French chef Eric Chavot opened his Mayfair brasserie in March last year, and only six months later it was awarded a Michelin star.
It's located on Conduit Street in a space belonging to the adjoining Westbury hotel (guests of the property take breakfast here, but it operates separately).
Chavot previously worked in establishments such as Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons (to read a review, click here), Pierre Koffman's La Tante Claire, and the restaurant at the Hyde Park hotel under Marco Pierre White, before going solo.
He earned Michelin stars at both Interlude de Chavot on Charlotte Street and Chavot on Fulham Road, then held two stars as head chef at the Capital restaurant in Knightsbridge for a decade.
An elegant, high-ceilinged room that feels warm and welcoming from the moment you are greeted and have your coat taken at the reception desk inside the door.
Jaunty music creates a relaxed atmosphere, and there was a lively buzz on the Friday night I dined, aided by the partially open kitchen.
The space features attractive period details such as ornate plasterwork and an intricate mosaic floor (the detail of which is replicated on the menu). The look is part Mayfair grandeur, part down-to-earth Parisian brasserie — think lavish chandeliers, deep red leather banquettes, decently spaced tables dressed simply in white linen runners, and specials on the blackboard.
Delicious, and not unreasonably priced for an upmarket restaurant in this part of town.
Chavot sources many of his ingredients from artisan producers in the UK, Ireland and France, and dishes include the likes of snails, scallop ceviche and rock oysters to start, and duck a l'orange, choucroute garnie and daube de boeuf Provençal for mains.
On a previous visit here I began with the deep-fried soft shell crab with whipped aioli (£12.50). Chavot recommends you get stuck in and pull it apart with your fingers, dunking it in the sauce — the fantastically fresh fish and light, crispy batter virtually fell apart in my hands before melting on the tongue.
This time I went for the grilled mackerel and potato salad (£11.50). The fish was again perfectly cooked and went nicely with the earthy potatoes and a finely balanced sauce made of mustard, brown sugar, cream and cucumber. Substantial portion, too.
My companion went for the beef carpaccio with pickled mushrooms (£12.50) and praised both its presentation and flavour combinations.
For my main, I plumped for the beef ribeye with béarnaise sauce (£26). I asked for it medium and it did come out rarer than that but it was a beautifully tender piece of meat so I certainly didn't mind. It was accompanied by bone marrow well seasoned with garlic and parsley, and my side of mash was as light as whipped cream.
My companion reported his ricotta and parmesan gnocchi (£17.50) to be delicate with a wonderful texture and an excellent sauce.
To finish I had the chocolate-pistachio pot de crème (£8), a nice mixture of layered textures but I would have liked a richer chocolate kick.
The wine list is chiefly made up of French options, but we also found the 2011 Rioja Crianza Hacienda Grimon a fine accompaniment to our meal.
The service was spot on – friendly and full of good humour, and at the same time extremely professional.
An attractive setting, welcoming service and excellent food made for a highly enjoyable evening. Recommended both for entertaining clients or an evening with loved ones.
- OPENING HOURS Mon-Fri 1200-1430, 1800-2230; Sat 1230-1430, 1800-2230; Sun 1230-2100.
- CONTACT Brasserie Chavot, 41 Conduit Street; tel +44 (0)20 7183 6425; brasseriechavot.com