventional partner in smoked eel. To wrap it up we enjoyed a simple yet powerfully flavoured bowl of chocolate and malt.
Neo Bistro is just what it says on the tin - a bistro in the hip east-city cast that you might find in Paris's 11th or London's Hackney, transplanted to the heart of Mayfair.