Hunter 486, the restaurant named after the 1950s dialling code for Marylebone, is located within the boutique, 5-star hotel The Arch London. It has recently launched its new menu, carefully developed by head chef Gary Durrant with Henrietta Green, the food and hospitality consultant, known as an advocate for local food.
Given the prestige around the menu, I decided to check out what it is like for a non-guest to dine here, so booked a Friday working-lunch slot.
After taking a sneaky peak at Madonna’s town house across the street, on arrival at The Arch, we were greeted by the doormen, before the automatic doors (this is 5-star after all, so I wouldn’t expect to have to open a door for myself) led us through to the main reception area.
Hunter 486 is located next to this, and after confirming my booking, I was greeted (by Michael Voigt, the General Manager) and led to my table. The restaurant features gleaming leather booths, blown glass chandeliers and statement artwork, plus an adjoining chic Salon de Champagne bar.
The kitchen is delightfully open plan and airy, allowing guests to watch the skilled chefs at work amongst the selection of copper pots and pans suspended from the ceiling.
The new menu at Hunter 486, coinciding with the hotel’s fifth birthday, is inspired by ‘best of British’ recipes, ingredients and produce, with hearty dishes featuring quality ingredients prepared honestly and simply. For starters and main courses, the menu offers plates, pots, boards and bowls for two to share as well as individual ones. However as I am a much more greedy diner than my guest, I decided a sharing platter might be slightly unfair on him, so we opted for individual dishes.
We started with the salad of crispy oxtail with horseradish cream (£8.50) and soup of the day (roasted tomato and basil) (£7.50). As anticipated, the food was exquisitely presented, the oxtail not tasting greasy at all and the horseradish sauce, while strong in flavour wasn’t overpowering. The soup was poured in front of us, containing basil-infused oil as well as crème fraîche and several roasted cherry tomatoes. The texture was smooth and the flavour rich, so overall off to a very pleasant start.
For our main courses we chose the peppered loin of venison with beetroot puree, turnip and potato gratin (£24) and the ribeye steak with handout chips and bernaise sauce (£26).
The rib-eye was well cooked (as requested), juicy and the chips very moreish. The venison was perfectly cooked, still blushing inside and tender, which paired very well with the powerful flavour of the beetroot.
To drink we chose a bottle of Portillo Malbec, Mondoza (£32). We definitely noticed cocktail menu, with Tattinger Bellinis priced at £13.50 and would have quite happily supped several of these over lunch, but there would have been a high risk that I wouldn’t have made it back to the office in the afternoon, so this treat will have to wait until next time.
For dessert we opted for blood orange, pomegranate & toasted almonds with a mascarpone sorbet (£6.50) and sticky toffee pudding with caramelised banana ice-cream (£6.50). Whilst the former did not seem particularly fitting of the ‘best of British’ theme, it was nonetheless refreshing, light and beautifully presented.
Sticky toffee pudding is pretty much the must-have dessert whenever British dining is concerned and it always fascinating to see how each venue plays its twist on this pudding. In Hunter 486’s case, the caramelised banana ice-cream was just that: an indulgent, playful twist. A slightly larger portion of ice cream would have been my only criticism, although perhaps that is my greedy side coming out again.
Overall we were impressed by the quality of the food, the consideration that has gone into the new menu and the level of service we received.
The total price of our three courses and wine from the à la carte menu for two would cost about £55 per head, which, considering this is located within a 5-star hotel (and therefore competing with Michelin starred restaurants), is exceedingly good value.
Hunter 486 is located in The Arch London, 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London W1H 7FD and for reservations, call: 020 7724 4700 or visit thearchlondon.com.