Guest Post By Jonathan Barrett
Approaching the restaurant, I was apprehensive, tucked down a small street away from the main roads of Oxford Circus and Regent Street – it certainly is unexpected, but don`t let that fool you – This restaurant is a hidden gem.
The inside is decked head to toe with retro-reminders; table football, mirror balls, pink neon lights on the ceiling, 60`s style booths – everything in the restaurant helps to transport you back to a more colourful time. Too many restaurants have fixated on being contemporary and serious, it was extremely nice to be somewhere so relaxed, fun and refreshing.
The menu is concise, but in no way is that a negative – I often think that an extensive menu equals lots of food poorly produced. All the food that I ate was of a fantastic standard; fresh and innovative, with a contemporary twist. I am a big fan of Coronation Chicken (I know it`s not for everyone, but I love it) so decided to have it for my starter; my expectations were high. Retro Feast London completely outdid themselves with one of the best I have ever tasted. Beautifully presented, sprinkled with caramelized almonds, it is a must-have. My partner had the Crab on Toast for which there wasn`t a crumb left over and which she claimed she would eat daily if she could.
The biggest surprise though was definitely the Cheese & Pineapple – you would assume that such a simple dish would be difficult to make memorable – you would be wrong. Fresh cubes of pineapple with toasted coriander seed compliments the fried goats cheese balls that literally melt in your mouth; just thinking about it makes me hungry!
If you do get a chance to try some of Retro Feast`s cocktails, and I recommend you do, be sure to ask for a Rhubarb & Custard – an intriguing cocktail that you won`t be able to pinpoint whether it`s sour or sweet as it constantly changes. I also recommend the Thyme for Collins, a refreshing spin on a Tom Collins presented in a glass jar with an actual piece of thyme popping out the top.
For our mains we had Potato Dumplings and Fish Fingers – and as with the first course and cocktails – they were beautifully presented and with had a retro-twist. The Potato Dumplings were in a rich mushroom and cheese sauce and were incredibly filling, I almost couldn`t finish them – but it was too good to leave! The Fish Fingers were anything but Birdseye! Flakey fish in light batter accompanied with tartar sauce and fresh mushy peas, simple yet fantastic, a modern classic.
Feeling very full, I was tempted to not have a desert but I am glad I ignored that temptation. The Eton Mess was the perfect pallet cleanser, and the perfect end to a meal; strawberries, raspberries, cream and meringue – what more could you ask for!
One of the most appealing qualities of Retro Feast London has to be value for money; Considering the location, in Mayfair, you would expect the food prices to be representative of the area but they are far more reasonable, approximately £25 a head for 3 courses (excluding drinks), and my partner and I couldn`t eat another bite we were so full! The staff were extremely friendly and welcoming, and offered advice on what to order, which was useful if (like me) you are indecisive. The food was delicious and delicate yet filling, and the cocktails were superb.
Retro Feast is a truly a refreshing change of pace from the hustle and bustle of London life; and as an added bonus those who eat at the restaurant can enter the infamous club below (Embassy) for free, saving £20. But be quick, although the club isn`t going to close anytime soon, Retro Feast is only open for another 6 months before it pops up somewhere else! Miss it and you will definitely miss out.
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