Roughly translated from the Japanese, ‘izakaya’ means pub.
So when the people at The Mandarin Oriental describe their plush new drinking den as an “eccentric izakaya”, we’re forced to assume that their definition of the word eccentric is, well, slightly eccentric.
Because The Aubrey is many things: elegant, polished, luxuriant, fun…
…but it’s definitely not a pub. As you’ll discover if you head in this month to try their new set lunch menu, with dessert and a cocktail on the house for Nudge Members and their guest…
You’ll find it on the ground floor of the Knightsbridge hotel, which is fresh from a multi-million pound refurb and the departure of Bar Boulud, which was forced to close on account to the teeny tiny global pandemic that hit shortly after the hotel reopened.
Fast forward a few months, and now The Aubrey’s here to remind you that West London has great date spots too. The space is divvied up into five separate areas, all of which are low-lit, moody, and awash with glossy marble, gleaming brass, and plush leather seating. As you walk in, you’ll come to a wood-panelled bar humming with the sound of low-key Japanese jazz. There’s a small DJ booth to the side (which comes alive from Thursday through to Sunday) and a trio of living room-like dining areas attached, all of which have their own distinct personality, being filled variously with books, antique-style Japanese ukiyo-e prints, and curtained booth seating. There’s even a stately private dining room with its own separate omakase bar attached.
On the food side of things, you can expect to get everything from oysters, to sushi, tempura, and seafood fresh from the robata. The karaage comes cleverly robed in charcoal, giving it the taste of grilled chicken with the texture of fried. The sushi is sided by fresh grated wasabi, and is laid on a bed of soy-marinated rice. And the white miso soufflé comes puffing out of its pot like it’s trying to escape (and you’ll be only too happy to help it.)
Newly launched is their regularly changing set lunch menu, offering bento sets brimming with dishes like shishito peppers, nigiri, and housemade pickles, souped up with your choice of main from katsu sando to miso grilled cauliflower; or chirashi don rice bowls topped with the day’s best slices of sashimi. And as a Nudge Member, you and your guest will be treated to a dessert (they include apple cake with whisky cream, and a purple potato semifreddo) and a cocktail of your choice, on the house this month. Their concoctions are seasonal and lean towards Japanese ingredients; the Volpone matches up gin with a surprisingly sweet house-made wasabi liqueur, while the Bijin-Ga is a blend of sweet potato shochu & umeshu plum liqueur.
As we said, not exactly a pub.
NOTE: The Aubrey is open for lunch, dinner & drinks, Mon-Sat. You can find out more, and make a booking at their website right HERE. To find out how to access your Nudge Member Perk (complimentary cocktails & desserts) view the instructions in the Members’ box at the top of this article.
The Aubrey | Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
Want to meet the neighbours? Head in to Dinner by Heston.