Street XO, Mayfair

StreetXO is the first UK restaurant from David Muñoz, who owns the three Michelin starred DiverXO in Madrid. It’s next to the police station in Mayfair and from the minute you step foot through the steel container door and down into the basement, the experience is bizarre.

The dining room is massive and on our Thursday night visit it’s packed – and clubby. We sit at the bar, at our request, which overlooks the vast kitchen – definitely the best place to sit if there are two of you. Chefs and waitresses are dressed in straitjackets and there’s a sommelier in a ruffled tuxedo, who looks like something out of a horror film. I’ve certainly never been anywhere like it.

There are no starters or main courses, just a collection of dishes all at a similar price. Pekinese dumplings (£14.50) come on a huge sheet of paper drizzled with strawberry hoisin sauce. Next to each dumpling is a slice of crispy pig’s ear. We pick it up with our fingers, rubbing the sauce across the paper, making a real mess. It’s utterly delicious and lots of fun.

The hilarity continues into the cocktails, one of which tastes like Parma Violets and arrives in an oversized glass, which takes two steady hands to lift. Another strawberry concoction comes inside a huge ceramic heart. They make us smile.

A lot of the dishes have a plethora of flavours and textures – certainly nothing is meek or mild. Hot smoked scallops (£6 each) come with a creamy citrus ponzu, a coconut kaffir lime reduction and apple blossom. “Steamed club sandwich” (£14.50) is a wet and squidgy mouthful, but one which keeps you coming back for more.

“La Pedroche” croquettes (£18.90) come topped with toro, which is fatty tuna, making them super rich. The balls burst and out comes a creamy, cheesy sauce. Totally divine. “Almost a carbonara XO style??” (£15.60) – everything has a funny name FYI – comes with udon instead of spaghetti. An egg yolk is hidden in the middle – once all mixed up it’s a tasty plate of food.

Less successful is the milk-fed lamb shank (£19.30). Presentation is great; again on a giant sheet of paper with the perfectly cooked shank, surrounded by purple potato. But the tamarind sauce is overkill – way too tangy for the mild lamb.

The chef sprinkles our “Korean lasagne XO style” (£18.30) with crumbled-up fried pasta sheets, which adds texture. It’s essentially a big bowl of pasta helped along by the aged Galician beef.

For dessert, we share the Pink Panther (£9), which arrives in a huge pink tail. It’s only a couple of mouthfuls, and it’s all liquid, a sort-of-strawberry concoction with popping candy. Yet another course that brings a smile to our faces.

It’s fair to say the Street XO experience won’t be for everyone (I’m trying to imagine what my Mum would think if she stepped down into that basement) but it’s undeniably fun, imaginative and unique – and the most fun I’ve had in a restaurant in a long time.

Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant