Where Showstopping Becomes the Standard
Just four months after its grand opening and it’s safe to say The Standard London is already home to some fairly extraordinary culinary plate spinning
words by Will HALBERT
photography by Charlie MCKAY
You’re no doubt familiar with visual metaphor of the circus plate-spinner. A classically-clad, Erich Brenn-esque figure flexing his multitasking skills in all their gyroscopic charm. An odd image to evoke, perhaps, but a fitting visual metaphor for what The Standard does best. Not content with simply doing one thing well, The Standard London pretty much excel in everything they do. Not only is the hotel itself a wondrously Kubrician feat of interior design (courtesy of Shawn Hausman), it’s also home to two diametrically-opposed but equally impressive dining experiences. Helmed by London’s own, award-winning Adam Rawson, both Isla and The Double Standard offer peerless experiences in two very different culinary fields.
Isla serves up a light and approachable seasonal menu that sings of the UK’s myriad of flora and fauna. The ‘From the Sea, from the Land and from the Soil’ structuring of the menu elevates the usual dining experience from sit down meal to something more akin to an adventure. Here’s one such adventure: Crab meat with seaweed and papas arrugadas make for a light, from-the-sea selection that paves the way for the from-the-soil Fuzi; a joyous cep mushroom, yolk, black truffle combination that excites without overwhelming. Follow this up with the aged beef chop in green peppercorn sauce for a hefty-yet-herbaceous little foray into from-the-land territory. Stay the course or flit between all three at the same time, the choice is yours. Alternatively, you could ignore my directions altogether, order up a glass of natural wine, and proceed to just off-road the whole thing, getting lost in the sheer, joyous, culinary excellence of it all.
‘The ‘From the Sea, from the Land and from the Soil’ structuring of the menu elevates the usual dining experience from sit down meal to something more akin to an adventure.’
Double Standard, on the other hand, is an altogether edgier, sleeker experience. The low light setting and stripped back bar aesthetic hint at something altogether more decadent. Think Mac ‘n Cheese, hotdog sliders, and big-as-your-hand pretzels, all prepared to Adam’s exacting standards. And for the in-for-a-penny-in-for-a-pounders, the cocktail menu offers plenty of opportunity to wash things down with a true dose of Double Standard indulgence. Their ‘From the Barrel’ Boulevardier, for instance, offers up a twist on a classic that is, in turn, a twist on a classic. Swapping out the gin in your run-of-the-mill Negroni for a barrel-aged rye whisky, Boulevardier offers the same infamously bittersweet charm of the Italian classic but with an added, American-style bite.
So it’s safe to say that The Standard London is spinning a fair few plates, to be sure. And it’s doing so with an enviable style, ease and élan to boot. It doesn’t end their, though. With a third restaurant – Decimo (to be helmed by acclaimed Bristolian chef, Peter Sanchez-Iglesias) – in the works for October, perhaps the most exciting thing about the The Standard London is the loud-and-clear message that the show is just
getting started. EJ