5 Princes Street, W1B 2LF
If you’ve read our review of Neo Bistro, you’ll know we’re Mark Jarvis fans. And we’re glad to say that Stem, his second Mayfair restaurant, doesn’t disappoint.
Décor and Vibe
Anglo and Neo Bistro both pare their upscale food down with simple décor, and Stem follows suit. Located in a Grade II-listed townhouse just off Regent Street, it’s an intimate affair with only 35 covers, and the interior is muted with marble tables, minimal wooden chairs and banquette seating.
Food and Drink
Stem is all about fresh British flavours and elegant execution As the name suggests, there’s a big focus on seasonal veg – running the kitchen day to day is head chef Sam Ashton-Booth, and you’ll normally find whatever’s in his allotment on the menu in the form of salads and sides. The presentation is definitely a draw – invite someone to Stem if you want to impress – but it’s not all for show; you can expect dishes to taste as good as they look. The menu naturally changes frequently, but on our visit the roast saddle of lamb and Cornish mussels were a highlight. We opted for the tasting menu with drinks pairing, and were pleasantly surprised by how unusual some of the accompanying drinks were (like cider with the mussels). The sommeliers here are adventurous.
If, like us, you’ve sworn off tasting menus (just way too much food), don’t be put off Stem’s. Each portion is well-sized, so you end up feeling like you’ve had a taste of all they have to offer, rather than eaten every single thing on the menu.
Jarvis is a master of combining flavours, and the unexpected wins at Stem: tomato with buttermilk, hazelnut with hay, beef with pickled cucumber. It works.