Been for a drink after work in the West End recently? Fail to do your research and you’ll end up wrestling your way through hordes of workers to pay £7 for a pint that you’ll spill the majority of walking back to your spot, which is roughly 50 metres down the road. But it doesn’t have to be like this, you know? Stray from that beaten track and over to Brook Street to find Mayfair Exchange, a thriving member of the Balls Brothers family serving delicious food and drink in a tranquil setting.
We swung by at around 7pm on a Friday to find a delegation of suited and booted chaps enjoying a crisp pint in the late evening sunshine. We worked our way downstairs and discovered a neatly presented basement joint; filled with flickering candles, eccentric lampshades and a multitude of grand mirrors. The Mayfair Exchange has all the style of a top West End spot without the pretension, and if you aren’t put at ease by the surroundings you surely will be when you encounter the charming team who make the place tick.
The Atmosphere and Clientele:
Populated by a scattering of couples enjoying a date night and groups of friends wasting no time in climbing into the weekend, the venue was far from full but maintained a gentle buzz throughout. The space is conveniently split so punters heading straight to the bar can take the decibel level up while those eating in the restaurant can enjoy a peaceful meal all at once. A hotchpotch of salsa tunes provide the backdrop, and the combination of moody candlelight and friendly service made for the kind of atmosphere that makes you want to dig your heels in and stay 'til closing time.
The Food and Drink:
British classics are the staple at the Mayfair Exchange. All the big-guns are here; with Herefordshire Beef Rib-Eye Steak, Sausage & Mash and Classic Burgers flying off the shelves and onto the plates of those around us. We went for the Haddock & Chips (£13) which was delicious and came with a support act of thick-cut chips and mushy peas. The Chocolate Brownie (£5) came next and arguably stole the limelight, oozing with a warm chocolate sauce guaranteed to gratify any sweet-toothed soul. We washed this down with a couple of cocktails, with the gin, lemon-juice and syrup laced Tom Collins coming highly recommended.
The Mayfair Exchange is the antithesis of the rowdy West End boozer that overflows with corporate folk as soon as the clock strikes five. Matching its serene setting with warm service, tasty tucker and refreshing cocktails, it’s a solid restaurant and bar with fantastic transport links. Perfect for a chilled date night, propping up the bar with a few bevvies or refuelling after a hard days shopping on Oxford Street.