TT checks out a hotel restaurant in Marylebone with a traditional British setting.
Never judge a book by its cover. Or in this case judge a restaurant by its name. Reform Social and Grill may have the ring of revolution to it but the restaurant of Mandeville Hotel in Marylebone has quite a traditional setting. Inspired by the classic gentlemen's clubs it is done up in a heritage look jazzed up with floral armchairs that would not go amiss in a country house.
We turned up as guests of the restaurant on a wintry weekdays evening and there was already a pleasant buzz in the bar area. Reform offers a traditional British menu with classics such as fish and chips and steak though occasionally there are interesting variations with dishes such as treacle cured salmon and smoked salmon scotched eggs.
The service staff said that the smoked salmon scotched eggs (£8.50) were the chef's specialty so I simply could not pass on that. I am not usually a fan of scotch eggs as I find the deep fried combination of pork and egg rather overwhelming. The salmon however provided a lighter touch and offered a silky finish to the egg and the egg yolk were on the right side of runny. The accompanying crisps of salmon skin were a rather clever spin on the usual pork crackling and were melt on the tongue heavenly.
My friend ordered the duck leg pressing (£7.50) and was just as delighted with his choice. The dish was accompanied by a duck liver mousse and little bits of orange which served to cut across the richness of the meat and liver mixture beautifully.
For mains, my friend had the lobster burger (£18) with Welsh rarebit and lobster mayonnaise , again on the service staff's recommendation while I played safe and had the sirloin steak. The lobster came in a patty coated in a tempura like batter but the texture was crumbly like fish and did not have the signature sweetness of lobster flesh.
I fared better with my sirloin steak (£24.50). The steak came with one large mushroom. I asked for the steak to be cooked medium rare and it was succulent while the mushroom provided a welcome earthy contrast. One can order peppercorn, bearnaise or smoked garlic sauce to go with the steak but really the steak was good enough on its own. We balanced up all that meat with a side order of chargrilled marrow in chilli butter. The marrow was the perfect blank canvass for the chilli butter and was all smoky perfection.
The portions were generous and we were stuffed but I find it difficult to say no to a pud! What better way to end a meal than to have to have the ultimate autumn pud, the apple crumble (£6.50). The sweet apple filling was beautifully set off by the crunchy topping which I washed down with a coffee.
I find Reform to be at its best with the classics. If you are next in Marylebone and fancy something traditional this is the place for you.
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