What: A two-floor 35-cover restaurant located just off London’s Regent Street serving modern seasonal British dishes. The bright ground floor restaurant seats 29 while beneath is a six-seat private chef’s table with a different menu and a darker aesthetic.
Who: Chef-patron Mark Jarvis is the man behind the project, and he’s taken Sam Ashton-Booth, former head chef at his other restaurant Anglo, to head up the kitchen. Front of house is run by restaurant manager Emma Underwood, who has made the move from Stockport restaurant Where The Light Gets In. The wine list is overseen by operations manager Jon Cannon, formerly of Restaurant Story and the short-lived Shotgun.
The vibe: The site is owned by The Crown Estate and is part of a significant regeneration project to increase both restaurant and retail presence in the Regent Street area. As such, it sits in that strange area of Mayfair that doesn’t really attract spill over from Knightsbridge or people in nearby Carnaby Street who are often unwilling to cross the tracks that is Regent Street. Possibly anticipating this, Jarvis has kept the restaurant small and light with granite tabletops and plum-coloured leather banquettes that make it equally attractive for lunch or dinner. The subterranean chef’s table is an altogether darker and more immersive experience, and at the moment feels like something of a hidden gem.
The menu: Stem offers a la carte as well as tasting and express lunch menus, with most starters at £10 and mains £15-£27 (the five-course tasting menu is £60). Fans of Anglo will recognise Ashton-Booth’s simplistic approach but with a flourish, seen in the likes of dishes including new season asparagus, duck egg and tarragon cream; pigeon, beetroot, grilled onion, peanut and cherry; smoked chicken tortellini, braised leek hearts and lovage; and roast saddle of lamb, artichoke, courgette and basil. The wine list comprises some 65 bins with bottles starting at £25, and 15 wines by the glass also on offer.
And another thing: Jarvis isn’t a stranger to the more off-pitch locations of Mayfair. He also runs Neo Bistro, this time just off Oxford Street.
5 Princes St, Mayfair, London