StreetXO is the first London outpost from three Michelin-starred Spanish chef David Munoz, who runs an eponymous sister venue and conceptual fine-dining restaurant DiverXO in Madrid. StreetXO opened in Mayfair in November to offer a sit-down take on the original venue’s more informal concept, serving eccentric Spanish-Asian fusion sharing plates.
Where is it?
On Old Burlington Street off Mayfair’s Savile Row.
On street level, the entry hall is a sultry space decked out in dark, glossy tiles, warmly lit by caged light bulbs that hang from welded steel chains. After leaving my coat with the porter, I was led downstairs past a series of large, backlit x-rays of fish and human skeletons and into the main restaurant.
Inside, the restaurant is a sensory overload of Japanese-inspired neon street signs, chain mail detailing and bulbous, hand-blown light fixtures. It felt like a cross between a club, psychiatric unit and Meth lab, thanks to the straightjacket-clad chefs, thumping electronic soundtrack and bright yellow hazard tape… along with the human heart-shaped crockery sat on the bar’s shelves.
Munoz’s taste for theatricality extends to the drinks menu, with cocktails including the Liquid Madrizzzzz’s DiverXO (£13), made with jasmine, coconut shrub, lime, ginger and violet candy nectar and presented in an orb-shaped goblet the size of my head. Tasting of liquid sherbet, it fizzed pleasantly in the mouth. My companion went for the Matcha and apple Mexican “Tiradito” (£13), mixed with Mezcal, Calvados, jalapenos and worm salt – a refreshing, murky green cocktail served in a geometrically-shaped tumbler with whipped foam on top.
Some 18 sharing plates are on the menu, with a selection of four to six dishes sufficient for two. First up was the Pekinese dumpling with crunchy pig’s ear (£14.50) – a flamboyant dish served with Jackson Pollock-esque splatters of crimson sauce, a pair of deep-fried prawn dumplings and crispy offal, set atop with creamy aioli and shards of scallion. The dumpling was tender and perfectly cooked while the pig’s ear was satisfying, though very fatty. The viscous sauce, made from strawberry hoisin, cut through both with a fruitiness that balanced the dish well.
Next up was the Steamed Club Sandwich (£14.50), which featured two Chinese bao topped with chunks of suckling pig, ricotta, a fried quail’s egg and chilli mayonnaise. Though it sounds heavy, it wasn’t – the feather light ricotta equalising the pork’s brawny flavour and heightened by the piquant mayonnaise.
Then came the Saam (£14.50), a Vietnamese-style lettuce wrap of Iberian pork belly and mussels escabeche with the house sriracha served in a drip bottle and a dish of house tartar sauce. The pork was the main event – beautifully braised with the condiments adding heat and tanginess to the filling. It was difficult to eat however, with the runny sriracha streaming down my arm as I tried to keep the roll in tact.
Next was the Black Rossejat (£19.90) paella – a bowl of stewed Catalan fideos topped with ribbons of white cuttlefish, 45-day aged kimchi and deep-fried prawn legs with chive aioli. This had a heavily charred base flavour and an unusual blend of textures, from the crunchy prawn legs to the slippery cuttlefish and fideos.
After this was the Tandoori chicken wings (£8.50), grilled in a josper oven and served with drops of creamy, aromatic sauce, pickled red onion, and trout caviar brushed with katsuobushi flakes. This was my favourite dish of the night – the velvety tandoori sauce contrasted with the smokiness of the chicken while the caviar burst with rich, oily liquid.
Last up was the Prawn Suquet (£19.60), made with robata carabinero red prawns and a dumpling that soaked in a velvety coconut-base stew alongside a wafer thin prawn cracker with dollops of yellow saffron aioli. Flash cooked, the prawns paired well with the brittle cracker, which dissolved in the mouth.
Despite the ominous décor, the atmosphere inside is friendly and relaxed. The restaurant teems with staff – while I waited for my companion, I was frequently asked if I was being served or if they could explain the dining concept to me. Both waiters and kitchen staff take on a service role, with chefs engaging with diners as they prepare and garnish dishes.
An elaborate experience with exceptionally creative and expertly crafted dishes, offering bang for your buck in theatre and sensory stimulation.
Lunch Mon-Sat 12pm-3pm; dinner 6pm-12am; bar open all day from 12pm-12am.
Sharing dishes range rom £8.50-£19.90, with each plate serving two.
Cocktails from £12-£14.
15 Old Burlington Street, London W1S 3AJ; tel +44 (0) 20 3096 7555; streetxo.com