Wild Honey opened earlier this year, following in the footsteps of its acclaimed elder sister Arbutus, which now has a Michelin star. Situated in Mayfair, in contrast to Arbutus’ Soho location, the formula is nevertheless similar. Wild Honey offers the same set lunch and dinner menus, and the quirky but clever initiative of selling all their wines by the carafe (250ml), which allows diners to sample the more expensive ones on the list. The formula clearly works for Arbutus, so my friend and I headed off to Wild Honey to see why it’s been doing so well.
The dining room is long and quite narrow, with oak walls and banquette seating down one side of the room. It’s more intimate than Arbutus, which is a bit too stark for my liking. Service was friendly too, to the extent that the waiter gave me the menus and wine lists to take away with me, to save me from frantically scribbling down everything. Both Wild Honey and Arbutus pride themselves on simplicity and seasonality, so unsurprisingly, the menus were not that dissimilar. Of course, the dishes were different, but not the style and presentation.
What we ordered:
Neither my friend nor I were that hungry, which was a shame, as we only had a main course each. Scanning the mains quickly, I inevitably chose the roast Scottish beef (Buccleugh), baked onion, autumn vegetable puree (£14.95), while my friend tried to decide between two fish dishes – the piece of plaice, nut brown butter with shrimps (£16.95) and the halibut, mushroom risotto, braised celery (£14.95), eventually settling for the latter. Another option for me would have been the roast black leg chicken, glazed salsify, brussel tops (£16.95). We also had the Wild Honey cocktail – prosecco with Braeburn apple puree (£8.50), which was rather nice!
My beef came medium/medium-rare, which was perfect for me. Not too tender, not too tough, it had a nice texture and the two pieces were a generous size. It also came with a portion of gratin dauphinoise, which was a nice surprise. Although it was a tiny bit too salty for me, it was neverthless eaten up. The halibut was incredibly fresh too. None of the desserts appealed, particularly as we really weren’t hungry to start off with. Looking at the menu from home though, I could easily have the classic baked egg custard tart with clementine marmalade (£5.95) or the Wild honey ice cream, with crushed honeycomb (£5.95).
Based on just two main dishes, I’m loathe to make a rounded judgement on Wild Honey. But the other choices on the menu sounded very tempting. I also like simple menus. With 7 starters, 7 mains and 5 desserts, the diner isn’t left confused. The bill came to £62, with two mains, cocktails, water and one coffee. I think I’d return on a very empty stomach to enjoy a three course meal and then reach a proper decision about Wild Honey. Additionally, breakfast is also served here, including a Full English Breakfast (eggs, sausages, bacon, tomato, mushroom and black pudding) for £13.25.