What: A large multi-faceted restaurant in Mayfair’s Hanover Square that seeks to offer all the attributes of a private member’s club without actually being one. Accessed through Medici Courtyard in the gardens of 20 Hanover Square, The Maine takes up the entirety of a pretty Georgian building and clocks in at a mighty 350 covers across five rooms and three floors. The launch of The Maine coincides with the opening of Hanover Square Park and Pace Gallery (much of the square has been behind a hoarding for the last few years).
Who: The Maine man - as it were - is Canadian-born restaurateur Joey Ghazal. This is his London debut and follows the opening of three Maine restaurants in Dubai. Ghazal actually started his hospitality career in London working at the original Soho House before returning to his native Montreal to work for high-profile restaurateur Peter Morentzos. He struck out on his own in 2009 and has since opened a dozen or so venues in the Middle East. Maine’s head chef is Stuart Caldwell (Roast, The Wolseley).
The vibe: Designed by BradyWilliams, The Maine ‘blends Old-World British elegance with New England extravagance’. That may be the overall theme, but the five zones are quite distinct from each other in design terms. The 100-cover terrace is enveloped by foliage and is billed as a modern take on a traditional English garden; the 60-cover The Drawing Room has a mid-century aesthetic and a giant capiz shell chandelier; the 40-cover The Tavern is a subterranean take on a British pub; the 120-cover The Brasserie has a ‘neo-speakeasy aesthetic’; and - finally - The Sanitarium has been designed to resemble an air raid shelter.
On the menu: As the name suggests, the venue has a New England flavour offering an American brasserie menu that’s partly inspired by Ghazal’s childhood summers in Maine and Vermont. Rather daringly, there are a total of four different food offers. The Brasserie offers large theatrical dishes including a ‘colossal’ shrimp cocktail; and a three-tier Poseidon platter while The Tavern majors in oysters and punchy small plates including the likes of fried chicken with caviar; short rib croquettes; pulled suckling pig on toast; and lobster poutine. The Drawing Room and Terrace offer the same all day-dining orientated menu alongside afternoon tea.
To drink: Most of the zones have distinct drink offers but look out for a 150-strong US and Canadian-focused wine list, martinis and the classic Canadian cocktail the Bloody Caesar (a Bloody Mary made with clamato juice).
And another thing: Ghazal regularly appears on Esquire’s The Best Dressed Men in the Middle East list and has been the face of several international brands, including Cognac house Rémy Martin.
6, Medici Courtyard, 20 Hanover Square, London W1S 1JY