24 hours in Mayfair for foodies
Insider guide by Esme Verity. Exclusively created for guests at The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences
Mayfair is home to many of London’s finest and most highly praised restaurants, and so it is a natural base for any serious foodie visiting the capital. Read on to discover Esme’s picks of the best foodie spots and things to do in the neighbourhood and its surrounds.
Sartoria is a restaurant by chef Francesco Mazzei, formerly of L’Anima, and named after its location alongside the sartorial masters of Saville Row. The menu is heavily influenced by Mazzei’s native Calabria, and breakfast is a treat for lovers of Italian cuisine, featuring dishes such as ‘Eggs Purgatoria’ (cheekily referencing part two of Dante’s Divine Comedy), which combines baked eggs with spicy ‘nduja sausage. The restaurant also has one of the largest heated terraces in Mayfair, meaning an al fresco breakfast can be enjoyed here any time of year.
Cooking class + Lunch: La Cucina Caldesi
This warm and welcoming Italian cookery school in Marylebone is run by husband-and-wife team Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi. Classes run daily from 10am to 2pm and include the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your culinary labours for lunch. An interesting highlight is their plant-based cooking course focused on vegetarian Italian cooking. This course utilises raw and unprocessed seasonal produce to create colourful and impactful dishes that would make even the most die hard carnivore ask for seconds.
Shop + Afternoon Tea: Fortnum & Mason
One might argue that no stay at The Athenaeum is complete without a visit to Fortnum & Mason - one of the most iconic and historic purveyors of groceries and fine foods in the world, Taking afternoon tea at Fortnum’s is a ritual with centuries of history that we never gets old. But before you tuck in to scrummy finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and patisserie, there is a ton of delights waiting to be discovered in this beautiful and exciting food shop, arranged over four floors. On the ground floor you will find treats and gifts ranging from teas to biscuits and chocolates from England and around the world - including a mouthwatering selection of nougats and turkish delight. In the basement, there is a Food Hall offering the finest fresh produce and wines, and the remaining floors sell everything from perfume to luggage. In addition to the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon (named after Her Majesty the Queen’s 2012 celebration of 60 years on the throne), there are four other restaurants and an ice cream parlour to be enjoyed - so plenty of reasons to keep us coming back.
Food and guest experience is at the heart of this stunning Mayfair foodie destination. Chef-proprietor Angela Hartnett’s take on modern European fine dining, is quite simply to die for and the service is exceptional. The menu draws on Hartnett’s experience learning how to cook with her Italian nonna and aunties, and the emphasis is on fresh, seasonal produce from both Britain and the continent, presented in a beautiful but still approachable way. Murano holds two Michelin stars and 4 AA Rosettes.
Drinks: Mr Fogg's Residence
This quirky cocktail bar is hidden down a narrow street off swanky Berkeley Square. At the door, you are greeted by a smartly dressed doorman and once inside, you find yourself in the imagined home of Jules Verne’s Victorian explorer Phileas Fogg. The bar is filled with maps, flags and equipment relating to Fogg’s fictitious 80 day journey, making it a veritable feast for the eyes and senses. But decor aside, the cocktails on offer are superb and a thrill for the tastebuds of even the most discerning cocktail connoisseur.