This review is of Pollen Street Social, a restaurant recently opened by Jason Atherton. The first British chef to stage at El Bulli, Jason later worked for many years for Gordon Ramsay’s empire, latterly running Michelin-starred Maze. After his departure in 2010, Jason opened a restaurant in Shanghai called Table No. 1 before returning to London. Pollen Street Social is located at 8/10 Pollen Street, Mayfair.
One of Gordon’s Argonauts, formerly helming Mayfair’s Maze –
Flamboyance was the old man’s game; here restraint woos our praise.
Jason, master of small portions, a jolly nice fellow to boot –
Well-travelled, back from the Bund, relentless in his cheffy pursuit.
Head to head with an Italian competitor, in tiny Pollen Street –
Social is the moniker, simple the design, jejune the receptive greet.
Two spaces, three concepts: restaurant, tapas counter, dessert bar –
Marbled loos, sunshine in the dining room, Jamons in the cellar.
A fish soup, hellish red, rises lordly above many a bouillabaisse –
Delicate yet confident, novel yet known, it sets the right pace.
Patience is a heavenly virtue, its earthly nemesis a sugary treat –
The dessert bar spins into action, fruta cru arrives – oh, sweeeet.
An ice bowl, draped with fruit, you’re given pincers, one winces –
Weeny poncey? Let’s have a pick. You want more, this convinces.
Dry ice poured, a smoking cabaret, this is shrewd, this is crude –
‘Tis to food, what Lambada is to dance; it is lewd, it is rude.
Eton Mess pops with wild strawberries, crunchy basil leaves, silky cream –
It susurrates no less seductive, soft-spoken, a sylvan gleam.
The chase for M-Starry beatification, the quest for the Golden Fleece –
Not Jason, his mind stays in the kitchen, with dishes that tickle and tease.
With elegant food yet casual charme, PSS manages the uniquest of feats –
Pleasing, wowing, bewitching, sating, it’s luring us back on the seats.
Reminiscent of the Cartesian duality of mind and matter –
Food for thought, here accomplished, will make you brood, and a little fatter.
Sauntering out, key in hand, you remember the box –
Unlocked comes a goodie bag, thanks muchly! Jason, this rocks.
– BY POETRY AND THE FEAST
POLLEN STREET SOCIAL
8/10 POLLEN STREET
LONDON W1S 1NQ
020 7290 7600