Nestled in a quiet residential area just off the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street lies The Arch, a 82 room, five star hotel situated in a Grade 2 listed building. When Madonna lives over the road, you know you’re in good company! Seven town houses have been combined to create this gorgeous boutique hotel with a chilled out vibe, incredible art, and a child- and dog-friendly policy. You can’t ask better than that! (I’m holding out for a reservation…)
The hotel’s restaurant, Hunter 486, has an open kitchen and wood-fired oven in which they cook incredible dishes like braised lamb shank, monkfish, and goat’s cheese tart. We were invited along to sample the new wine menu, which boasts 24 wines and champagne by the glass (which you can also enjoy in their gorgeous booths, too!). I love the fact that you can order by the glass, as not only does it give you the opportunity to try new varieties, but it also means you can ensure each course has a matched glass – and the wait staff will be more than happy to offer you recommendations! Hunter 486 has a fabulous menu that celebrates British produce and flavours, making it a great shout for tourists as well as hardened Londoners.
To start we had homemade olive and soda bread, served with unsalted butter and olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The olive bread was light and chewy with a crispy crust, while the soda bread was satisfyingly dense, malted and sweet with an aftertaste of deep, dark treacle. In fact, this was so good I ordered another round! I can never resist the bread basket…
For our starters, Michael had French onion soup from the express menu, and I had dressed Dorset crab with apple and fennel and curry mayonnaise. The soup was deep, rich and full of umami flavours, topped with a golden disc of gooey cheese – a truly classic dish cooked with confidence and style.
The crab was fresh and light – contrasting with the crisp, sweet apple and rich curry mayonnaise. I loved the combination of textures and flavours – I’d definitely recommend this as a delightful, light and complex dish, and the curry mayonnaise is a gorgeous addition. The caramelised crouton was fabulous too! To accompany the crab, I enjoyed a light Villa Maria Clifford Bay Reserve Sauvignon blanc, which was beautifully effervescent on the tongue and a fabulous match to the fresh seafood dish.
Onto the next course, and I ordered the Hunter fish stew with saffron and garlic mayonnaise. It catapulted me back to Marseille thanks to its rich, oily tomato base, adorned with a crispy round crouton topped with wobbly, smokey, garlicky yellow mayonnaise. The stew was studded with perfectly poached mussels and clams, which shared the dish with nuggets of salmon and cod, and the combination was absolutely gorgeous. It was paired with the Venetian Passori Rosso, which has a rich, deep plum flavour and dried fruit notes that lifted the dish and really made it sing.
Michael had the Hunter burger medium rare, which was served with a sweet, chewy brioche bun and fries on the side in a wire basket. The fries were brittle in their crispness and seasoned to perfection – like I always say, the sides are key when it comes to steak and burgers! The burger was cooked to order exactly – maybe more seasoning could have contributed to the depth of flavour (but of course, salt and pepper are freely available on the table!), but the meat was coarsely ground and harmonised with the sweet onions marmalade that was slathered on the bun.
On the side, we had braised peas and roast root vegetables, as well as the fries (which came with the burger). The peas were simmered with sweet onion and stock – actually one of my favourite sides, this would be perfect with chicken. Meanwhile the root vegetables were sweet and tender, finished in that wood-fired oven with a caramelised edge.
Are you ready for dessert? Hunter 486 gets massive props from me for the addition of this picture-perfect dish, which consisted of an orange, pomegranate and mascarpone sorbet on top of thinly sliced fresh orange, adorned with a brittle, crisp slice of tangy dried orange, and scattered with sugared almonds. I adored this light, sweet dish and the contrast between the soft sorbet, the zingy, juicy citrus, and the crunchy nuts – a gorgeously balanced pud.
Michael ordered the chocolate fondant, which came with a malty, unctuous salted caramel ice cream and some toothsome peanut brittle. Darkly rich and sticky, this achingly sweet fondant was cooked to perfection with a runny interior that flooded the dish when broken open with a spoon. Perfection!
If you thought that was the end – you’re wrong. Delicate petits fours accompanied tea and coffee – the perfect way to end a fantastic meal!
Hunter 486 is a fantastic British bistro with a warm atmosphere and a totally relaxing vibe. Head to their site here to see the menus, and to book your table!
My meal at Hunter 486 was complimentary for the purposes of this review. My opinions and photography are my own.