RESTAURANT REVIEW: Venetia van Kuffeler visits highly anticipated Beck at Brown’s, a restaurant from three-Michelin-starred chef Heinz Beck at the iconic Brown’s Hotel
HEINZ BECK’S STORY really couldn’t be more European. Starting his career in Bavaria, Beck went on to work in some of the continent’s finest kitchens including the three-Michelin-starred Tantris in Munich. Global recognition followed when he moved to Rome in 1994 to La Pergola, where he was awarded three Michelin stars of his own. 2009 saw Beck open his first restaurant in London, Apsley’s at the Lanesborough Hotel. And now he remerges once again at Rocco Forte’s iconic and venerable British institution, Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair.
Freshly redesigned by Olga Polizzi, the restaurant offers a brand-new casual dining menu of classic Italian dishes, reinvented using seasonal British ingredients. Showcasing the diversity in cooking throughout Italy – from the hearty meat and fish dishes found in the mountainous north to the fresh citrusy flavours in the sun-drenched south – the menu could cleverly work for a swift lunch, formal dinner or private party. I was there for a relaxed business lunch but managed to fit in two courses all the same.
In traditional Italian style, an extensive Insalate & Antipastisection offers a range of deliciously tempting small plates such as: burrata di Andriawith marinated courgette, roasted veal sweetbreads with fava beans, peas and artichokes or bluefin tuna, peppercorn and Tokio turnip. I chose the dressed crab with grilled romain lettuce and wild herbs, which was as light and delicious as it was stunningly presented.
Although I didn’t choose from it, the Primi & Zuppechoices are most tempting of all, offering an amazing selection of fresh, house-made pasta dishes, like risotto with aged parmesan, artichokes and olive oil, or spaghetti cacio e pepewith lime-marinated langoustine. The rest of the menu is divided into Pesceand Carne, with highlights including the grilled black cod with ‘Nduja crust, red peppers and cucumber or the aged Rhug estate striploin with truffle mash and rosemary sauce (to share). On the advice of the charming waiter, I chose Beck’s red mullet ‘sandwich’ with black olive and tarragon. Quite unusual, the crunchy light pastry of the ‘sandwich’ contrasted nicely with the soft flesh of the fish and olive centre. Sadly, there only remained time for cappuccinos, which came with a choice of delectable petits fours.
Now with its own separate entrance on Albermarle Street, the space itself has undergone a complete redesign. Whilst the original 1900’s oak panelling remains, the restaurant has been transformed into a bright, botanical utopia. Specially commissioned wallpaper by interior designer Adam Ellis accentuates the green and turquoise colour palette, alongside a curated selection of Brown’s art and antiques. Tables are adorned with exquisite colourful Italian glassware and chandeliers have been especially commissioned by Florentine designers, which all add to the convivial Italian atmosphere.
The results are stunning. And united with Beck’s seductive menu, the experience was a memorable one. I’m keen to go back.
BECK AT BROWN’S, BROWN’S HOTEL, ALBEMARLE STREET, MAYFAIR, LONDON, W1S 4BP
E: BECKATBROWNS@ROCCOFORTEHOTELS.COM T: +44 (0)207 518 4004