Test Driving Emilia - a restaurant and wine bar to shake things up in Mayfair

courgettesCourgette fritti and wild garlic aioli (£6) - wafer thin light batter and gorgeous seasonal aioli made this dish a total belter.

So what do we need to know about Emilia?

Well, it's the fourth restaurant from the Woodhead Restaurant Group - the talented team behind Quality Chophouse, Portland and Clipstone (that's Will Lander & Daniel Morgenthau).

Where exactly is it?

They've taken over the restaurant space at Bonhams. And while you can enter through the auction house itself, by far the easiest way is through the Haunch of Venison Yard - the entrance to which is on Brook Street. There's a dedicated restaurant entrance there which brings you directly into the bar area.

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

There are plenty of spaces here, from the pretty chaotic Davy's Wine Bar around the corner to the glamour of Claridges. But the downstairs bar here at Emilia is also rather lovely. There are plenty of tables and it's got its own bar snacks menu if you just fancy pitching up and having a glass of wine and some snacks.

diningroomThe upstairs dining room at Emilia.

So where should we sit?

The dining room here is pretty small, so it's mainly tables of two with banquette seating down one side and larger tables on the other. But the room has windows on both sides, so it would be lovely at lunchtimes too and was flooded with light on an early evening in May.

What's on the menu?

As you might have guessed by the menu, the food here is inspired by the north Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. Chef Stuart Andrew (current head chef of Clipstone and now executive chef of both restaurants) has created the style of menu you'd be familiar with from their other establishments but new here is a pasta section. Here's what we had:

trotterCrispy pig's trotter with a more summery than it sounds accompaniment of lentils, salsa verde and celeriac (£13)

vitelloVitello tonnato with straciatella and herbs (£14) - a modish variant on a dish we normally adore but we'd probably have preferred it old school style.

brodoSmoked eel tortellini in brodo (£14) - we split this course between us so each of us had a small bowl of this intensely fragrant broth with delicate pasta parcels.

monkfishMonkfish with datterini tomatoes, courgettes and a langoustine sauce (£30) - beautiful both to look at and eat.

venisonHaunch of venison with carrots, rainbow chard and walnuts - (£32) a meaty nod to the restaurant's address here in Haunch of Venison Yard.

And for dessert...

almondcakeAlmond cake with loquats, honey and camomile (£10) - the winner in the dessert section for us.

lemontartLemon and pine nut tart with milk ice-cream (£9) - a fine tart with a lovely light lemony taste.

What about vegetarians?

There's plenty of dishes to enjoy here from those courgette fritti to a pasta side of tagliatelle with violet artichokes, peas, mint and ricotta. And the mains tart of wilted greens with young leeks, radishes, morels and pheasant eggs sounded really good too.

And to drink?

If you really want to go for something special, the restaurant works with the Bonhams wine auction team to offer some exciting bottles - even better due to their enomatic machine you can try some of these by the glass. If budget allows, we'd urge you to start with a glass of their Charpentier Champagne (£14) which was gorgeous. We stuck to the wines by the glass here - including a very drinkable Cretan Assyrtiko (£6) and there's also a selection available by carafe too.

Overall thoughts:

It would be a shame to let the folk who frequent the Bonhams auctions to have all the fun here. Emilia would make a cracking place to have lunch if you're thinking about your next art or jewellery acquisition but it's also a really lovely spot for anyone shopping in the west end or just looking for somewhere less 'Mayfair' to eat in W1.


More about Emilia

Where is it? 7 Haunch of Venison Yard, London W1K 5ES

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @emiliamayfair.

Book Emilia


Subscribe to be the first to get the news from Hot Dinners

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy.