Villandry Great Portland Street is a Marylebone institution – an expansive food emporium comprising a restaurant, cafe, bar and deli.
The recently-renovated grand café has a modern European all-day menu and a relaxed neighbourhood feel, with chic outdoor dining. It’s also within walking distance of Oxford Street, making it perfect for a post-shopping bite and leisurely people watching.
Sister restaurant Villandry Bicester Village is my favourite spot for lunch when bargain hunting at the designer outlet. I’ve visited Villandry Great Portland Street before, but only for take-out cakes and another time for cocktails, propping up the bar next to Huey Morgan of Fun Lovin’ Criminals.
We visited Villandry Great Portland Street this week for the decadent-sounding Lobster Monday. Every Monday, the restaurant offers whole lobster and chips for just £15, available with a glass of Chablis (£19) or a glass of Billecart-Salmon Reserve NV (£21).
The restaurant dining room is elegant and minimal, with white table cloths, contemporary artwork and a terrace overlooking Bolsover Street.
We started with a bottle of ice cold still water and a choice of four different breads served with French butter. Service is often quick and efficient at Villandry and we were swiftly served our lobsters.
The whole lobster looked fantastic and was cracked in two, served with a wedge of lemon. The lobster meat was tender and succulent, grilled to perfection and doused in a scrumptious lemon, butter and fresh herb sauce. The thick-cut chips were golden and crunchy but a little dry inside, however they perked up when smothered in butter sauce and mayonnaise.
We accompanied the lobster and chips with a refreshing Bellini (£8.80) and a strong, well-mixed Old Fashioned (£8.80).
It was impossible to resist dessert, so I ordered a Rich Chocolate Brownie Coup (£8.20). The incredibly indulgent dessert was a mountain of vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, brownie chunks, walnuts, hot chocolate sauce and whipped cream infused with vanilla.
The brownie chunks were deliciously dense and sweet, while the four scoops of ice cream were high quality and smooth. I loved the velvety hot chocolate sauce and large pieces of rich walnut.
I attempted to get halfway through the sundae but it really was enormous and more than enough for two to share. Our waitress shared that no one has ever managed to finish one all by themselves (a worthy contender for a Man vs. Food challenge).
Steven’s Warm Chocolate Fondant with vanilla ice cream (£6.40) was also on the large side, but much more manageable. The rich fondant had a light cake texture and oozed with gooey dark chocolate sauce.
Lobster Monday at Villandry Great Portland Street is a must for seafood fans and a fabulous start to the week. I will definitely return when I have a craving for lobster and just £6 extra for a glass of Champagne is a real steal.
Villandry St James is set to open in October this year and several other London locations are planned. For more information and booking, visit: www.villandry.com
Chérie City was a guest of Villandry
Photos by Chérie City and Villandry