Fiona Mannion visits Yannef at DSTRKT in London’s West End.
I’m starting to get excited about Piccadilly Circus. Whilst it has always been a central London hotspot, it hasn’t necessarily been one where Londoners would head for a night out, nor where London’s steady run of new restaurants, bars and pop-ups would locate. But it feels like that might just be changing. The new Brasserie Zedel a case in point.
Dstrkt, primarily marketed as a club, is part of a new £25 million venue investment (including the owners of Mayfair’s Whisky Mist and Mahiki), and shows a serious confidence – the restaurant was recently re-branded as Yaneff at DSTRKT.
The entrance on Rupert Street is suitably stylish whilst not being overdone. Led down the cool, dark stairs to the restaurant which opened at the end of last year, there’s no getting away from the fact this is part of a slick new club and it is designed to impress.
But here’s the twist: the food is really good.
The restaurant at Yaneff at DSTRKT, all cool dark wood and glass, is set out on two levels based around a striking glass lighting feature. The staff are attentive and friendly, taking us through a tasting menu that comprises an impressive range of dishes from Mediterranean, British and French influences (to mention a few), which could be alarming.
But instead, this ‘all-organic blend of continental cuisines’ is delivered with coolness by head Chef George Yaneff (top American chef, formerly at the Bazaar Restaurant by José Andrés, SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills) and his team.
With so many dishes to list I would suggest looking at their website, but the seafood is worth a special mention. Light and tasty yellow fin tuna cubes with avocado, delicious plump scallops, superbly cooked sea bass and brilliantly matched flavours in the Devon crab cakes with garlic yoghurt sauce. The lamp chops and broccoli with pomegranate, basil and garlic are also worth mentioning.
Dessert is no let down either, with fabulous titles such as chocolate s’mores, not too rich that we couldn’t manage after our feast. What stands out is not just the quality of the ingredients, but the well thought-out flavours of each and every dish. All this with excellently matched wines.
As the evening went on the music from the club grew louder, but happily my date and I noted that we never had to raise our voices.
Adjoining a club in keeping with its Mayfair sisters, this is a specific kind of place. In Dstrkt’s own words this restaurant is meant to be ‘elegant and glamorous’. The emphasis on the latter. A restaurant for when you want a night out and to be seen out, a sense of occasion and maybe when you’re in the mood for some dancing later (and trust me, it’ll be hard to resist slipping through the curtain to the club after dinner). Just don’t underestimate the food.
This may not be an obvious choice for dinner, but then that’s what makes it so fun and a solid addition to London’s restaurant scene. You’ve got to admire the confidence of Yaneff at DSTRKT and what is says about the future of Piccadilly.
Address: 9 Rupert Street, W1D 6DG
Reservations: +44 207 317 9120