As the stay of choice for royals and rock stars when they’re in town — proven by the paparazzi camped outside on the night of our review — The May Fair has it all (read our full write-up here). And now it has Quince. As if the hip hotel needed more pulling power! Accessed via a separate door to the left of the hotel’s main entrance, Quince is an exercise in Middle-Eastern glamour; blood-red banquettes, chocolate-brown leather chairs, olive-green tables, Ivy-esque tiled walls and a buzzing open kitchen set behind see-through glass pillars set the tone.
The food itself is courtesy of Silvena Rowe, who The May Fair hired back in 2010 to oversee the new launch. And she’s done a fine job with a menu of sharing plates inspired by Turkey, Syria and the Levant — mixed in with a few surprises. We went with the Borek ‘cigars’ — succulent, slowly-cooked lamb shank and baby spinach wrapped in crunchy filo pastry — crispy fried baby squid — served with Aleppo chilli, cumin and cardamom and crusted with aioli — and the veal surf and surf, made up of ground veal and prawn and sweet red pepper harissa. All were sweet, heady successes. Mains, meanwhile, were lamb and beef skewers — ground lamb and beef blended with Ottoman spices, pistachio and spinach tzatziki — and glazed belly of pork with blueberry and coriander molasses. Advised to supplement our mains with side dishes (though we needed little encouragement), we went with a singular rice pilaf with steamed wild blueberries, pistachios and lemon balm. Which, truth be told, could have been eaten solo as a snack and still satisfied. A gorgeous, spicy meal that felt as exotic as the decadent dining room in which it was eaten.
As it stands, the crowd looks to be predominantly hotel guests (suited, booted and dressed-to-the-nines). But if our evening is anything to go by (and it is), it won’t be long before the passing trade outside gets a whiff of Silvena’s brilliant-executed concept. A gold star from Hg2 — and perhaps another for The May Fair in time.
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