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Elegant dining in Marble Arch - our Sixtyone Test Drive

sixtyone-mainWhat do I need to know about Sixtyone?

The chef in charge is Arnaud Stevens who trained at City Rhodes and has worked under chefs ranging from Pierre Koffmann to Richard Corrigan.

Where is it?

The restaurant is attached (but not so as you would know it) to the Montcalm Hotel just behind Marble Arch.

Where should I meet friends for a drink first?

This part of town's had a bit of a food and drink renaissance of late so you have plenty of choice. Vinoteca and Lockhart - both on Seymour Place just round the corner spring to mind.

Where's the best place to sit?

The elegant dining room is split into tables of two by the windows and along one wall and then larger tables for groups along the centre. The window tables seemed the best, although the room was busy enough for a Tuesday evening when we visited with groups of what looked to be bankers in the central tables.

And what should we eat?

To be frank, the tasting menu of six courses for £45 sounds like an absolute bargain in this part of town, but we were a little rushed the night we went and so went a la carte, choosing a few of the signature dishes to be found on the tasting menu.

From the moment their house churned butter, whipped up with cream and sprinkled with fleur de sel turned up with a super basket of bread it was clear that the chef is pushing to stand out.

Dishes worthy of mention included the rabbit with salsify and bolognaise with wafer thin salsify in place of pasta and ground almonds taking the place of Parmesan. The mussels with bread soup and suckling pork belly came with white chocolate melting into the soup. Sounds odd, but was an inspired taste pairing and reason to come here alone. The swiss chard gratin that accompanied the beef cheek was a very good side and - for dessert - the banoffee parfait which came rolled in biscuit with crumble and caramel popcorn was the winner.

And what about drinks?

There is an extensive wine list here - although if you come at the beginning of the week for BYO Mondays you can bring your own - with plenty to choose from by the glass. We started with a glass of sparkling Vouvray from the Loire Valley and had matched glasses with each course after that. If you want to match wines to the tasting menu, that'll add an extra £30 to your lunch or dinner.

Overall thoughts.

This lovely bright dining room and engaged staff (you might recognise the Maitre d' Artan from Gordon Ramsay at Claridges) complement Arnaud's cooking nicely. There are a few glitches - having our main course plates swapped for our starters within seconds was something that should have been avoided and some dishes could have been a little warmer (perhaps the kitchen is a distance from the restaurant). But it's clear that they're already creating a loyal fanbase of customers and the cooking here certainly merits a wider audience. 

Sixtyone restaurant is at 61 Upper Berkeley Street, London, W1H 7PP. Find out more about Sixtyone.

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Prices were correct at time of writing. Hot Dinners ate as guests of Sixtyone restaurant.