A few years ago, the British food revival was in full swing – we were celebrating home cooked classics and caring deeply about the provenance of our food. We’re still interested in the latter but the former has seen a decline and now the things that are in vogue are fusions, slow cooking from Latin America and Nikkei anything.
If you follow these trends blindly, you run the risk of being led astray and missing out on some genuine classics and quality meals found under establishments that are proudly flying the British flag. 108 Brasserie, the bright and airy restaurant in London’s Marylebone hotel is an example of this – claiming it’s heritage in classic British cooking and locally sourced ingredients.
The Brasserie is classically French in design, warm red leather banquettes, chic bar and a buzzy modern feel that lends itself to an elegantly casual all day dining venue. We’re here for lunch and there’s a friendly relaxed feel as soon as we enter – just perfect for a midday stop.
A glass of Sancerre and a refreshing G&T are on hand to help us through menu decisions – helped along amply by the friendly staff. I’ve opted for the starter size of the grilled Harissa prawns and a rib-eye steak for after and my lunch date has gone for the summery baby beets with goats curd with the Cornish lamb cutlets for a main.
The prawns are meaty and not at all overpowered by the harissa, needing only a little squeeze of lemon to make them perfect.
The baby beets and goats curd are colourful and light and exactly what’s needed for a hot summers day.
We’ve gone meaty for mains and while my steak is exactly as I ordered with a delicate accompaniment of peppercorn sauce, it’s the Cornish lamb cutlets that steal the show. The lamb is perfectly cooked and seasoned and the addition of broad beans and salsa verde bring the whole plate of flavours together into a mouth-watering package.
The portion sizes are perfectly judged and we’re comfortably full but not so much that we can’t have dessert – it’s not something I can easily pass by! I’ve gone for a new addition to the menu, a banana tartine with banana ice cream and it’s sensuously decadent with big punchy flavours of banana and caramel mixing together into gooey mouthfuls.
My date remains unconvinced by the brown bread ice cream, which is exactly as it sounds on the tin, so I’m talked into a switch which I don’t really mind since I happen to be a big fan of brown bread.
It’s a rare searingly hot day in the British summer and with the inside temperature set to a delicious coolness, it’s hard to think about leaving this comfortable relaxed atmosphere to pound the streets outside so I find myself easily talked into sustenance in the form of an ice cold mocha, drizzled with chocolate for a much needed caffeine hit.
Had I been following my usual herd-like instincts and chasing the big and bold flavours coming out of South America and Asia, I would have missed out on this charming brasserie with its excellent cooking, attention to detail and friendly relaxed service.
Address: 108 Marylebone Ln, Marylebone, London W1U 2QE
Phone: 020 7969 3904