Latest opening: The Aubrey

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Aubrey Japanese restaurant Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in Knightsbridge Maximal Concepts

Related tags: The Aubrey, Maximal Concepts, Hotels, Japanese cuisine

An izakaya restaurant has replaced the site left vacant by Bar Boulud at five-star hotel Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in Knightsbridge.

What:​ An ‘eccentric’ izakaya at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. In the space that was left vacant by Bar Boulud, The Aubrey offers creative cocktails alongside a high-end Japanese menu.

Who:​ The Aubrey is the UK debut for the Hong Kong-based Maximal Concepts. Founded in 2012, the hotel restaurant specialist operates venues in Hong Kong, Vancouver, Las Vegas and Singapore. Its portfolio includes Cantonese restaurant brand Mott 32, BBQ and seafood restaurant Limewood and Thai bar restaurant format Sip Song. The Aubrey London follows the launch of The Aubrey Hong Kong early last year, which is also based in a Mandarin Oriental hotel. The group is headed by Malcolm Wood, Xuan Mu and Matt Reid

The vibe:​ Err, vibey. Given its location in one of London’s most exclusive hotels, Bar Boulud was a relatively egalitarian affair with an all-day feel. The Aubrey is looking to attract a more luxe, style-conscious crowd and is perhaps a better fit for the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park than the windowless site's previous occupant, of which all trace has been removed. Brady Williams has delivered an undeniably pretty venue that takes its cues from the Japonisme movement. The large space - which has a much softer and lighter aesthetic than most top-end Japanese places in London - has been divided up to create lots of small spaces. Overall it’s a highly effective bit of restaurant design, but whether the look and feel of the place is in any way reminiscent of an izakaya - a casual Japanese drinking den - is up for debate. 

The food:​ The menu lists most of the dishes one would expect to find in a top-end Japanese restaurant but is tightly written. Things kick off with caviar and oysters (the latter start at an eye-watering £6 a pop) before moving onto starters and snacks; a large selection of salads; sushi and sashimi; tempura; robata-cooked dishes; and rice and noodles. Dishes include charcoal chicken karaage with yuzu mayo; crab korokke with tonyu béchamel; saikyo miso sablefish; and a £78 A4 wagyu sando. The sushi is made in the edomae style, a more premium Tokyo-style preparation that originated in Japan’s Edo period.  

The drinks:​ Cocktails start at £15 but are typically around the £20 mark and include the likes of The Black Cat (Teeda rum, umeshu, Port Charlotte whisky, Okinawa sugar); and Flowers of Edo (Nikka from The Barrel, house-made yuzu soda). As one would expect, sake comes next in the pecking order with The Aubrey focusing on emerging breweries as well as ‘rare and unusual’ releases. 

And another thing:​ The Aubrey is also offering what is being billed as London’s first omakase cocktail experience, in which a series of drinks are created for each guest based on their favourite spirits and flavours. 


Related topics: Openings, Restaurant

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