FACT Review: The best of British at 20 Berkeley 

FACT Review: The best of British at 20 Berkeley 



Ingredient-led British dining in the heart of Mayfair.

London's upmarket Mayfair has become the place to dine for those in search of global brands and MICHELIN menus. Take a stroll down Berkeley Street, and you'll be inundated with some of the world's most recognisable restaurants, from Amazónico and Hakkasan to Il Borro Tuscan Bistro, Novikov Restaurant & Bar and Sexy Fish. But what happens when an unapologetically British restaurant hits the scene?

20 Berkeley is a restaurant as simple as its name, serving a produce-led menu in which every ingredient is sourced from within the British Isles. Expect Cumbrian Chicken, Herdwick Lamb, Newlyn John Dory and even lettuce from across the river in Elephant & Castle. At three months old, the restaurant has already hit its stride, and the dining room is full when we visit for an early mid-week dinner. 

20 Berkeley

Entering beneath an ochre awning, diners will immediately feel as if they've entered an English manor house, where a labyrinthine selection of spaces that range from a parlour and lounge to several private dining rooms await. Our dinner in the cosy upstairs dining room encapsulates the quintessential feeling of Britishness. Comfortable green banquettes, mounted cartography, splashes of stained glass and plenty of potted vegetation evoke the charm of a farmhouse in the heart of upmarket Mayfair.

The seasonal à la carte menu is a concise origami offering that leaves no room for filler. Every dish is considered a signature, and whether you order the Jigg-line Caught Squid (£27) or St. Ewes Egg Yolk & Potato Raviolo (£19), you won't be disappointed. Daily specials are presented to the table in wicker baskets, a charming homage to Mayfair's market days, where the historical divide between city and countryside once stood.

Under the tutelage of Executive Chef Ben Orpwood, who previously worked with the Gordon Ramsay Group and Zuma, the menu celebrates British heritage. While we wouldn't usually discuss a bread course, the London Honey-glazed Dinner Rolls (£7) are a marvel. Served oven-hot, these lacquered treats are remarkably fluffy and elevated by a love-it-or-hate-it condiment of Marmite butter. 

20 Berkeley

We adore the Hand-pulled Ealing Burrata with Summer Vegetables and Elderflower Vinaigrette (£19), which 20 Berkeley's Italian sommelier assures us is better than anything you'll find in Italy. The cheese is precisely as it should be, luscious and creamy with a nice acidity from the accompanying tomatoes to cut through the slight sweetness. 

Similarly, the Roasted Orkney Scallop (£25) served with a black pudding stuffed tortellini, lardo, and sorrel velouté has us wanting to lick the plate clean. It's not just the freshness and seasonality of the ingredients but the finesse with which each dish is constructed. Produce is treated with ceremonious respect, resulting in a dish representative of summer on a plate. 

While the beef is Belted Galloway or Aberdeen Angus cattle, the seafood is glazed with eau de vie (fruit brandy) throughout the cooking process. The Roasted Cornish Cod (£36) with summer peas, clams, and lemon thyme is delicate, meaty and full of flavour, using the accompaniments to elevate and enhance rather than overpower the fish. A plant-based menu is also available, featuring Isle of Wight tomato tartare and BBQ cauliflower.

20 Berkeley

20 Berkeley offers only five desserts. As with the rest of the menu, the food is distinctly European but utilises British ingredients in dishes such as Cambridgeshire Strawberry and Elderflower Cheesecake (£10) and New Forest Gateau (£11). The restaurant's most popular choice is the Apple Tarte Tatin (£24) with Jersey milk ice cream. Designed for sharing, this classic Provençal dessert features caramelised apple and a beautifully flaky pastry. 

Elsewhere, the beverage menu features wines from Kent, Hampshire and Surrey and a selection of stunning cocktails, including the Aged Kelp (Stauning smoke single malt, Port Charlotte whisky, "aged" kelp distillate, Kentish hazelnut, Norfolk mint and cacao) and Fig Leaf (Two drifters Cornish rum, foraged pineapple weed and fig leaf cream). For those who enjoy the excitement and intrigue of the beverage menu, Nipperkin is 20 Berkley's speakeasy-style subterranean bar.

Service throughout the meal is stellar, with the personable team promoting the restaurant's story with ease and affability while dressed in smart, collarless shirts.

If food miles are a concern, then 20 Berkeley – from the team behind Endo at Rotunda, HUMO and Sumi - is embarking on a journey from the Cornish coast to the heart of the capital all wrapped up in a timeless Georgian-era aesthetic.

Turn away from your televisions because The Great British Menu (a show on which Chef Ben Orpwood appeared) has moved from the BBC and into a Mayfair manor house where suppliers are championed, and meals are memorable. 

GO: Visit https://20berkeley.com for reservations and more information.