Review: The Footman pub – Mayfair, London

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The Footman in London’s Mayfair has recently reopened following a stylish refurbishment with upper floors now for dining. The pub now part of the Metropolitan Pub Company (who own pubs across the capital), was originally established in 1749 just off Berkley Square, a 15 minute walk from the centre of Soho. We at Vada were invited to try an evening meal, and here’s our dining experience.

The Footman pub

For those who may have visited the pub previously (anytime from 1749 up to the pandemic), returning visitors will note the refurbishment has led to more seating in the pub area downstairs. Though most evenings after work, the venue is busy enough to be spilling out into the street anyway.

Heading to the first floor dining room, seating has been re-arranged to give guests more privacy. There are three large booths, each ideal for a working lunch, in elegant warm and earthy tones, a bold new ceiling detail and classic parquet flooring. A minor point of note was the lack of any curtains or blinds, given the name of the venue, this could include a ‘footman’ print and something to further soften the space.

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There are also further (second and third) floors, which cater for private dining events.

The menu

We were pleasantly surprised to see that the menu indicated a slight elevation above usual pub-grub, setting the upstairs restaurant clearly in the gastro-pub camp – no surprise given its location just off Berkley Square.

To start we opted for the Smoked chicken rillettes with yuzu mayonnaise, chicken crackling and toasted bloomer (£9), and Scottish scallops served with fennel kimchi, sweet potato, avocado, and coriander purée (£14). The smoked chicken was flavourful with a rich smokiness but the mayo did lack any citrus hit. The scallops were were well cooked – still succulent inside, and colourfully presented against the autumnal tones of the orange and juniper green.

For mains we chose the honey glazed gammon served with a duck egg, confit potatoes, pineapple relish and parsley sauce (£17). This was the gammon of gammons, simply and elegantly presented – possibly the first time a pig’s rear end has been described as such. We also hail from the choice of roasted halibut fillet with green olive and herb crust, served with ratatouille and a chorizo emulsion (£24). The fish was well-cooked but the dish didn’t wow overall with flavour, and there was a certain level of FOMO for the gammon’s accompanying confit potatoes.

Puddings are a pub essential, so we chose from the top of the menu in the form of the Valrhona chocolate tart served with salted caramel and honeycomb (£8), and English strawberry parfait, served with granola, meringue and lime curd (£7). The rich Valrhona more than met the chocolate craving, and the English parfait was more clean and delicate in flavour than we had anticipated – a twin triumph by The Footman.

Overall thoughts

Whilst the ground floor pub remained busy, with the usual pub buzz, the first floor restaurant at The Footman makes the restaurant a distinct space being a much calmer affair. We did almost miss the buzz, but perhaps this was just our keenness to socialise after a busy work day. The menu ticked all the gastro-pub boxes elevating all dishes without alienating the diner away from traditional menu options – if in doubt, choose gammon (the meat, not the pejorative expression). The price point is about average for gastro-pub food in central London, about £40 per person for 3 courses. The Footman also have a well-curated wine list, whether a glass with a working lunch meal, or a bottle to share for an evening meal.

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A note on the men’s toilets, do not expect any privacy as there is no door or screen for what should be the toilet cubicle, which we advise considering this as just another urinal, should you need to spend a penny.

Address: 5 Charles Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5DF

For more information or to book a table, visit thefootmanmayfair.com

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.