Suze in Mayfair
41 North Audley St
Westminster W1K 6ZP
I was starting to get bored…one might argue I get bored easily, but hey…after mouldy basements, garlicky pools, food-that-tastes-all-the-same, don’t I deserve a treat??? Finally, it really felt like going out on a Friday night dinner! We even forgot we were on a mission; proper dinner in a proper restaurant…wow! The chocolate and cream interior reminded me of a French bistro; huge paintings (on sale, I think…) on the wall, tablecloths would help make it prettier and would cover the post-office look of the tables… Just personal taste… We had tea-lights though and tea-lights always deserve a brownie point! What can I say? A fairy heart beats in my chest!

Waitress very nice, friendly, super quick. I guess they had to be since the place was getting full at the speed of light. The only downside was I ended up eating faster than I would have liked; the staff was walking non-stop, back and forth, checking tables. Once. Twice. I felt they were waiting for my plate to put the dishwasher on. Edo was totally oblivious since this was all happening behind his back. But what did he care about speed? He doesn’t chew anyway: he hoovers up!!!

And what did WE hoovered up this time? I had mushroom soup with soy sauce and coriander. It was thick, coarse and salty but believe it or not, in a really good way. No unwanted elements spoiling the flavour: just mushrooms and loads of it; which is exactly what you expect to find in a mushroom soup! Then, seafood platter with salt & pepper squids (so crispy…so, so deliciously crispy…) prawns with I-don’t-know-what tasty sauce, manouka smoked salmon flakes (yippeeeee! Down on boring salmon for a change!), and mussels; just three of the latter but so big I mistook them for the fishermen who caught them! Edo had two small starters (tapas size): salt & pepper squids and kangaroo fillet with mango sauce. The kangaroo was ok, thinly sliced, not far from a good seared beef, but the mango sauce left you speechless. It reminded me of Hawaii; actually, it didn’t just remind me of the sea, the beach, the sun, the smell of fresh ripe fruit…I was swimming, sunbathing, lavishly eating from the trees and people probably noticed that so I had to let the kangaroo jump away and recompose myself. As a main, Edo had grilled swordfish with chunky chips. I didn’t try it, but he said it was good. Then, hovering his finger between pavlova and banana bread, he went bananas…ah, ah, ah!!! I think I hadn’t seen a banana bread like that in ages: not the dry, boring, sugary sponge you usually get served, but moist, brown, luxurious small slices of something closer to a “budino” than a pathetic loaf. Vanilla ice-cream came with. Two double espressos to seal the deal, 50% off the total thanks to our “special card” and off we went, like two happy bunnies! I have –against my will – to point out we went over the budget (£70) thanks to the two LARGE (of course) glasses of Cloudy Bay, which probably cost more than dinner itself. But I said it from the beginning: we needed a treat. Yes, I did: third line…go read…

  • Food: 4.5
  • Ambience: 4
  • Service: 4
  • Value: 4.5
  • Overall: 4.25
Yes! At last! As we approach the end of the letter A, I find a place which truly delivers. The Algerian had been great except it was in no man’s land at end of the known universe and did not serve wine. Also, in fairness, it had great character but was a little bit rough round the edges. This one was good in a way that extends beyond the context of this blog: it’s a place where I would happily go back on a Saturday night with a bunch of friends.

We were fortunate to find this little gem, as we had had a long discussion at the time of choosing on whether it was Australian enough, or too generically Australasian (i.e. Kiwi as well). The kangaroo in the menu did it for me, so we went.

To begin with, it’s in a civilized place 300 yards from our Club, not an area I would have to go to expressly. I had dinner 200 yards away last Sunday. The patrons are aligned with the Mayfair theme in appearance and clothing, no Brixton types or Kabul types. There are beautiful paintings on the walls which are for sale. I would have seriously thought about buying one if only I had a spare wall big enough: they are great, I could not stop staring at them. The place is essentially a trendy café, well presented, vibrant. The only downside is the absence of table cloths: it would have been so Madison Avenue, so much slicker with pristine white table cloths. Anyway, first impressions very good.

Service is personal, kind and efficient. Our waitress was South African (I think) and probably the only person not from Oz or New Zealand based on the accents I was hearing. All the staff were young and beautiful which is exactly how it is in Oz!

I had seared kangaroo with a mango dip taster to start. The kangaroo tasted like beef and melted in your mouth, and the mango dip was delicious albeit slightly unbalanced for the meat. Also too little meat.
Then I had a deep fried baby squid taster which was the tenderest squid in the fluffiest casing, honestly one of the best squids I have ever had.

For main I had swordfish, simply grilled, with lemon, chunky chips and tartar sauce. The fish was super juicy and tasty, the chips fabulous.

For dessert I had banana bread with ice cream, which was OK.

On the whole food was good, well presented, not particularly daring but very tasty and making the best of the core ingredients.

We drank a large glass of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc each, one of the great Sauvignon Blancs of the world, which is kiwi and cost more than all the food for each of us but I don’t care. I have a bit of an aversion for Australian wine, besides they make mostly reds. The Cloudy Bay was like rolling yourself in a field of flowers and lemons, it was like a gentle breeze caressing your soul. When wine is good it’s almost like sex.

Value for money was terrific, and became even better thanks to Monica’s Taste London Card. This restaurant goes straight into the greater league, my restaurant über-spreadsheet I have been keeping for the last five and a half years. This place revived our enthusiasm in our mission, which was beginning to wane after a series of rather depressing evenings.

  • Food: 3
  • Ambience: 4
  • Service: 3
  • Value: 4
  • Overall: 3.5