Oct 12 2012

Pollen Street Social


Pollen Street Social has been winning praise ever since it opened in April 2011, and in 2012 it was awarded 1 Michelin star, and the restaurant has been ranked at number eight in The Good Food Guide’s Top 50 Restaurants 2012 and was also named the guide’s Best New Entry. It was deemed London's best new fine dining restaurant in the Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards 2011 and won New Restaurant of the Year at the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards 2012, and recently it has also been named the 84th best restaurant in the world in the St Pelligrino restaurant awards. The main chef at Pollen Street Social, Jason Atherton, is the reason behind the huge success, he was the first British chef to complete a stage at Spain’s famous ElBulli restaurant (restaurant that has been named the world’s best for many years) and afterwards he was the main chef at Gordon Ramsey’s Maze before he left and set up Pollen Street Social. A lot of people say a big difference between your typical Michelin style restaurant and Pollen Street Social is how relaxed the place is and does not resemble your typical sophisticated (and maybe stiff) Michelin star restaurant, and I tend to agree, the atmosphere is relaxed, you can sit by the bar and drink cocktails and eat tapas size dishes or you can sit in the restaurant but it will be buzzing with people chatting around you and being relaxed. That is also apparently the reason why it is called “social” (it is located on Pollen Street hence that bit in the name), as it is meant to be relaxing and chilled out. The décor is minimal, but pleasant with interesting artwork.

I went to Pollen Social on a Wednesday night with my friend Seabass for a catch up dinner. The thing that Seabass very much liked about the restaurant, and I have to agree, is the amount of freebies they gave you. When we arrived they gave us olives, bread with some wonderful dip for the bread, which was so nice I ate way too much and did not leave enough for Seabass. After our meal, we had a small free desert mouse, followed by a small and delicious French tart, canelé that has a soft and tender custard centre and a dark, thick caramelised crust, and is absolutely my favourite cake in the world. And as if that was not enough they then brought you this large chest full of petits fours (small chocolate and cakes given at the end of the meal), put it on the table and you could chose from so many different types including absolutely stunning macaroons. So even if you don’t order a desert, they will give you so many sweet things for free you will feel like you have had one by the end of the meal. For my starter I ordered a salmon dish (I can’t remember the actual name of it), which had little edible flowers decorating it, onions and a lovely sauce. The dish looked beautiful, the scattered around flowers were pretty and colourful, and the salmon was slightly seared so you could see the uncooked middle, very pretty how they achieved it. Cooked salmon can sometimes be a bit dull but they did their best to make it much nicer, however it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me, considering the fact I can hardly remember this dish even though I did not have it that long ago (and trust me I do remember some meals from 2 years ago). Seabass had Orkney sea scallop sashimi 'Trip to Japan 2012' that had braised turnip, scallop sashimi, sea urchin, horseradish snow, baby gem wasabi, pickled ginger and mooli (white radish), and he said the scallops were amazing. For the main course I ordered “Roasted sea bass, celeriac, celery, truffle sauce, celeriac crumble”, just because I thought it was funny to eat a sea bass when with Seabass, and another reasons for choosing this was because recently I had eaten amazing celeriac at Noma pop up in Claridges and had fallen in love with celeriac, but unfortunately the celeriac at Pollen Street Social was not half as nicely prepared as the celeriac in Noma. The sea bass was ok, but the whole thing I found slightly boring and unexciting. Seabass had the “Best end of salt marsh lamb, braised shoulder with lamb floss, chervil root, black cabbage, truffle purée”, and he liked it, but was less impressed with the dish than with his scallops. I tried some of the meat and it was nice. After the meal Seabass was not content with all the freebies he got and he also ordered a desert, the “70% Chocolate ganache, banana ice cream, sesame crumble, Pedro Ximenez, chocolate coral” because he was so intrigued by the Pedro Ximenez part and even asked the waitress what it was (he was asking the waitress so many silly questions and she responded so nicely and with such charm this showed great service). If you like Seabass are wondering what Pedro Ximenez is, it is a type of sherry. Seabass half liked the desert, but I personally did like it very much and loved the different texture and taste elements in the dish, very nice.

Pollen Street Social is one of those restaurants, where amazing and interesting ingredients are chosen, combinations are cool, some you have not had before, and the presentation of the dishes is so impressive even if you are not a food blogger, it makes you get out your Iphones and take a picture of the dishes, but sometimes the actual taste does not live up to what the eyes see. All the food at Pollen Street Social was beautiful when it arrived, but there was not one dish that I had that is stuck in my memory and that I think back and think wow, that was incredible, which I do get with so many other restaurants. 

Date: 10/ 10/ 12

Price for 2 including a glass of wine and service charge: £140

Location: Mayfair

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Maija rated: 



Pollen Street Social
8 Pollen Street W1S 1NQ
United Kingdom
Pollen Street Social Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4