Restaurant review: Mano Mayfair, London

Mano Mayfair
Tim Firmager
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Brazilian-Japanese restaurant, Mano Mayfair, the latest addition to the Mayfair scene is aiming to put the fun back into fine dining. Vada Magazine pops in for dinner after a midweek shopping trip down Regent Street.

Mano Mayfair

Mano Mayfair, located on Heddon street, a small offshoot on the west-side of the popular Regent Street, has finally opened. This Brazilian-Japanese restaurant wants to mix up fine dining with fun interiors, DJ sets and authentic tastes of São Paulo. Tucked away on Heddon Street, Mano Mayfair is not a venue one would accidentally stumble across, though the jungle exterior is a give-away sign diners are at the right place. Inside a gold, green and red colour scheme saturate the senses. The mirror-clad wall is an interior choice too far – paraphrasing the Coco Chanel quote, we suggest taking the mirror off before you open the house, Mano. Mirrors aside, the interior furniture and colours bring a definite feeling of being transported to south America.

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To help bring the fun back into fine dining menu, the team behind Mano have partnered with chef Luciana Berry (Winner of Top Chef Brazil 2020 and a MasterChef: The Professionals semi-finalist) to showcase flavours and ingredients that are integral to Brazilian cuisine.

The Menu

Berry’s menu at Mano Mayfair is designed to bring to life the São Paulo food scene – the Brazilian-Japanese menu reflecting the estimated 1.9 million Nikkei (descendants of Japanese immigrants) in the Brazilian city.

The menu consists of sharing plates split across meat, seafood, vegetarian and vegan, as well as sushi options. Size-wise we suggest 4-5 plates between 2 should be plenty, but there is always the option to order more later. The very best appetiser is the Pão de Queijo Raphael (‘Raphael’s Cheese Bread’) (£12), which are deep-fried balls of dough made with cassava and cheese, generously topped with more cheese and grated black truffle. These are so moreish we could have just eaten them on repeat all evening.

We absolutely insist that meat-lovers choose the Smoked Picanha (£25) with Yakiniku Sauce, this is hickory smoked Brazil’s national steak served with a traditional Japanese dipping sauce. The sushi options dominate the menu, and we restrained ourselves to just one choice: Fried Tuna Sushi (£18) which consists of 5 pieces of deeply crisp balls of sushi rice with succulent and lightly fragrant tuna atop. As a vegetarian option, and one to contrast the crisp textures from our other plates we chose the Milho com shitaki (£13), which is a corn purée topped with fried shiitake mushrooms. And to add a pop of colour, try the Quiabo (£7) – that is Okra halved lengthways and lightly stir-fried with ginger and chilli. Simple but effective.

Mano Mayfair have also crafted a cocktail selection using sake, cachaça and Brazilian mangos to complement their food menu. A Mangolicious (£15) made with Grey Goose infused with mango, Muyu Jasmine liquor, peach and jasmine soda water, elderflower cordial and lime will give you the alcoholic-mango hit you didn’t know you needed. A Manogroni (£15) mixed with Bombay Sapphire 1er cru gin, Campari infused with banana and Antica formula is the perfect partner to those mouthfuls of Pão de Queijo.

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Mano Mayfair cocktails

The vibe

On our humpday evening visit, Mano was not particularly busy, though this did pick up as the evening went on. Service was swift and welcoming. The only issue we encountered was a game of musical chairs, being asked to move tables after an hour of being seated when there were plenty of other unreserved tables for this upcoming reservation.

Later in the evening, music is replaced by a DJ bringing the rhythm of São Paulo – though for us and given the the size of the space this was a little too loud. This would be a perfect setting for a Friday night or weekend brunch, however.

Downstairs Mano Mayfair has an unexpected treat – a big-kids play area, with toys and backlit mirrors for the perfect selfies. Naturally, we indulged. If some of your party disappear for a while, this is where they have gone, not into some unbeknownst darkroom.

Overall thoughts

Mano Mayfair offers fun flavours of São Paulo. Whilst we lacked the Brazilian experience to fully understand the fusion-but-not-quite-fusion-heritage of the Brazilian-Japanese flavours, we would happily go back to eat the Pão de Queijo and Smoked Picanha again and again.

We felt the weekday evening DJ sets didn’t quite seem to fit exactly with the mood of the typical tempered midweek diner; however this component (combined with the big-kid toy selfie section) makes, in our view, Mano Mayfair a fun fine-dining Friday or Saturday evening or brunch option.

Mano Mayfair is located at 4 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BS

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About Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.