Bacchanalia, the latest Berkeley Square institution from Richard Caring’s dining empire (AKA Caprice Holdings), is an apologetically swanky destination, occupying glitzy premises at One Mount Street, formerly a Porsche showroom.
A hedonistic haven for the senses, the exquisitely decorated restaurant and bar oozes opulence with a theme imagined in an ancient Greco-Roman era, with a highly curated menu celebrating Mediterranean cuisine to match.
The scene is set almost as soon as you transcend through the doors and are greeted by a plethora of grand artworks, the piece de resistance of which is five Instagrammable sculptures hanging pride of place overlooking the restaurant floor.
In keeping with the whole ethos of mythology echoed throughout the lavish jaunt, Hirst’s creations depict figures synonymous with the theme – namely a unicorn, a lion, a pair of lovers atop a unicorn, Bacchus, another unicorn and a Medusa (which notably resembles his girlfriend Sophie Cannell).
A showstopping mural adorns the main wall courtesy of artist Gary Myatt, who has taken a modern interpretation of the legendary Romans in their Decadence painting with subtle nods to the 21st-century shown through iPhones and laptops making their way onto the piece.
The décor in itself is enough of a marvel to understand the allure of Bacchanalia, but it’s the food, cocktails and enviable wine list that really makes this place one for the list.
Culinary Director Athinagoras Kostakos (who also counts stints at Caring’s Mykonian ventures Noema and Scorpios) is behind the menu, which champions sharing dishes of Meditteranean cuisine across Raw dishes, starters, salads, pasta and Food From The Gods, otherwise known as mains.
The portion sizes are generous, so the sharing concept is key when ordering; Caviar is available should it take your fancy, and we’d recommend around three of four dishes per person to enjoy a taste of the delicacies on offer.
To start, the Red Mullet Ceviche is a must-try; be sure also to order the Grilled Octopus, one of the hero dishes. It comes served in a Greek faca purée, which acts as a nice dipping sauce and is cooked to perfection. Try one of the Roman Flatbreads too, as they make for a nice sharer; the Nduja, aubergine and roasted tomato sauce is a standout, simple yet well executed and hits the spot.
For the mains, you can’t really go wrong with Bacchanalia’s Lobster Paccheri Pasta. Think the finest helpings of lobster with pasta in a devilishly indulgent creamy sauce, with the option to add caviar and black truffle.
For meatier dishes, the Lamb Souvlaki is a good shout and showcases the Grecian flavours on offer, served with a tzatziki like yoghurt and salad; the lamb is beautifully done and is a good all-rounder dish. Another signature dish is the Salt Crust Sea Bass, a crowd-pleaser; it comes in a nice citrus dressing and is served on an equally extravagant silver platter.
If you plan to dine as a group, then the Feasting Menu is a great option. Available for groups of seven or more, it’s the perfectly paired selection of the most popular dishes, including the Salt Crust Sea Bass, Strip Loing Tagliata and favourites to share, such as the Sea Bream Carpaccio and Cherry Tomato Salad.
Dessert-wise, Hirst’s Medusa sculpture has been made available in edible form until the end of September in Bacchanalia’s Desserts of Art offering. Three desserts, Medusa, Jupiter and Neptune, have been created, the hero of which is Medusa, a replica of the overhanging sculpture; it comprises coconut and tonka cream with exotic fruit and coco nibs.
With such a theatrical affair portrayed through the décor, food and overt glamour, it’s clear why Bacchanalia has won the hearts of the Mayfair set already. DJs perform at weekends, and the bar offers an extensive wine list covering some of the finest vintages in the world.
Text by Jaz Grewal