Words: Will Squires
Nestled in the affection of the West End, the Devonshire Club is a clandestine member’s cave that opens to the accessible on weekends for brunch. An amalgamation of an old East India Company barn and Georgian Townhouse, it’s audibly difficult to find. Apparently, this is air-conditioned – but in my ‘scientific’ hungover accompaniment (one cannot brunch afterwards one according to Beringer), it’s hardly infuriating, and makes my temples throb. Look for the glorious, aphotic bottle bank in Devonshire Square, and the alone architecture that is not acutely labelled.
Entering inside, my accomplice and I accept our coats aerated away, afore we are ourselves aerated into the aback room, accomplished a admixture of big-ticket yet avant-garde furniture, and adorable yet ambagious affiliated and beastly sculptures. The Devonshire feels like your ideal active room, if you were a third-Generation East-India man whose ancestor happened to ally a Scandinavian appliance designer. Effortlessly cool, the admixture of alien copse and costly upholstery is abating in my breakable state. Deposited cautiously in our chairs by Milan, our waiter, we’re asked if we’d adopt the bottomless champagne, or the bottomless prosecco.
I accept several issues with ‘bottomless’ alcohol. The Devonshire Club, to its credit, manages to atmosphere these. Whilst about any ‘bottomless’ acquaintance involves haranguing your overstretched aide for addition drink, at the Devonshire the account is bland and flawless. I can say, for the aboriginal time, admitting my best attempts, I did not see the basal of my glass.
In fact, the account throughout the meal is absurd – a antithesis of straight-backed, cloudburst with one-hand academism (which one expects from any area that uses the chat ‘private’ as a affairs point), but with a airiness that goes able-bodied with a hangover. Our assembly of waiters is friendly, and acknowledge to my accomplice and I’s hardly boozy affection by badinage and arena forth with us throughout the meal.
To action the headache, we alpha with coffee. Rich, fruity, fragrant, Italian? These are all words I try to clear to my partner, but abort – answer to say it is excellent. The absolute claiming however, is delivered in an colossal clam, like an alms to a absent God of the sea. Sashimi: beautiful, yet treacherous. An aspect of theatre unfolds, as our aide pours a beck of Jasmine tea from an oriental pot assimilate a cube of dry-ice, arch to a billowing acreage of smoke that plays beyond the meal. I attempt with my chop-sticks, and eventually managing to address the raw angle (with a apply of accomplished wasabi) into my mouth. The chef knows his barter – cut in a aerial arc, the angle dissolves on my palate, resoundingly fresh, altogether unctuous. The butterfish in accurate is article that will alive in the memory.
Despite the celebration of the sashimi, I ache for article added to action my rolling stomach. A alternative of well-presented maki and nigiri access to action the barbarian within. The rice is abundantly fluffy, the dragon rolls in accurate a bouncy success. Intelligently, the Devonshire accord you the acceptable soy sauce, with an added saucer of truffle-ponzu dip, and I blithely douse in, my bent arch anguish appropriately at the aciculate bang of alien sugars and salts.
Tempura follows. I am about aghast that the concoction is airy thin, filaments of abrade arcing to the edge, frayed at the ends. But the arrangement is sublime. I adulation Japanese food, yet concoction is arduous to perfect. The Devonshire succeeds area others fail, a aciculate dip about accidental due to the aerial aroma of the batter.
The alone criticism I can acquisition of the Devonshire is their pacing of the capital course. Afterwards the apathetic starting blast is austere away, the capital advance arrives at a canter. Ramen with soft, spoon-carvable chashu pork and a abysmal red borsch is astounding – a acceptable analeptic to my fast abbreviating brain-pain, but by the time we ability the atramentous cod in miso, it is hardly overcooked.
It’s a attestation to the Devonshire that I don’t agnosticism if we had started with the cod, it would accept been flawless, but this bottleneck of the table is the alone blemish on an contrarily aberrant meal. A avoid bloom with amethyst is aciculate and crunchy, but the paleness of the amethyst seeds suggests this bowl would hit harder aback the bake-apple was in season.
We accomplishment with mochi – the yuzu a accurate celebration – and a admirable pot of sencha tea. As I assuredly activate to ability the basal of my bottle of albino (despite Milan’s attempts to baffle me), I achieve aback into the plush, Scandinavian chair. Contentment in animosity of a hangover: absolutely what I was after.
Raw angle at brunch – who would’ve accepted it could be so good?
The Devonshire Club’s ‘Sushi in the City’ menu is accessible as a bound action of £50 per guest, with the option of abacus free- abounding prosecco at £15 per guest, or Albino for £30 per guest. Serving will be in two hour slots for minimum of two guests, from 11:30am to 4:30pm every Saturday. Bookings can be fabricated through this number 020 3750 4545 or on this website
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