Pavyllon London – Michelin Star Dining in Park Lane

Yannick Alléno is one of the world’s most renowned chefs and holds 16 Michelin stars among his 17 restaurants which are variously found in France, Monaco, Italy, Dubai, Qatar (read our review of Louis Vuitton Lounge By Yannick Alléno) and, recently, England. Three of these are called Pavyllon, the first of which launched on Paris’ famed Champs-Elysée, the second in Monte Carlo’s splendiferous Hôtel Hermitage and the most recent at one of London’s finest; the Four Seasons at Park Lane. 

Park Lane is a smoke bomb, one of the capital’s busiest thoroughfares, a non-stop melee of traffic. In spite of its arguably misleading title, the Four Seasons is actually off Park Lane, on Hamilton Place, a much saner, practically pleasant street with little more than footfall and taxis, which cuts a small corner between the bottom of Park Lane to Picadilly. Inside, its black marble floor is flecked with white like a bruised cut of high-end steak. The cushioned chairs and sofas are often a hearty, luscious burgundy. The wood panelling is dark and quite masculine. It’s an oasis of calm and elegance, as you’d expect, but like a perennial Autumnal, encourages a constant hibernation. The walkthrough to Pavyllon is quick and a receptionist behind a neat lectern marks entry into a completely different aesthetic. 

Although retaining the exact same essence of elegance and calm, the design by Lebanese Chahan Minassian, vacillates between one of contentment and optimism. An ante-chamber with an impossibly high ceiling is decked in cool shades of Mediterranean blue. Velvety sofas curve next to taut, vertically stream-lined curtains which contrast with abstract-shaped ornaments and the occasional bulbous flower. It feels like it might be Ken’s kind of place when he’s fed up with all of Barbie’s pink. Unfortunately, we don’t stick around but head inside to the restaurant which seems to stretch into the distance, the length of a small handful of tennis courts. The same cool azure dominates through carpets, chairs and sofas but rather than sit in the more formal dining area, we opt for the counter which stretches along the length of the kitchen, open for all and sundray to gaze over. 

As well as the À La Carte, there’s an ‘immersive’ 4 or 6-course tasting menu. We opt for the former and are immediately served with two Amuse-bouches each; what looks like an exotic praline with a flourish of cream or coconut and a custard cream in pastry. They’re actually a béchamel concoction with a parmesan head and a Jerusalem artichoke mousse served in a dainty shell. Both burst with flavour and are exceedingly moreish and practically have us demanding for more, already.

Our starter, Crispy Curry Tartlet With Scallop Carpaccio is delivered in the middle of a sky blue plate slightly larger than a 12” record. The plate is mottled with shades and spots of green. Everything glistens majestically and looks like something you might hang on a wall; a Damian Hirst spin painting with less spinning and more splattering. Frankly it all looks pretty edible, even the china. Specks of diced chive add to the tartlet’s artistry and as well as the pleasing subtlety of the raw scallop, small textural slices, a sprightly citrus wash adds a refreshing element to the mix. 

Read our guide to the best hotels in Park Lane

Next up in an equally lavish bowl, smaller, much deeper, with thick curved grey sides, is something which looks, again, like a sweet, maybe a matcha mochi. It is in fact a Steamed Comté Cheese Soufflé with watercress coulis and eel butter. It is another visual treat with the pastel green watercress dissolving in variegated patterns with the finely grated cheese. It’s a textural triumph and although it looks quite solid, has the contradiction of being highly liquid. It literally melts in the mouth with the strings of congealed cheese dissolving as soon as you realise they’re there. There might be a hint of bacon somewhere and as well as the watercress, an essence of pea. 

Our sommelier has recommended our wine; Bourgogne Chaumes des Perrieres. It’s a contemporary classic white Burgundy with a buttery taste and we’re advised will work not only with the fish but the Roasted Duck Magret, which is up next. Its sauce is infused with beetroot powder which further provides a profound, brightly glowing and bloody aspect to the visuals. The duck is medium rare, of generous portion and hits the spot perfectly with both a thin crispy and a fatty layer to provide texture, crunch, viscosity and flavour. The daikon radishes are sweet and crunchy and as if this wasn’t all enough, there are sprinklings of sesame seeds, fennel and Sobacha. It’s served with a perfectly mashed potato which is lightly freckled with nutmeg powder.

There are two things which really stand out about Pavyllon. First of all, is the placement of the kitchen; we’re literally a couple of metres from where the magic happens. This has to be the restaurant’s boldest and most confident statement of intent. It’s simultaneously live theatre and live television; a wide-screen broadcast of life in the kitchen lane. But anyone expecting highfalutin drama, the Bear, Boling Point, Gordon Ramsey style meltdowns will be disappointed. Up to eight chefs work quietly, intently, with a minimum of fuss, the only noise, a constant but prompt ‘Service!’ when dishes are ready to meet their destiny. It’s a well-oiled and strong machine and one which Pavyllon is, quite rightly, proud to show off. 

The other item of note is the abundance of ingredients which contribute to each dish and fuse to create new flavours which seem simultaneously recognisable but also unique and hard to define. Our Sweet Spiced Cloud dessert is another example of this. The hazelnut ripplé praline ice cream comes in a coffee and cardamon sauce and what looks like a large dollop of cream. The latter is deceptively light and, as well as the sprinkled chocolate powder everywhere, chunks of crispy meringue mix with crystals of salt and hints of cinnamon. It reminds me of when I once had cigar flavoured ice cream – it didn’t taste of cigar at all but was a rich, complex flavour and hard to pin down. This dessert is exactly the same and equally sublime. It’s a tantalising gesture and leaves us under no illusion as to why Pavyllon was awarded its first Michelin star only a year after opening.  

Contact Details

Address: Hamilton Pl, London W1J 7DR

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