RESTAURANT REVIEW: Hunter 486 @ The Arch, London7th December 2015
Hunter 486 is situated within the Arch Hotel (we sneaked a peak at one of their delightful, bright and cosy rooms before we were seated- always a good sign to see a Bang & Olufsen phone in a bathroom).
486 being the original dialling code for the area that the hotel appears to show much loyalty to via adorning walls in artistic photographs of local architecture, and even a one off piece of art by Vincent Poole concocted from the names of local streets, shops and galleries.
There are three elements to Hunter 486; the bar, the champagne lounge (with leather booths, curtained for privacy), and the main restaurant, with an open kitchen on view, equipped with stone oven, hanging pots from the ceiling, and the chefs are pretty cute to boot too, which surely is the best thing about an open kitchen from a diner’s perspective, right?
Some delightful options for tidbits / pre-starters are available, us opting for the Quail Scotch Eggs (£3), beautifully presented with trickling sunny yolks next to a pot of crunchy teeny cubed vegetable piccalilli. The scotch eggs deep-fried in a fine golden batter, encasing a wonderfully intense herby pork sausage, and perfectly cooked lovely, runny, quail’s egg (fab with the piquant piccalilli). This was an absolute peach of a dish, I feel it should feature as a proper starter option, somehow.
Along with the eggs we tried some Homemade Crisps (£3), which were channelling an epic roast dinner via flavours coming from lemon and sage. Also at the table were a couple of homemade breads; the brown being nutty and sweet, slightly heavy for me – but the breadwinner of the plate being a crusty fluffy olive bread, which makes some seriously charming chemistry with mopping up of the scotch egg yolk.
Never one to ignore scallops on the menu, it was medleyed with scorched chunks of chorizo and silky smooth strips of roast red pepper, altogether creating a flavourful din atop a pale green rocket salad (£12.50). Aesthetically the plate is perfection, which matches the cooking of the scallops.
However, rivalling the scallops’ splendour, a colourful and fragrant Heritage Beetroot & Orange Salad (£8). Beautiful beets in three shades with bright orange slices create earthy and tart boldness that crave the mellowness that the chopped hazelnuts and goats’ cheese crouton bring to the dish. A symphony on a plate.
What strikes me from the mains menu, is that nothing really strikes me. We both struggled to pick something, which is a shame as decisions were instantaneous with the starters (and we had even chosen desserts). The mains lack the creative flair that’s seen throughout the rest of the menu, and even in the hotel itself. Nothing jumps out from the “pubby” selection of burgers, steak, pizza, fish & chips etc.
Due to season, Hunter 486 also had a thanksgiving menu, so we ordered one of the Norfolk Bronze Turkeys with roast sweet potatoes, glazed root vegetables and cranberry sauce. The meat was not dry at all, perfectly moist. Essentially a very good roast dinner, and it is what it is really, but there was no wow factor.
The same enthusiasm with the other main on the table, in the form of Braised Lamb Shank (£19), with Mediterranean spiced aubergine and chickpeas. Served in a bowl decorated by a rim of an intensely sharp and minty sauce that was fab, and looked great against the dominant reds of the dish, adding a bit of zing to counteract a rich gravy from the lovely lamb. The chickpeas could have done with a couple more minutes cooking but other than that the dish was great, but again no wow factor. All down to, I feel, an uninspiring selection on offer.
Desserts? Here we go, Hunter 486 back on form. There were so many enticing options (all @ £6.50) that we ordered three to share between the two of us. Hazelnut & Apple Tart – Sweet dreams are made of THIS; Pastry perfection with sweet toasty cinnamon lacing the nutty and dewy apple filling. A few sticky syrupy globules encasing crunchy whole hazelnuts decorate the plate, and i mourn for it as i pass to my friend to share.
Coconut Panna Cotta and its creamy, silken texture paired with a bold, icy mango sorbet takes me somewhere tropical. The sorbet was leaning on the over powering side as the coconut flavour of the panna cotta was a little shy. A few toasted coconut flakes on the plate attempt to reinforce the flavour. Passing the plate over, the panna cotta delightfully wobbling as it went, i was almost tempted to wolf whistle at it.
A refreshing clementine salad made a wonderful close to the meal, being zesty, cleansing and uplifting. Paired with toasted almonds, and another burst of freshness from pomegranate jewels, strewn with a herby hint of mint. I cleverly saved this for last as its healthy exuberance and feel good factor makes me forgive (but certainly not forget) the indulgence of the two desserts prior.
As our plates were being cleared by the very well dressed and charming service staff, I go over the dishes that we had in my mind, and it is such a shame that there was that creative and flavour lull mid-meal with the mains. Everything else around this however, was absolutely enchanting; the starters and desserts stick with me still, and I would come back to Hunter 486 if not only for those gorgeous scotch eggs (and yes perhaps another slice of that hauntingly good hazelnut & apple tart). The good by far outweighs the disappointing, and i would even say it’s now on my list of the most memorable meals I have had for various reasons, and that surely, is good food.
Reviewed by: @Lohanjordan
ADDRESS: The Arch London, 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London, W1H 7FD
PHONE:+44 (0)207 724 4700
TIPPING POLICY: Optional 12.5% will be added to your bill.
MAKE A RESERVATION: http://www.opentable.com/hunter-486-brasserie?page=5