Flip through London dining guides and lists for fine-dining picks and you’ll discover the “usuals”- names such as Barrafina, Dinner, La Gavroche, The Wolseley, and Berner’s Tavern all but dominate in the capital. In Marble Arch, relative newcomer Sixtyone has kept a much quieter profile amongst its peers, though it has already achieved top honors with its three AA Rosettes awarded less than a year since its 2014 debut. Though a bit behind the rest of the pack in popularity, the restaurant is certainly on par with quality fine dining in the capital.
Located on Montcalm Hotel’s ground floor, Sixtyone is an under-the-radar venue that shouldn’t be – chef/patron Arnaud Stephens has had world-class training under Gordon Ramsey and Jason Atherton, and the restaurant belongs to the legendary Searcy’s portfolio, exuding the same standard of class and quality as its other posh venues. Sixtyone features a sleekly decorated, mid-sized dining room adorned in bronze and creams with an adjoining Champagne bar, perfect for business clients, high-end dates, and other splurge-worthy occasions.
The fare at Sixtyone is contemporary, thoughtful, and proudly British. The reverse of each menu features a list of their artisan suppliers and their distances from the capital; Sixtyone’s beef and game birds, for instance, come precisely 282 miles away from the northerly Lake District Farmers.
The menu is terse – one seafood, two meat, and two vegetarian dishes are what diners can choose from for starters and for mains – but edited well for maximum experience. Starters include cauliflower soup with slow cooked duck egg and truffle; pig on toast with pear and pecan; and the visually stunning octopus carpaccio with red pepper, pine nuts, and sesame. Presentation of the entrées are as exceptional as they taste, such as a roast chicken breast and leg with parsnip and curry, braised beef shoulder onion emulsion and sea vegetables, and Jerusalem artichoke with girolle mushrooms and hazelnut.
Sixtyone conjures the old adage that popularity doesn’t necessarily signify excellence, as it deserves excellent marks despite its current low-key profile – all the better for you to book a table before the secret’s out.