Mayfair’s The Punchbowl gets a makeover
The Punchbowl in Mayfair was a public house that I first visited in the late 1990s. It had the typical swirly patterned, sticky carpets that you’d find in any establishment throughout the land. It probably hadn’t been redecorated once since the 1960s and frankly it wasn’t a place one could not imagine ordering a meal.
In 2008, The Punchbowl was sold to Guy Ritchie for a reported £2.5 million by “the son of [the] gangster Freddie Forman”. It had a makeover and became the haunt of him, his wife and the likes of David and Victoria Beckham. This traditional boozer turned into a party haunt and the clientele mixed not only the Berkeley Square hedge fund managers who’ve taken over the offices of the area but also Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr., Kevin Spacey and Justin Timberlake. All the time – and to this day – one fixture has remained in the form of the local schoolmaster: Whenever I’ve visited, not once has he not been found at his perch enjoying a gin and tonic.
Dating to around 1729, this Grade II listed Georgian public house was sold to a group run by Alexander Langlands-Pearse – who also runs such places as Chelsea’s iconic The Admiral Codrington and popular country establishment The Yew Tree Inn – in 2013.
Whilst little has altered about the décor downstairs, a new first floor dining space has been created from a previously dingy function room and above that there is now a stylish private room. It has been named ‘The Club’ and bringing an element of the country to the city, the staff wear outfits by the gun and rifle makers James Purdey & Sons.
In the kitchen, Nathan Andrews – formerly of Pétrus and Colbert – has developed a new menu focused around British dishes such as beef shin and bone marrow on dripping toast (£8.50) and pine smoked Yorkshire venison loin (£18.50).
Whilst traditional ales are obviously available, the wine writer Tim Atkin has been brought in to put together what is, naturally, a sophisticated wine list. Equally, gin is still in good supply in the form of such brands as Sipsmith and most importantly, one will still find the local headmaster holding court at the bar.
The Punchbowl, 41 Farm Street, London, W1J 5RP. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7493 6841.
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