Pollen Street Social, West End

Jason Atherton seems to be in-charge of the London restaurant scene at the moment, last month he opened his third restaurant of the year, and the reviews are just getting better and better. I visited his original London eatery Pollen Street Social recently to understand why his food is so sought after.

The set lunch menu has to be one of the best value michelin-star choices on offer in London (two courses for £26, or three courses for £29.50). They don’t skimp on extras either, we enjoyed the pre-starter nibbles and the palette cleanser enormously.

On a Friday lunchtime the large west end dining room was full to the brim: jolly business lunches, family catchups and romantic couples surrounded us.

Pumpkin and Parmesan velouté was a comforting and intriguing starter served with chunks of pickled apples and pears (tangy and surprising), and brioche crumbs (seriously moreish). The meaty mosiac game terrine was a less creative recipe though the plate looked beautiful, decorated with elderberries and cobnuts.

Our mains were exquisite. I must admit I was sceptical about the chocolate and orange roast partridge but it exceeded all my expectations, one of the best main courses I have had in a while. The Red-legged partridge was cooked to perfection, amazingly tender white meat with a delightful crisp edge. Celeriac, kale and game chips (more like crisps) complete the dish. My only complaint, it arrived luke warm. My guest loved the braised Lake District lamb neck with “haggis, neeps & tatties” – a modern take on a classic British dish. It was a large portion but he seemed to have no trouble polishing it off.

We decided to try just one option from the dessert menu, opting to share passion fruit sorbet with vanilla sable, meringue and coriander foam. Taste wise it had a strong fruity flavour but was the least exciting of the courses. We were more impressed by the super thin shards of sweet meringue.

Pollen Street used to be a dingy, dark, damp alleyway but never again will it be seen that way. Jason Atherton turns every site he touches to gold and from now on Pollen Street will be forever glorified by his fine cuisine.

More information and book here: www.pollenstreetsocial.com