Address: 31 Duke St, Mayfair W1U 1LG Phone:020 7224 3452 @NoirW1
Noir W1, a bar-come restaurant (right next to Selfridges, just off Oxford Street) invited me to come for a meal to check out their signature cocktails and different take on classic, cool foods. Like any excitable, impatient kid at Christmas, I couldn’t wait to see what awaited so I had myself a little Google. I must admit, I judged the book by its cover… I’m not a huge club/bar type of gal, so not my usual place of choice but life is about exploration and trying different things, so why not?!
On entering, Noir W1 feels like a night club; with a doorman, check in and roped off entrance. Inside, the staff were all lovely with every member taking the time to greet you as you walk through to your table.
There is a nice relaxed ambiance. It’s really chilled, with people just chatting, having a drink or small bites to eat. This may be because I chose to go early evening so it wasn’t yet heaving.
One of the delights with Noir are the little touches you don’t see at first, like the ceiling. If you are able to tear your eyes off the enticing cocktail menu and look up you will see another reason why Noir hit the right chords with me. (Yes, I’m a big Superhero Fan)
The drinks menu is obviously the main deal here. A leather bound book with a wide variety of signature cocktails, wines, spirits and other drinks. The food on the other hand was a simple one pager clipped to a leather clip board. Great I thought, the food is just an after thought and it will just be small bar bites. How wrong I was!
The drinks menu is incredible! And very cute. I love cocktails but so often find places just make fruit juice creations, that I spend longer debating over which to try than the mixologist’s spend on creating them. I flicked through loving the sound of everything, trying to work out which would be the best to sample; even if they were not up to scratch. I ended up taking the waitress’ suggestion. How right she was!
More on the cocktails below…
As I said, the food menu is a one pager, but for a small plate picker like myself it was perfect. Plantain chips with guacamole and jerk chicken sliders just jumped off the page. One criticism I do have, is that I am about to go vegetarian something I’ve been toying with for a while) and there were very few veggie options. Anyway, that didn’t matter for me on this visit.
QUALITY OF FOOD & DRINK
The food was all delicious. It tasted like very fine high quality ingredients and a good combination of flavours. The slate and black plates were
the right choice to display the food especially in the setting. Making it feel cool and almost seductive. Please excuse my poorly lit pictures! I do like to share my own pictures so you can see how something really looks.
The Jerk Chicken sliders had a great kick and with the addition of gherkins creates a whole new sensation of tartness and heat. They had real jerk with flavour, rather than so often I find jerk means lets just try to blow your mouth off without depth. The buns were perfectly fresh and bouncy and the right choice of bun to compliment the filling.
The Steak was incredibly flavorsome solo but with the addition of a Noir special sauce it was without a doubt one of the most tasty steaks I have ever had. Despite not being asked how we would like it cooked, it was cooked perfectly for myself and my partner. Let me explain! I like things cooked medium well, closer to well done, and he likes medium rare. We both, at the same time, commented on how perfectly it was cooked. I don’t know how else to explain, but it seemed to be cooked enough so I wasn’t unable to eat it but was also soft and tender enough for someone who likes it closer to rare. We put it down to the quality of the beef. The sweet potato fries were on the same level. Full of flavour and sweetness and not hard or too soft. I think they were baked as they didn’t feel or taste greasy or oily.
However they were cooked, they complimented the steak and would definitely be a dish I would recommend; not just as a bar snack type meal. I would go there again just for the food.
The Guacamole with Plantain crisps are another dish done incredibly well. The portion sizes are more than adequate and are big enough to share or have as a solo small meal.
By now we were both actually pretty full, but the waitress insisted on us trying their special desert the nutella pizza. I was dubious and thought it would be gimmicky and probably just sickly and overly filling. Whatever you do, if you go to Noir you MUST get the Nutella Pizza. It was to die for. The Pizza base is thin enough that it is not too doughy or overly filling. The Nutella is thinly enough spread that it is not claggy or sickly on just one bite, but
also not too thin that it ends up being a dry mouthful. The toppings of Strawberries and Almond flakes are nothing short of genius. They really add to the taste experience and the enjoyable texture sensation. If you are in the area, swing by and get one. I don’t know if they do take away but I would definitely think turning up to work on a Friday with a few of these would score serious brownie points!
As you can see above we also tried the Pannacotta pots. Again Incredible. My favourite was the Passion fruit but both were of the same quality and standard. Smooth and tart. Big enough to share but I would possibly only share between two as I would recommend trying both flavours!
Now onto the serious stuff.
Exquisite. Amazing. Genius. Delightful. Fun. Tantalising and rugged. I don’t know how else to say YOU HAVE TO GO TO NOIR AND TRY THEIR COCKTAILS!
As you can see we tried several. I am huge coctail fan. I’m not so fussed on different types of alcohol solo but when someone can combine them and make uniqe flavours and interesting sensations then I am in! Noir do that and some. Their cocktails are not just half assed fruit juice and alcohol combos they are thought through edible sensation art. Each of their cocktails not only tasted incredible but also gave off aromas that awakened your mind before you even took a sip. Picking a favourite was a toughie but I have landed on the Pomme Caramel. With the vanilla sticks and the caramelized pear beckoning you in and the attractive large round ice cube finishing off the look, I was more than intrigued to taste it. The taste does not disappoint. Tart Apple but the vanilla sticks it sends the smoothness into your brain delightfully confusing your senses!
I must admit to none of them disappointed at all. Even the Conflicted Hero (The short glass with the smoke) was incredible; it may sound weird but it was like smelling and drinking a cigar. Almost like you weren’t drinking liquid (and no I’m not still drunk while writing this!). It was a unique experience I would definitely recommend. And I don’t smoke! But I do like the smell of cigars and I couldn’t help but keep trying it (even though it was actually Sean’s cocktail of choice) to work out what and how it was doing what it was doing!
I could not fault the service at all. The staff were friendly, thoughtful, knowledgeable on their products and happy to give their opinion. For someone like me (who is horrendous at making decisions), I love to get a personal recommendation. It never inspires me when the staff haven’t tried the menu or seem to have any passion about it at all. Our waitress was brilliant.
As we were seated a waitress must have heard my rumbling tummy as lightly salted popcorn was placed on the table as a perfect light snack to kick off the decision making process. The food and drinks arrived very quickly, admittedly it wasn’t busy, but even when it filled up quite considerably the staff kept up the speedy service. No one seemed to be waiting or unimpressed with the service.
The place was spotless. The bathrooms very clean and stocked. A lovely little addition was in the cubicles: a mirror on the back wall so you can check yourself before heading out to the main wash facilities. A clever and thoughtful little addition. It is the little touches like that, that made me give a huge thumbs up to Noir.
With the cocktails going down smoothly, the music just added to the experience as the DJ played a whole heap of my favourites from back in my dancing days. I didn’t even ask but somehow he pulled out some real classics; maybe he’s just an 80s child too! The staff seem to know when to help and when not to, so it aids the relaxed feel of the place.
CONCLUSION – NOIR REVIEW
I give Noir W1 10/10.
I loved it and will be going back. For the food, for the cocktails and possibly even for a boogie. There I showed my age. I would recommend Noir W1 for hiring for parties, for work functions and as I am doing; taking a few girlfriends out for a much needed cocktail catch up. Or should I say catch up over cocktails, the previous makes us sound like binge drinking teenagers! I would even say Noir W1 would be good for a first date. The cocktails are fun, then menu and the ceiling are great talking points and its darkly lit enough in the evening that even if you do have the obligatory date breakout, your spot will be hidden in the shadows! If you do go tweet us your pics!