SixtyOne restaurant review: French meets British in this relaxed, fine dining Marylebone establishment
As I have mentioned in previous blog posts this year, Marylebone has become the hot new postcode in town with many budding restaurateurs choosing the area to set up shop. One such new establishment is Sixtyone in south Marylebone, one of the latest additions to the Searcys brand, which opened at the end of 2013. Headed by Chef Patron Arnaud Stevens, the cuisine is described as ‘old world French cooking and flavours with the very best English ingredients’. Within its first year, Sixtyone achieved three AA Rosettes so I had high hopes for my meal.
A group of five of us booked a Saturday evening meal through OpenTable to celebrate my sister’s birthday in October. As we booked quite last-minute, we found there wasn’t much availability – always a good sign if a place is in hot demand – so we opted for an early seating at 6pm. Upon arrival, the waiter politely informed us the restaurant was fully booked so we couldn’t have the table too long which is fair enough on a Saturday.
The dining room is fairly small, with just over 60 covers, providing an intimate and cosy space. Crisp white table cloths cover round tables with beige leather seats providing a comfortable place to rest. We had opted for the set menu deal of 3 courses for £29, but there is an option to go à la carte. Opened in partnership with Searcys, there is – as you would expect – a comprehensive and high-quality wine list, including champagnes and cocktails. In a somewhat controversial move, we ordered a bottle of the Prosecco Porte Leone (£38) as the birthday girl prefers the Italian bubbly over its French rival.
I rarely mention bread baskets when I write reviews, but I must make an exception for Sixtyone. We were presented with an unusual mix of breads in different flavours and patterns, served with a light and airy slab of butter on stone. The bread was exquisite and we had to restrain ourselves for the fear of ruining the rest of our meal by filling ourselves with it. For starters I opted for the Mussel Chowder, a thick, creamy comfort food with a subtle flavour. However, the popular dish amongst my party appeared to be the ‘Pig on Toast’ – a pork pâté served with walnuts on toast and a bed of pickled pear, which was an unusual mix of flavours, but tasted succulent and more-ish.
For our mains, I ordered the Roast Cod, Coco Bean, Bisque and Terrine. The cod was cooked perfectly with the white meat nice and light and the flavours really meshing well together. Meanwhile, many of my companions opted for the Lake District Beef Shoulder with Onion Emulsion and Sea Vegetables, which was rich and juicy and deemed delicious all round.
Despite our filling initial courses, we all had room for dessert. I chose the Raspberry and Cinnamon Tart served with sorbet. The pastry had a hint of moistness and a good crunch, while the fruit and sorbet were delicious. The cinnamon was incredibly subtle, which suited given its accompanying fruit. One of my party opted for Caramelised Braeburn and Specaloos (spiced shortcrust biscuit), which they said was a light and homely dessert.
Overall, the food was good and the unusual mix of flavours worked well. The service was attentive and speedy, although never in a way to disrupt the relaxing vibe of the restaurant. I would definitely recommend for a nice evening out for a couple or group.
- Sixtyone, 61 Upper Berkeley Street, Marylebone, W1H 7PP. Nearest tube: Marble Arch. For more information and booking, visit the Sixtyone website.
For more of Metro Girl’s restaurant reviews, click here.