Patterson’s, 4 Mill Street, W1S

Family-run restaurants seem to be the running theme of this month’s restaurant reviews, and Patterson’s is another great one. Based in Mayfair on a narrow street behind Regent Street, with its discreet exterior, it is perhaps not a restaurant you would just stumble upon, but that doesn’t seem to affect its popularity – it was bustling on the Wednesday evening that we visited.

The dining room is simple and modern – the first thing you see on arriving is a large tropical fish tank, then moving into the small dining area there are black leather chairs and banquettes, low ceilings, white walls and crisp white tablecloths. The low ceilings mean that when the restaurant is full, the sound levels are pretty high, but this just means that you don’t overhear the next door table’s conversation, and vice versa.

They have a modern British menu that has a set price for a three-course meal of £45. We started with sweetbreads with smoked bacon and braised duck in cranberry wine with red onion polenta. It was the first time my fellow diner had tried sweetbreads and they were a success. They were served with a black truffle sauce that made for a rich and meaty starter. Similarly the duck had a thick and syrupy sauce that offset the earthy duck and soft polenta brilliantly.

The starters weren’t too large, but were certainly rich. The main courses were a very healthy size. We ordered tournedos of Scottish beef with an oxtail and veal tongue ragout, and fillet of cod, with a cod cake, mussels and vermouth sauce. The cod was almost two dishes on one plate – a deliciously fleshy fillet of cod with crisp skin on top of a large, lemony cod cake. The tangy, creamy sauce brought the two together really well. I wish it hadn’t, but the size of it defeated me. The beef also had two elements – a piece of beef that looked more like fillet than tournedos by its width, and then a ragout on top of truffled mash. By all accounts this was very tasty, and didn’t pose quite the same quantity issues as mine had, but I think I would have struggled with that one too. Better that than being hungry.

Not realising it was a set price for three courses, we passed on dessert. We wondered why our waiter kept suggesting different options when we had already declined, but we understood once the bill came. Must be more observant next time.

We left Patterson’s very satisfied – the food is delicious and definitely a place where you are given the opportunity to try something new. The service is attentive and friendly, there wasn’t even a hint of us being rushed having finished eating, even though the restaurant was full and it was early enough for another table to sit down.

On an aside, it’s a very good idea to check Top Table before you visit, more often than not there is a deal on for Patterson’s. During the week it is normally 50% off food (which made our pudding mistake a little less painful) and even at the weekend it offers a 40% discount.