The Chancery // Holborn // London

Chic, intimate dining rooms are a real find in London, and one such beauty is nestled just off to the east of Chancery Lane. With a host of elegant offices in close quarters, The Chancery is the perfect place for a business lunch or dinner. Though better than that, it’s one of few restaurants that successfully manages to blend working and private diners, without a bland corporate compromise. That is certainly in part to the extraordinary food on offer. Chef Graham Long has learnt some impressive skills and techniques over his career, which he masterfully blends with Oriental and Western flavours at the Chancery. A restaurant which certainly deserves a star.

Top of the list is The Chancery’s signature scallop dish. A citrus, shiso dressing marinates delicate slices of Scottish scallops, breaking down their texture ever so slightly. Though the rich flavour of the shellfish is not masked by the dressing. Instead, the two come together magnificently with the slightly tart avocado cream. Freshness bursts from miniature cucumber balls and crunch is added with dainty sesame tuilles. This is the kind of dish that makes you go “wow”!

The pan-fried foie gras is also elevated to a level beyond the provincial French classic. First of all, the liver is exceptionally light and beautifully cooked, but it’s the accompaniments that make it sing. Bitter marmalade and sherry jelly combat the rich flavour, while extra richness comes from roasted sunflower seeds that burst like butter. A toasted shard of brown bread completes the dish. A surprising and heavenly bitter rich twist.

Desserts too are to a French starred level (uncommon in the UK). The entremet pre-dessert does just what it should. Refresh your taste-buds after stonking rich meat course (ours was a loin of venison with an unforgettably vibrant game flavour). Tarty cubes of softly poached rhubarb and dried cranberries are wrapped in a cloud of light fromage frais mousse. The best though is the red berry and ginger sorbet which gives some Asian zing to an otherwise European dessert. The chocolate, caramel tart is deep in flavour while light in texture and perfectly sweetened. A sharp yoghurt sorbet is a perfect companion.

Overall, an outstanding menu, with twists and inventive flavour combinations. The front of house team managed by Sylvain Gergeaux is warm, personal on point. The Chancery should be your must visit restaurant.

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