A little more under the radar than some of its more famous siblings in the Caprice Holdings family, 34 Mayfair, just off Grosvenor Square is far enough away from the maddening crowds of Oxford Street to feel off the beaten track. A hidden gem for brunch aficionados like myself. (I mean they do say ‘eat breakfast like a king’ right? But my regal appetite rarely kicks in much before late morning. Hello brunch o’clock.) With the gentleman’s club vibe an ideal setting for a little celebratory treat with my Dad. Father’s Day, since you asked.
With an Upper East Side mood and Deco-esque style, 34 Mayfair is fancy but not stuffy. Light pouring through its white painted shutters and a well heeled crowd filling the venue, when we arrived at midday on a Sunday. A good selection of newspapers, with multiple copies of my favourite colour supplements on offer, caught my eye at reception, as did the polished oak parquet of the corridor-like interior leading the way to our table. Laid with white linen and antique silverware a fresh bread basket was promptly served. With options including an insanely good banana cake cunningly disguised as soda bread – with a rolled oat topping and crunchy brown sugar crust. Which I enjoyed while Dad was treated to a chilled glass of bubbly. Disappointingly not served in the restaurant’s exclusive ‘Kate Moss Coupe’.
Modelled on 34 regular Mossy’s left breast and created in honour of her 40th birthday the ‘Kate Moss Coupe’ was a clever PR story that created a big fizz back in 2015. An homage to the history of the original Champagne coupe – which was apparently shaped around Marie Antoinette’s bosom. But enough about boobs. Let’s talk flowers. As when we visited 34 the stunt du jour was a Chelsea Flower Show installation of dreams. With window boxes and flowers created by Philippa Craddock cascading around the entrance in vibrant hues. An instagram moment that had been trending on all the most stylish feeds. * doffs cap to the marketing team *
Back in the restaurant, with views across the restaurant or open plan kitchen there’s a buzzy atmosphere as Head Chef Harvey Ayliffe’s team work their magic with the bespoke Argentine parrilla grill. Rustling up a modern, seasonal menu with international influences. The US style brunch offering at 34 pretty much caters to all tastes and appetites, from sweet and savoury, available in both smaller and larger sizes, so you can choose whether to have them as a starter or a main.
Dad went for a brunch classic – rich buttery eggs, wedges of lemon on the side to squeeze over the oak smoked salmon. I tried a brunch wild card – the lobster and shrimp ‘nasi goring’. A gently spiced rice dish with generous pieces of sweet lobster and an unusual twist of nonconformist flavours such as peas and coriander.
Feeling like it would be rude not to try the legendary 34 Mayfair truffled lobster mac, we ordered a small portion as ‘a little taster’. With a creamy and cheesy sauce, again starring substantial chunks of lobster. Generous truffle shavings covering the top like a layer of autumn leaves. My mouth salivates at the thought of it. And note that even one small portion is more than enough for two. Thankfully, 34 Mayfair’s impeccable service extends to doggie bags. Foil containers and smartly branded paper bags discreetly handed over with our lobster left-overs. Shameless, I know. But no regrets when I got to enjoy round two with ‘him indoors’ later.
No sign of left-overs with the waffles served with brûléed banana, toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream though. Considerately served in modest pieces for sharing. Rounded off with a cappuccino sprinkled with fine chocolate flakes. Simple little touches like this putting 34 right up there when it comes to luxe brunching.
34 Grosvenor Square Entrance on South Audley Street