Mayfair is fast becoming the new hip spot for bright young things. The Sybarite has the low-down on the capital’s most luxurious postcode.
Let’s face it: if we’re talking about which London playgrounds to party in this Yuletide, we probably wouldn’t put Mayfair at the top of the list.
But we’d be wrong. For while this corner of W1 was once a boggy meadow (circa 1675) before becoming, in 1686, associated with what authorities termed “lewd and disorderly practices” and subsequently (in a bid to refashion its image), old school stuffiness, fast forward to December 2016 and it’s all changed. Mayfair is fast becoming a playground for wealthy millennials – a spot where Sybarites will want to stay and play post office hours.
Don’t believe us? Perhaps the fact that a 3,540 sq ft three-bedroom home on Park Lane was recently rented by wealthy students for £5,000 a week, will sway you. 80 Park Lane appeals “to an ultra-high net-worth person from the Middle East or Asia who wants to launch themselves into Mayfair society,” explains Peter Wetherell, chief executive of Wetherell, the Mayfair estate agents responsible for the plush property. Wetherell continues: “It’s leisure living, a business base and the ultimate address.”
Of course much of the Mayfair buzz right now revolves around The Araki. Run by the famed sushi chef Mitsuhiro Araki, the UK’s most expensive restaurant recently merged as the big winner at the first ever Harden’s London Restaurant Awards 2016.
Mitsuhiro Araki’s eponymous restaurant won the Chapel Down award for offering London’s Top Gastronomic Experience beating off stiff competition from Brett Graham’s Ledbury and Michel Roux’s Le Gavroche.
The Araki’s chef-owner previously ran a three-Michelin starred sushi restaurant of the same name in Tokyo, but decided to relocate to London – specifically Mayfair – in 2015, to seek “new challenges.”
But The Araki isn’t the only restaurant to have put Mayfair back on the map.
Kitty Fisher’s – the seriously haute dining spot (named after a Georgian-era courtesan) from Young British Foodie Chef of the Year 2014 Tomos Parry and former Pitt Cue Co sous chef Chris Leach – has wowed well heeled locals and critics in equal measure.
Case in point? Fay Maschler – the London Evening Standard’s indomitable food writer – has waxed lyrical about the wood fired menu (think salt cod croquettes, braised ox cheeks and pork chops washed down down with Bad Kitty cocktails in a historic Shepherd Market haunt – while The Telegraph’s Xanthe Clay has hailed Kitty Fisher’s as “the hottest restaurant in town”.
And Novikov – the swanky Mayfair restaurant from Arkady Novikov (arguably the hottest man in the restaurant industry right now) – remains one of the hottest places to gather for dinner and drinks, not just in Mayfair but the entire city.
Elsewhere Chez Chow – a decadent basement drinking den from the team behind North Audley Cantine – is delighting discerning drinkers. Named after the owners’ dog – Teddy the Chow Chow – this canine themed cocktail bar specialises in French-Asian fusion food and cocktails including a Homemade G&T with house fermented tonic, the Aged Old Fashioned aged in its own oak barrel and the Popcorn Sazerac.
Alternatively seek out Bar Eight – an uber glamorous new destination bar which offers the exclusivity of a members club, without the need for membership.
There’s more – much, much more – to W12 than first meets the eye. Little wonder then that Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe, found himself fascinated by the postcode. “I passed an amazing scene of new foundations,” he wrote. “Not of houses only, but, as I might say, of new cities, new towns, new squares and fine buildings, the like of which no city, no town, nay no place in the world can show.”