The Twenty Two
If being greeted by approximately 78 waitstaff during your short journey from the front door to your table doesn’t make you feel like you’re kind of a big deal, we’re not sure anything will. While it’s nice to think the servers at Mayfair’s The Twenty Two might have mistaken you for a (very) distant relative of Beyoncé, that’s just how this spot rolls.
The British-Mediterranean restaurant is ideal for a not-so-casual birthday when you’re pretending that you’ve outgrown birthdays but want to do so in an aesthetically-pleasing room. Or when you’re in the mood for the kind of hefty portions of pasta that’ll make you grateful you’re sitting on a sofa. Or even if you really just need a bunch of attentive servers rushing to your side whenever you drop a fork to give you an ego boost. The Twenty Two can do all of that. Because any meal here feels like a special occasion.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
There’s a calming energy in the morning, and it’s one of the only times you’ll even remember that you’re on the ground floor of a hotel. The breakfast crowd ranges from guests starting their day with a full English, to people in suits discussing business over ricotta and blueberry pancakes. But the evening is when you should be here—dinner is the main event, and your reason to come. It’s when the pale blue room gets more lively, when a single, flickering candle is placed on each white-clothed table, and when the server comes over to recommend one of their classic cocktails or mocktails. Best of all, you can come wearing jeans and with your friend in their electric pink co-ord, and neither of you will look out of place. Much like a good shirt, this is a restaurant that can be dressed up or down.
Twenty Two’s elegant, Grade II-listed dining room says it’s OK—no, it’s expected—to get oysters, spend £22 on cacio e pepe, and then order a £60 lobster thermidor. The menu has a big emphasis on fresh flavours and it’s a pescatarian’s dream. Be sure to get the creamy octopus croquettes and share a whole roasted monkfish. Our personal favourite though is the buttery dover sole with tangy capers. The rest of the menu—whether it’s the perfectly pink halal lamb loin with ricotta, or sunny pasta al limone—are dishes that won’t disappoint.
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This starter is pricier than some of the mains, but it’s also excellent. Meaty and tender, each prawn is covered in an umami-rich seaweed butter.
Cacio E Pepe
A generous portion of pasta in a creamy white sauce that can easily be shared, this is a cheese lover’s dream. Heavy on the cheese and light on the black pepper, it’s a satisfying and very filling dish.
Grilled Dover Sole
A tender, perfectly cooked piece of fish, dredged in a brown butter and lemon sauce, topped with tangy capers. This glorious light and buttery number is a simple dish done perfectly.
Loin of Lamb
Although the seafood here is top tier, if you’re in the mood for meat, this tender lamb is cooked medium well and served with ricotta, which adds some very welcome light creaminess to the dish. It pairs very well with their buttery mashed potatoes which look like they’ve been piped into the bowl by an artist.