Test Drives

roomA look at the Grade II listed facade of The Pantechnicon. Undeniably impressive. 

What can you tell us about Pantechnicon?

This new opening from Barry Hirst, one of the founders of the Cubitt House group of pubs, is certainly an ambitious endeavour. The Pantechnicon is a huge five-storey building in the heart of Belgravia that brings together Nordic and Japanese influences as restaurants, shops and cafes. The building (once a Victorian warehouse) is dominated by a hugely impressive Grade II listed facade (see above) but inside is the result of a five-year project to completely reinvent the building. 

So what's actually inside?

From the bottom up, things start with Sachi restaurant in the basement. At the time of our visit, that was still undergoing final building works, temporarily relocated to the first-floor mezzanine level until that's completed. The ground floor hosts Japanese cafe Kitsune (already something of a hit on Instagram) and they're getting ready to open a Japanese bottle shop called Sakaya.

The second floor hosts the main shop. It's full of beautiful Nordic and Japanese goods - you'll want to buy everything.

Finally, the third and fourth floors host Eldr, the Nordic restaurant that we were there to visit. The main restaurant is on third, with a roof terrace and dining room at the top. 

And where can I find Pantechnicon?

It's on Motcomb street, deep in the heart of Belgravia - closest to Knightsbridge tube station. 

roomThe cocktail menu (all priced at £14) is well worth a look with some intriguing drinks on there. This is the Berry and Walnut - beef short rib washed akvavit, walnuts, gooseberries & blueberries. Obviously, it was the beef washed aquavit that attracted us to the drink but alas that meaty hit didn't quite come through. Good cocktail otherwise, though. 

So, heading up to Eldr - where should we sit?

The answer is undoubtedly in the top floor garden room - or even on the terrace if you can absolutely guarantee the weather. It's a beautiful sunlit space and is absolutely the place to be (we spotted Princess Michael of Kent dining there - which might give you an idea of the clientele). We had time for a two-minute drink on the terrace before the heavens opened, and then we went downstairs to the main dining room. That room, by itself, looks beautiful too - but it's clear that the roof is the place to be. 

And what kind of food can we expect from Eldr?

Decidedly Nordic. It's headed up by Head Chef Joni Ketonen who's come to Eldr from No 5 Social with Jason Atherton but draws on his other Scandinavian experience here - he worked at Adam and Albin as well as Farang in Stockholm. Here's what we had.

roomBread - fennel, honey & elderberry butter (£4.50) - this has already made itself known on Instagram - note the artily half-filled butter bowl. Looks aside though, it's a must-have - just try not to wolf it all down before rest of the food arrives. 

roomBeef tartare cream & roe (£16) - beautifully presented and a top tartare too - although a few crisps or wafers would have been a nice addition (unless you're carb-avoiding, in which case this is a perfect starter). 

roomScallops and leek in a mussel sauce with air-dried wisps of reindeer meat (£16.50) - a bowl of comfort (just don't think about the fact you're eating Rudolph). 

roomCod, smoked cream & mushrooms (£22) - a deeply creamy dish that you're going to want to hang onto some of that bread to mop up these sauces. 

roomChicken, lovage, rainbow chard & truffle butter (£24) - so often the afterthought dish, the chicken option here is gorgeous. 

roomPotato, smoked butter & chives (£6) - potatoes drenched in smoky butter. 

What about dessert?

While the individual dishes are quite light, the combo of the bread and the potatoes we ordered meant we could only manage one (below). However, it's worth considering finishing off by having dessert and a coffee in Cafe Kitsune downstairs. 

roomMeringue, blackberry and cardamom, which flavours the custard. Watch below for the mesmeric custard pouring (£8)

And drinks?

As mentioned above, the cocktail menu is well worth a look.and, of course, there is plenty of aquavit on offer.  The sparkling birch sap wine (£7.50 a glass) is a speciality and worth trying too. As for wines. they start at around the £35 mark and rise to the £40s and £50s quite quickly - but you really are in the heart of Belgravia here so should expect things to be priced accordingly. 

Overall thoughts

It may be a surprising time to launch such an ambitious project, but visiting on a (pre-Tier two) weekday, Pantechnicon was packed, with the roof garden filling up particularly quickly (and Kitsune proving popular too). It's easy to see why - it's a beautiful looking building throughout. You could while away a happy couple of hours here browsing the beautifully curated shop, having lunch and then finishing off with a coffee at Kitsune.

 

More about Pantechnicon

Where is it? 19 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8LB

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @_pantechnicon

 

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