This is a nice, cool restaurant just off Fleet St, near a very old church. I guess the food is a combination of Scandinavian and British, but not overly slanted in either direction. Quite a few seafood choices, but also lamb, pork, etc.
I was quite impressed. To start with the service was impeccable throughout. As for the menu, it was one of the best I've experienced in some time. It's been a long time since I've had trouble choosing, because I literally wanted to try everything.
For my starter I decided on Devon crab. I saw the crabs on ice as I walked in, reflected in a slanted mirror near the kitchen, and I had to go with that choice. Others at my table had the salmon tartare, and some tried the house-smoked salmon. There was smoked eel available, which I would like to try on a return visit.
Our host, taking the advice of the on-staff sommelier, selected a nice crisp Chablis to accompany our starters. It was a very good choice.
For my main dish I tried the aged Middle White pork - the artfully plated slice of pork was delicious in itself, and had crackling both on the slice itself but also was accompanied by two detached pieces, like tiny mexican "chicharones". The plate had a nice thin gravy, and a section of baked apple of some type, and some baked onion as well, to accompany the meat.
This was going to be my last chance to try Middle White pork - I love British rare breed pork, but I always found this particular type a bit plain - something told me to try it once more, and I'm glad I did. It had a delicious full pork flavor - perhaps it was the 55 days of aging. In all, a top quality piece of meat.
As I mentioned previously, there were various seafood choices, which some of my companions ordered and raved about.
Onto dessert, and again, there were some nice choices, including a selection of British cheeses. I again wanted everything, but I ended up choosing a mango parfait with roasted pineapple and coconut with meringue. Even though I didn't choose the cheese plate, I watched with interest as the everpresent French-British rivalry of my colleagues reared its head, but in this case it was a friendly rivalry, and the French team willingly conceded that they were very impressed with the cheese selection.
I didn't have time for after dinner drinks, but I noticed a fine selection of armagnacs and whiskys on a cart as I left the restaurant.
Very good food here and great service. Will definitely come back!!
Lutyens is a pretty fancy Scandinavian restaurant on Fleet Street. The restaurant in the back is super fancy, but in the front there's a bar with a really nice lunch menu (for about half the price). Lots of seafood, open faced sandwiches, and it just seems to exude healthiness (except for the fish and chips... they're probably not that healthy!).
While you're there, check out St. Bride's Church right next door. The crypts beneath the church date back to Roman times, with everything in between also represented - the Saxons built a church on that site, followed by the Normas, etc. Very cool historical site! It's also the "Spiritual Home of the Media, so there's a permanent memorial to journalists who have died on the job
I visited Lutyens last week during a business trip to London. The menu is classic dishes. In my opinion the menu is poorly laid out.It doesn't have a clear flow and did cause some confusion around the table .
After getting to grips with the menu I opted for the Crab Gnocchi to start. it was full of flavour and had a generous amount of crab but the Gnocchi was a little over cooked. At around £13 it was a fairly expensive starter so I was a little disappointed that the Gnocchi wasn't quite right.
For the main course, a medium Sirloin steak. It was cooked perfectly and well seasoned.
The vegetables were nicely cooked and the potato gratin was excellent. Lutyens also has a good selection of wines.
The atmosphere inside the restaurant is a little sterile but the decoration is fresh and modern. If you're looking for somewhere quiet to have a nice meal this is on the whole a good place.
Two weeks after my visit do I finally walk past and realise that the front door sparkles the name of 'Luytens' at the building on 85 Fleet Street.
Knowing it was a new Conran venture, based within two minutes from our workplace and just outside the beautiful St. Brides Church on Fleet Street, made Luytens a simple choice of venue for a work dining event that proved an agreeable choice for all attending.
After a little trouble with the booking more than 10 people and then the number being changed again, our party was well accommodated by the superb waiting staff upon arrival. The locality is an area full of historic ale pubs and wine bars, so the front bar area of Luytens is different. It ooozses style, in fresh creams and blues that would appeal to the local legal and financial working communities for a bit of after work drinking. Open a few days, there was not an empty seat and two weeks later I walk past and see it remains like this.
I am not sure if they take booking for the front bar, but I would book if wishing to attend midweek early evenings as this will be the most popular place this side of St. Pauls until Christmas.
By then, the restaurant, located at the back of the venue past a lobby and greeting area will be busy regularly I am sure. On the night I attend it is only half full. It seems to many a bit of a gamble in the current climate to be opening a new venture in a historic part of London, but the building is a star here meaning that minimal can mean majestic without being meaningless.
The lobby, hosting the stairs to private dining rooms, bathrooms and a well stocked wine cellar, seems to have enough storage space for a full house of diners upstairs and downstairs.
I ate in the large rectangular dining room which seems a touch serene washed in whites and creams and half covered windows allow some summer evening daylight past white curtains, white table cloths, white floors and white clashing with the stainless steel kitchen located next the tables. You will be please to see some dark fish and pink lobsters just to regain a colour perspective.
The menu at Luytens is classic modern Europeans and fish heavy. Being part of a large party I saw a variety of dishes served to exactly the standards you would hope of a Conran restaurant. Snails were complemented by a French diner I sat beside, the selection of cured meats I had were fantastic and well sourced to be combined together whilst the other diners told me fish and seafood dishes were very good. A starter varied from £5 - £20 per head.
Main dishes again did not disappoint, with fish stealing more than half the menu space and the specials board upon my visit it stole more than half the table space too. I had a wonderful stake and shrimp dish which I would recommend as the shrimps came in a sauce and had been reduced to intensify their flavour served upon a fat bony stake fish. A steak dish I saw looked like a good cut, cooked to order and a decent portion size. This is the place for a wide variety of fish and mains are £8 - £35.
Desserts here are limited affair and choosing one will disappoint. I write this because like the Eton Mess I choose it was not as good as the cake I missed out on, but that person wanted to swap for a splendid little fruit tart. So this sweet experience lost its form, replaced by the desire of experimentation. Without a clear winner it seems desserts at £4 - 10 are to leave a sweet taste, but not a satisfying one in the opening weeks of this venture.
FinallyI have to say the wine list had a variety of choice which should be suitable to all. I enjoyed the Red Malbec with my meal and the service is the excellent, almost slightly overbearing, but not quiteand with service, value and great surroundings you will understand why I believe some people will think that by 2009 that Luytens was always here. It just had a refurb in early 2008 didn't it?
Lutyens is not a gastro-temple, nor is it your down-at-home, rustic foodie den ( see- Terroirs, St John Bread & Wine or Anchor and Hope) Lutyens is an understated, comfortable restaurant on Fleet Street that serves well-executed dishes from a menu of bistro classics.
On a recent visit for my girlfriend's birthday we enjoyed spanking fresh oysters (12- speciales de claires), a great steak tartare, a classic veal Holstein and the best dish of the day- rabbit and bacon with mustard sauce, then some cheeses.
Seems simple doesn't it? and that's the thing with Lutyen's- they do the simple things well- the oysters were super fresh,the steak tarare was perfectly seasoned using flavoursome beef, the veal Holstein was well executed- the meat tender, the egg perfectly cooked, the whole well seasoned, the rabbit was farmed(not as tasty as wild but superbly tender), the bacon was proscuttio, enveloping the leg-itself holding a delicious garlic butter within and the smooth mustard sauce- flecked with fresh tarragon( unadvertised but wholly welcome, it brought every element of the dish together and really made the dish"sing"- as some chefs say!) and the cheeses were a well chosen selection of different styles, both French and British-perfectly kept and served. Service was attentive and slick and the wine we had was interesting and great value- a young Chinon.
It is so rare to get a restaurant ticking all these boxes, sure, if you want gastronomic fireworks you may be better off in the hands of Mr Blumenthal or Ms Darroze, but for a little slice of perfection give me Lutyens any day.
Smart, not stuffy, but a little bit urm sterile. Great staff, decent drink, but really very little 'life' to speak of. Perhaps it's because it's situated op an investment bank and they're not a happy bunch right now, or it's just not managed to capture that ambience I look for in a bar. By all means pop in for a drink, but i have the feeling it's a bit of an under achiver considering it's potential.
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