Sixty One is the latest restaurant from the Searcys group (they run the restaurant at the top of the Gherkin) and it’s based inside an unassuming looking hotel near Marble Arch, called the Montcalm.
It was a pretty restaurant inside and although the place was quiet during my weekday lunch, the atmosphere didn’t feel awkward; it was relaxed and almost tranquil. There were straw placemats and stones placed in the centre of each table – it had a touch of the L’enclume about it.
I ordered from the set lunch menu which offered two courses for £18 or three for £22 – I naturally opted for the latter.
To get things going, I was served a dashi broth which was poured through a filter filled with orange peel, star anise and a selection of other flavourings. Once strained, the waiter removed the ingredients and poured me a little cup full which was sensationally delicious; really salty and comforting. It was served alongside some long and thing rice puffs with a soya mayo which was perfect for dunking. The bread selection, which included a square of Marmite bread, was also particularly good and served with a dollop of salty and lightly whipped butter – on a pebble. I was seriously impressed by it all.
To start I opted for the “pig on toast”. Some slow cooked pork (I’m assuming the head) was neatly strewn across a slice of crunchy, nutty toast and served with some seriously sweet pears and sticky walnuts. The portion size was just right as I wouldn’t have been able to eat much more due its intense richness – but it was ruddy lovely.
For main, I went for the duck á l’orange and as you can imagine, it wasn’t served in the traditional way but it looked stunning. The thick slice of duck, sous-vide I’d imagine, which made for gleamingly pink flesh yet with a nicely crisped skin, was totally divine and the accompanying chunks of orange were a great pairing. Even the strips of orange peel, which I usually find so inedibly bitter had a sweetness to them which made them totally moreish. There was a little pastry parcel filled with more duck meat, the leg this time, which was a tad dry but full of flavour at least.
All the desserts sounded appealing but in the end I opted for the Banoffee parfait. The whole thing was an explosion of banana flavour; the ball of ice cold parfait contained a hidden banana goo which was lovely. Surrounding it was some caramelised banana along with some popcorn and a banana purée. It probably could have done with one more flavour other than banana, but being a fan of the stuff I happily devoured the lot as it was so good – and beautiful too.
Service throughout my lunch was really friendly and attentive; I was dining alone which I rarely ever do but the staff made me feel relaxed and comfortable from the minute I arrived. That, along with some really delicious and attractive plates of food I think restaurant Sixty One will do really well – and it deserves to in my opinion. It’s in a random hotel, but it’s well worth a visit.