Test Driving Bellamy's in Mayfair - a classic that feels like it's been looking after Londoners forever

diningroomThe back of the dining room - the front of it looks out on to Bruton Place.

So what do we need to know about Bellamy's?

This classic Mayfair restaurant is celebrating its 15th birthday this year. A place of which AA Gill once wrote "You could eat here once a week for the rest of your life", it's the kind of restaurant where you might find the Queen at the next table. Running the show is Gavin Rankin who used to front Caviar Kaspia in the 80s before becoming MD at Annabel's. When Mark Birley sold Annabel's to Richard Caring, Rankin crossed Berkeley Square to open Bellamy's in 2004.

Where is it?

You'll find it tucked away in Bruton Place, just along from The Guinea. It's pretty much equidistant from both Green Park and Oxford Circus tube stations.

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

Where to meet them is a no-brainer. Head to The Guinea, just further down the street, and one of the best pubs in the area (and make a mental note to return for a steak).

But we really do think you should make sure you leave enough time for a drink in the bar at Bellamy's before you head in for your meal. The list there has classic cocktails at £12 each which, for the quality of my vodka martini was a steal in this part of town (we also had a Sidecar which was excellent). Maybe end the night here too...

martiniOne of the best martinis in London and we have tried a LOT.

It sounds pretty posh. Is it?

Yes and no. There are tablecloths, an old school feel and plenty of jackets being worn during dinner - but there's still quite a relaxed, buzzy feel. 

Our dinner on a Tuesday night saw the dining room nearly fully booked. Many diners were clearly regulars and we saw plenty of families with at least three generations dining. That said, while you can go crazy with the caviar section, a bargain table d'hote appeals, as Gavin says on their website, "both to the cautious young and to the prudent mature who, as in all the best parties, are happily united here."

It felt like a very welcoming place.

What kind of food is it?

They describe their dishes as "drawn from the Franco-Belgian brasserie tradition". The menu's about as far away from the modern small plates movement as you could imagine, being split into entrees, a fish section, a section devoted to Caviar (well this IS Mayfair) mains and sides. There's also a weekly-changing table d'hote which is pretty good value for Mayfair at £25 for two courses.

During the day, there's an oyster and sandwich bar with toasted open sandwiches and rarebits on offer in addition to the oysters.

Here's what we had during our evening visit:

fishfingersBellamy's Fish Fingers (£10.50) - just the way we want to start a dinner and the warm vinaigrette chef Stéphane Pacoud made to go on the salad was off the scale delicious.

lobsterIced lobster souffle (£14.50) - topped with aspic and served with melba toast, this homage to the sixties was divine (and very generous). Apparently the method of making it is chef Stepane's highly prized secret - he won't tell anyone else how.

tartareSteak tartare with pommes pont neuf (£22) - a very well seasoned tartare served with jenga-style chips that were perfectly cooked (and more toast onthe side if you need it).

vealPicatta of veal with white truffle oil (£28) which came with the most beautiful pommes puree.

ilesÎle flottante (£8.50) - a classic dessert, beautifully executed.

cheeseFinishing up with a French cheese plate (£12) - about the perfectly sized selection of all strengths for us. All excellent, although the garlic and pepper cheese (about 2 o'clock on the plate above) might have defeated us.

What about vegetarians?

While I'm sure the chef would sort you out with something lovely, were you to ask, there's not much in the way of exclusively vegetarian dishes on this menu.

What's the wine list like?

The all-French wine list reflects Gavin's fondness for wine and delight he gets from seeking out a great wine at a good price. The 2015 Rully he recommended to us Domaine Michel Briday was about mid-range at £75 (there are only two bottles under £40 on there) but was utterly wonderful.

Overall thoughts

Don't be intimidated by the thought of Bellamy's - think of this as the next step up from Zedel in terms of your classic old school brasserie experience. Let Gavin, Manager Luigi and the rest of the team cosset you whilst feeding you some of the loveliest comfort food dishes in town. And any meal which ends with a bowl of Minstrels is a winner in our book. 


More about Bellamy's

Where is it? 18 Bruton Pl, Mayfair, London W1J 6LY

Find out more about Bellamy's

Book at table at Bellamy's

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