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A South American Twist To A Classic British Legacy
116 at The Atheneaum is a luxury hotel with a history, that’s kept its’ classic British roots but given them a lift with an exotic Latin American twist. Even throughout its many transformations, its still kept its timely elegance. From starting life at the end of the 19th century as the home of MP Henry hope; who often enjoyed the company of Dickens at this very spot, to a century later, becoming an exclusive up-market residence housed within an art deco block.
When Henry Hope died and it was sold, it continued its prestigious club spirit as a hotbed of social activity as the Junior Atheneaum Club. Here it entertained the fabulously glamourous well- heeled set it attracted in the 1930’s and for decades after, before being bought by a large leisure group.
From there on…it has never had any corporate or group re-fits to stamp on its’ timely appeal. Instead, its been tastefully transformed, and re-fitted, and the glamour and the prestige has always stayed. All the way throughout it’s changes to this day ‘The Atheneum’ has held on to its’ brand heritage. Its’ name Athenea- meaning Goddess of Wisdom’ in ancient Greek mythology defines it. But equally it has moved with the times, and whilst keeping it’s quintessential British roots, its’ also added a global influence to its’ cuisine. The dishes merge simple but seasonally fresh and good produce, with tinges of exotic influence, by current Executive Chef Ian Howard.
With tempting sharing plates of mackerel and sushi like delicately, and exquisitely presented ceviche- the plates look amazing and taste divine. When you enter into Mayfair territory you can almost guarantee that competition is high within the high-end dining stakes. But this restaurant is unique, given its luxurious location and venue, since the prices are reassuringly reasonable. A meal here guarantees you a great setting, charm and service within a competitive price bracket for 5-star dining. For a top end starter you can expect to pay £7.00 for a modern take of traditional ceviche of salmon, subtly infused with mango and avocado, on a squid ink cracker. The mains are meltingly good and in-expensive at £13.00. So you really can make it a home from home if you want, and its’ not too much of an adventurous Modern British menu.
When it comes to a non-standard menu that offers reassuringly good cuisine, at competitive prices, complemented by an interesting wine list,not least from Surrey producers Hambledon – its a good partnership. Given the fresh ripe fruity notes from their premim 65-year old aged wine, with the buttery depth of Burgundy, and with a very low acidity, its a match made in heaven. Hambledon Vineyard in Surrey regularly offer tastings with Michelin chefs and events.
The restaurant, effortlessly manages to combine wholesome freshly sourced seafood produce, with a just a zest of tangy exoticism, alongside a traditional and interesting wine list featuring Surrey’s best from Hambleton Vineyard. Hambledon haa a place in English history, not only as the oldest running vineyard in the UK founded in 1952, but as the birthplace of cricket, and a wonderful escape in rural quaintness to take advantage of their regular tastings. 116 at Atheneum Hotel is definitely worth musing in.
A meal for two with 65-year old aged wine £120
Located at 116 Piccadilly
Mayfair, London W1J 7BJ