|Grilled Large Black pork chop, Romano pepper and Cornish mussels|
Stem is a brand new restaurant by Mark Jarvis, a chef, and restaurateur who also owned Anglo in Farringdon and Neo Bistro in Mayfair. Personally, I am a big fan of Neo Bistro, which is just down the road from Stem. I enjoyed its simplicity approach, using fine British ingredients with a modern but a rustic feel to it. The presentation of the dishes are not fancy but they deliver bags of wonderful flavours. Stem, however, is a totally different beast, the pricing is more up-market and the approach is far more creative and experimental. It has a tasting menu, as well as a pretty small a la carte menu with some fairly ambitious ingredients combination.
|Cornish cod baked in lemon verbena, grelot onion|
|Hand dived raw scallop, celeriac and white chocolate|
The first of those unusual combos came in the form of a starter, the hand dived raw scallop with white chocolate. I personally felt the great quality of the scallop offered plenty of sweetness already, which worked well with the mild nutty taste of the celeriac, so the white chocolate element wasn't really needed. The grilled pork chop was a touched under seasoned, the pepper and Cornish mussels offered very little to enhance the taste of the pork, it was a fine dish but I was expecting a little more. However, I got nothing but love for the roasted saddle of lamb, beautifully cooked, really moist and packed with savoury tastes thanks to the olive dust, the dried courgette and basil offered a lovely touch of freshness to the dish, it was the best piece of cooking on the day.
|Roast saddle of lamb, dried courgette and basil|
|Strawberry, tomato and rosemary|
Overall, I found the cooking at Stem was very capable but had some odd flavours combination, and perhaps a little bit too leftfield. I can already see plenty of people might get confused if they read the dessert menu, as the sounds of "Black olive, almond and toasted brioche" and "Strawberry, tomato and rosemary" sound more like starters than desserts! It is fair to say that it is still very early days for Stem, but with the restaurant is fairly hidden on a quiet road off Regent Street, plus the premium pricing and ambitious concept, I am not sure if people would "get it", especially if the restaurant is targetting tourist.
What I paid:
£36 per person
Average cost without drinks and services:
5 Princes St, Mayfair, London W1B 2LF