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The ground floor consists of a lively brasserie (Hush ground) and upstairs is split between a cocktail bar and restaurant (Hush up). To describe the interior as predominantly grey makes it sound rather austere, but the lighting is warm and the overall atmosphere is undeniably classy. I resisted the urge to order a martini, 'shaken and not stirred' and enjoyed a long gin and tonic served by Eric whose name belied his swarthy, good looks and heavy French accent.
Hush is populated mainly by beautiful, young people being studiously beautiful and young (present company excluded). It's the sort of place where you could easily become obsessed with spotting a celeb among the well heeled clientele. There is no raucous laughter or obtrusive music here and the hum of conversation drifted over from the bar as we examined the menu. The food is described as modern French cuisine and the starters all hover around the £10 mark.
The meal started promisingly with a deliciously creamy complimentary pre-starter of celeriac and foie gras soup. (no complaints from me but this is not a restaurant for goose lovers, as foie gras features both as a starter and a main course option). With whetted appetite, I sliced into perfectly fried scallops with duck confit salad and bordelaise sauce while my partner enjoyed a clean, fresh parsley soup, garnished with grated truffles and including two lurking quails eggs. Both starters were light and beautifully presented.
For his main course, my partner took Eric up on his recommendation of the lamb pesile with pomme salardaise and tomato jus (£19). I always like to solicit the advice of waiters and it was refreshing to see someone genuinely enthuse about a dish rather than automatically rattling off a selection. And he enthused with good reason. The lamb was so tender it practically fell off the bone, there was no shortage of rich, dark gravy and the side orders of green beans and potato dauphinoise were a good accompaniment.
Meanwhile, I tucked into fillet of beef with foie gras and madeira jus (£20). This combination lived up to expectations - the foie gras and beef are perfect partners and there was no stinting on the servings.
After such a glut of good rich food, I was hoping for a light, refreshing pudding but to no avail. I chose the lightest option (mocha panacotta with caramel rum sauce) and my partner, predictably, the heaviest (chocolate fondant with white chocolate ice cream) both at £6.50. However, before they arrived my need for something zesty was satisfied by our second complimentary appetiser - a scoop of pineapple sorbet in strawberry tea.
My palette cleansed, the panacotta slipped down and I even cajoled a spoonful of chocolate fondant which had collapsed into a warm, chocolate goo as soon as it was tackled with a fork. Both puddings were stunningly presented, my panacotta speared with two shards of wafer which gave it a galleon-like appearance.
The wine list is impressive including a couple of ros‚ and dessert wines, plenty by the glass and an extensive list of champagnes starting at £35 and rising to £125 for a Dom Perignon (don't forget - we are in the heart of Mayfair and Sotheby's is a mere amble away). We enjoyed a very good bottle of Côtes du Rhone Guigal '97 at £25 which met my basic criteria for all good red wines being both smooth and full-bodied.
By the time we left, every table upstairs was occupied and the brasserie was similarly full - not bad for a Tuesday night in a new restuarant - but I'm not surprised that Hush hasn't keep quiet for long.
Holly Acland - February 2000
8 Lancashire Court
London W1Y 9AD
Tel: 0207 659 1500
Hush up opening times: Mon - Sat 12pm - 3pm; 6.30pm - 10.30pm
Hush ground opening times: Mon - Sat 10am - 10.30 pm
Sunday opening hours on the ground floor: 10am - 6pm (1st floor closed)
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