The Colony Club, Mayfair

By Paul Joseph

Nestled within the backstreets of London’s plush Mayfair district, the Colony Club is a private member’s establishment offering ultra-exclusive gambling alongside a restaurant of exceptional quality.

A world away from the brash, bright lights of Leicester Square – London’s insalubrious gambling heartland – the Colony Club is suitably discreet, its Georgian townhouse entrance blending effortlessly with its surroundings.

For the club’s chip-wielding patrons, the upside of its low-key location is obvious, with absolute privacy assured. The restaurant, however, may be slightly too hidden away to attract the casual passer by seeking a good meal. Luckily, when the food is this good, word soon gets around.

Consequently the Colony Club is now considered one of the area’s best fine dining locations, and, whilst the neighbouring downstairs gambling room (housing over 20 gaming tables) and adjacent cocktail bar have their quiet evenings, the 50-cover restaurant is regularly full to bursting point. And there is little surprise why.

The dining room’s centrepiece is a Japanese teppanyaki bar situated in a glass-walled enclosure where diners can watch the chef working his magic at close quarters. With its floor-to-ceiling video displaying range of soothing backdrop, the bar is a striking feature that lends a sense of drama to the venue.

Whilst Japanese cuisine is the restaurant’s flagship culinary offering, there are also Oriental, European and Middle Eastern menus to choose from. However, rather than having to stick rigidly to one menu, guests can choose any dish from across the board. As a concept it certainly poses a challenge for the less decisive diner, but for sheer scope of choice, it cannot be beaten.

Standout dishes include crispy duck on a par with any of London’s specialist Chinese eateries, and an equally impressive black cod served with The Colony Club’s very own teriyaki sauce. Fillet steak, served oriental style with sesame sauce and shimeji mushrooms, is bursting with beautifully balanced flavours, whilst a side of salt and pepper soft shell crab is an indulgent, more-ish accompaniment.

Chocolate fondant with green tea ice cream is the superior dessert, the breached fondant oozing dark and bitter chocolate sauce, perfectly counterbalanced by the refreshing, tangy ice cream. Service is flawless, with staff keen to help you navigate the unconventional multi-layered menu.

It all amounts to a superb dining experience. Any preconceptions you may have about a restaurant housed in the same location as a casino can be dispelled, thanks to the exceptional food, stylish décor and impeccable service. Worth a gamble? Without question.

By Paul Joseph