EAT: Reform at The Mandeville, NW1

Reform at The Mandeville Hotel in Marylebone, has breathed, not so much new, as traditional, life in to the somewhat dated site of the old deVille restaurant.

Years ago I stayed at The Mandeville (small rooms, nice themed afternoon tea, good restaurant). We ate at the deVille and while the wacky decor – which owed its inspiration to fleur de lis and playboy classic combo of pink and black – was fun, it has recently started to look a bit tired. So, time for an overhaul. And what an overhaul. Out are the twee swirls, mirrors, glass panels, uncomfortable box stools in the bar; and little rows of cocktails shots. In are wooden floors, leather armchairs, solid oak tables, dark, brooding colours and big, hearty glasses of wine. And it’s the same story in the restaurant – a loing thin space, with leather banquet seating, marble tables, big chairs and generous spacing. Essentially, it’s gone from this:

to this:

And this:

To this:

Amaze balls, I say. I liked it a lot. While it looks a little more pared down, in reality the effect is warm and welcoming and not at all affected. The removal of a few walls and it’s own private entrance makes the place welcoming and relaxed. The menu reflects the surroundings too – classic chicken broth, fish pie, hangar steak and snails (which sadly they’d run out of, two night after opening, hmph), pate, chips etc. Our starters of chicken broth and pheasant scotch egg were really delicious, and the hubby’s rib eye on the bone was excellently cooked, as rare as rare can be. My luxurious fish pie came with scallops, which was quite the bonus, but sadly once I’d gobbled down the two scallops, there was rather a lot of potato and not much else. Service was a little confused, but they’ve been open three days and i’ll forgive them that. Wine also, might need some work.We were recommended a £40 shiraz, which arrived with a screw top and a lack of flavour. Shame.

Still, Reform is a nice addition to Marylebone, it won’t set the world alight but it’s a good spot, and the bar itself will make a good solution to this little problem too. /