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Test Driving Apricity - Chantelle Nicholson finds a home in Mayfair

roomThe upstairs room looks beautiful - we love this stripped-back look. 

What can you tell us about Apricity?

This is the new restaurant by chef-owner Chantelle Nicholson. She's best known for Tredwells, where she launched the restaurant with Marcus Wareing and then really made it something of her own.

Over the years, she's gained more and more plaudits for her cooking which champions vegetables while having a strong focus on sustainability and no waste. That was something that really came to the fore in her recent Hackney pop-up All's Well, and this Mayfair restaurant feels like the next step from that.

Much of the team remains from before, both from Tredwells and All's Well (something that's always a good sign of quality), including Head Chef  Eve Seemann. 

Where is it?

It's right in the middle of Mayfair on Duke Street, just a couple of minutes walk from Selfridges or Bond Street Station. 

The restaurant took over what used to be a shop but has been completely transformed inside. The walls have been stripped back upstairs to reveal the plasterwork and there's a real sense of shabby chic done extremely well. The no-waste attitude is showcased throughout - some of the tables used to be at Tramshed in Shoreditch while the chairs upstairs are created from recycled coke bottles. It's one of the best looking new restaurants we've seen recently so it's particularly impressive that it was achieved with this low/no waste approach. 

Where's good for a drink nearby? 

If you're meeting someone for a drink before or after, good recommendations nearby are the bar at The Beaumont or it's a short walk to the Claridge's Bar if you're really treating yourself. 

roomThe kitchen downstairs with the chef's table. Note the wall covering to the left and in front of the kitchen - that's actually created from skirting boards that used to be in the previous shop upstairs. 

Where should we sit?

Sit by the window if you can, but really anywhere is good. There's a small space for outside seating and tables can be moved together for larger groups. Downstairs, you'll find the open kitchen and the chef's table which is perfect for larger groups (and there's a private dining room down there too). 

What about the food?

There is a strong focus on vegetables and low/no waste, but that's just scratching the surface of what's on the menu. There's a real sense of something unique about the cooking here. Everything looks absolutely beautiful as it hits the table, and the menu is filled with winners. The dishes will adapt with the seasons, but you'll also find a few classics that they've been developing over the years, like the mushroom dish and the "chouxnut", both of which you'll see below. 

It all kicks off with snacks and you should definitely order the oat and fennel cracker with wasted dip (that was aubergine on our visit) and the Flor sourdough/porridge bread combo (you'll need that bread to mop up as much as you can). 

There is one thing we will say upfront - the prices are a bit punchy. However, note that they are built to include the service charge upfront and there's such great attention to detail and amazing produce used here that we can see where the cost is going (not to mention that portions are generous - we left pleasantly full). Here's a taste of what we tried. 

roomLondon red butterhead lettuce salad, miso aioli, cobnut, crispy kale (£11) - cutting down through the layers, everything just fits together perfectly (the aioli is amazing). 

roomMyatt farm asparagus, watercress & onion dressing, pumpkin seed butter, slow-cooked egg (£13) - about as seasonal as it gets (the pumpkin seed butter and onion dressing work wonders).

roomSummer oyster & black pearl mushrooms, ‘XO’ sauce, Flanders wheat, wild garlic (£30). One of their signature dishes that mixes together mushrooms of different consistency, taste and texture. A real showcase of how a plant-based dish can be an absolute showstopper.

roomDevon pork belly, braised blade, Hollis Mead creamed kale, spring onions (£32). While veg-led, the menu does feature meat and fish. The pork in this dish has changed on the menu even in the past week (the braised blade in here was exceptional).

roomCull Yaw Ewe, curry-spiced chickpeas, braised leek (£34). It's worth pointing out that you can only see half of the ewe here, there's just at much hidden on the other side. We loved the curried chickpeas too. 

roomPink Fir potatoes, brown butter and wild garlic (£7). As regular readers may know, we do like a good potato dish. This can also come with smoked emulsion but the brown butter and wild garlic was phenomenal. 

roomRhubarb, cashew cream, honeycomb (£12). A fully plant-based dessert where the slightly tangy tinge to the rhubarb balanced perfectly with the honeycomb. 

roomChouxnut, Mairac apple, Alexanders, double cream (£11). Another signature dish - with the doughnut created with choux pastry making it very delicate. 

Anything else to look out for?

The dishes above are from the a la carte menu, but there's also the option of a five or seven-course tasting menu, which you can choose to have completely plant-based if you prefer.  

And drink?

Alongside a good few no/low alcohol options, we tried one of the cocktails - an excellent rhubarb & herb vodka collins (£13) - and we've heard very good things about the miso & brown sugar rum old fashioned (£14). Much attention has been put into the wine list to achieve a low/no intervention list. Bottles start at £33, which is standard for Mayfair and we were particularly taken with the Naturtrub Gruner Veltliner (£9 a glass, £49 a bottle) which was a good match for much of the menu. 

Overall thoughts

Apricity certainly features a few ideas that have become more in-vogue of late - namely a much stronger focus and variety of vegetable dishes and a strong low-waste approach. However, it also runs with all of that to deliver a menu packed with startlingly good dishes in a restaurant that is beautifully realised. It really is an excellent addition to the Mayfair scene and comes strongly recommended. 

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Apricity. Prices are correct at the time of writing.

 

More about Apricity

Where is it? 68 Duke Street, Mayfair, London W1K 6JU

Find out moreVisit their website or follow them on Instagram @apricityrestaurant.

 

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