If you're a celebrity spotter or know a thing or two about prestigious dining destinations and Mayfair restaurants, then you've probably heard of Isabel. Located on Albemarle Street, this upmarket eatery flaunts distinctive Beaux-Arts-inspired architecture, alongside housing some of the most glamorous guests (think royals and A-listers alike). So, I grabbed my other half for a romantic date night at this sensual spot.
After making our way inside, we were met with sultry interiors made up of ornate features, a large bouquet of flowers and lots of gold reflective panelling. Once we sat down at our table, we took in the flamboyant setting of the dining room and bar which oozed luxury, including a ceiling entirely made up of metallic lampshades - absolutely gorgeous. To start off our experience, we were keen to try a couple of signature cocktails, which did take quite some time to arrive. I chose a vodka-laced French Candy (£25) with Pussanga and lemon juice. This also had some candy floss on the side - adding an extra little sweetness to the drink. My date had his eyes set on the Isabel Sgroppino (£25), an experimental mix made from vodka, vanilla liqueur and lemon curd. A moreish pour with a beautiful balance of citrus notes and creamy flavours, which went down a treat.
After a little wait again, we opted for a couple of appetisers including crab sliders (£13) packed with fresh meat drizzled in a sharp lemon dressing. Followed by a small bowl of Gordal olives (£6), both accompanying our drinks nicely. For starters, we got stuck into seared scallops (£25), which were juicy, beautifully presented and cooked to perfection. They were also served alongside a creamy corn puree and had a lovely crunch from the lobster tuille. We also tried the beef carpaccio (£22), a very decadent dish topped with mustard and parmesan. What really elevated this plate was the sharp pickled shimeji, which cut through the richness of the meat and cheese.
Our cocktails didn't last very long (do you blame us?), so we asked the waiter for some wine recommendations. My drink for the night was the Prestige rosé (£16 per glass) from the Château Minuty winery in Côtes de Provence. This had a very mellow taste, with light fruity flavours. My other half plumped for a rich Rioja Reserva (£17 per glass), just the right accompaniment to his meaty choices.
For mains, we felt as if we had to check out some of the expertly cooked beef. I wanted to try something a little different so opted for the wagyu steak (£100). This literally added a whole new meaning to melt-in-the-mouth, as the marbling created a unique flavour and texture, making it absolutely divine. As for my partner? He went for black Hertfordshire dry-aged ribeye (£62). This had a fantastic charred flavour and was cooked to a delightful medium rare. On the side, we shared fluffy roasted new potatoes (£10), followed by charred broccoli (£10) which were topped with just the right amount of seasoning and fresh chillis for a little added pizzazz.
Last, but certainly not least were the desserts. In need of something refreshing, I had my eyes set on the Eton mess (£12). The meringue casing was a little hard for me and I did struggle to break it, although when I did, it paired nicely with the fresh fruit and ice cream. My date enjoyed the cafe gourmand (£8), made up of four mini sweet treats, including a macaron and rich chocolate biscuit, alongside a smooth shot of espresso. These both really hit the spot and were rich without being too overpowering.
The DesignMyNight Digest
If you fancy living it up in the heart of Mayfair, Isabel is the place for you. This restaurant really has it all, from the lavish interiors to the elevated dishes, making it a great spot for those special occasions or romantic nights. My only reservation was that the service and approach from staff was a little slow, which I wouldn't expect given the price tag.
💰 The damage: Around £450, including service charge.
📍 The location: 26 Albemarle Street, W1S 4HY.
👌 Perfect for: Date nights or celebratory meals.
⭐ Need to know: This venue and rooms are also available for private hire.