Members clubs have that certain air of exclusivity that makes you crave to be part of the action. What many don’t realise is that most members’ club doors are open to non-members too – The Cuckoo Club in London is one such venue. After a recent refurbishment, under the expert eye of iconic 60’s fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki, Elysium thought it would be a good idea to experience the calibre of cuisine and examine its credentials for the discerning gent.
The Cuckoo Club is located in the heart of the West End– just off Regent’s Street. It’s one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it places, a secretive doorway with only the smallest signage alerting you to its name. Reward is provided in ample measure for those who persevere.
The Look, The Feel
Upon entering The Cuckoo Club there is a feeling of being transported back to a time of glamorous decadence. The extensive redesign has helped inject a seductive class that just makes you want to have fun. The Cuckoo Club is in fact a restaurant with a club section located downstairs. This is for the enjoyment of all members, whilst club access is given to those non-members who dine at the restaurant – so fun for all.
Of immediate impact when entering the restaurant is the towering bar stocked with a multitude of champagne, spirits and liquors. Décor is suitably grand with lush purples draped across the interiors in an intimately lit room. Seating varies from large group tables, or more personal coupled tables – all very comfortable and spacious. One thing to note is the late start here – doors don’t open until 8.30pm as most guests enjoy a late dinner before heading downstairs to the club. Members and guests are from the dressy crowd but that’s not to say this place is pretentious – quite the opposite in fact with a relaxed crowd which is happy to mingle. It all adds to the funky vibe of the place.
The towering bar gives you a hint of the cocktail expertise at The Cuckoo Club – the list is extensive and the drinks are exquisite. The wine is pretty good too. One or two of these crafted cocktails are the perfect way for the whet the appetite for the meal ahead.
The starter menu offers a diverse range of dishes to tempt the taste buds. Head Chef Chris Cooper has brought some great flavour combinations together and we were tempted by them all. Eventually we settled on the beef carpaccio with rocket and parmesan (£12.00) and the pickled duck and watercress salad with pomegranate (£10.00). Both were delicious – packed full of flavour – and immaculately presented on slate plates.
The Main Event
The menu for mains was again varied, with each dish sounding like an explosion of tastes dancing around the palette. After some deliberation and welcomed assistance from our host for the evening we opted for the veal sirloin roasted with thyme (£22.00) and the three mini Wagyu beef burgers in brioche bun (£25.00) along with French fries and wilted spinach (both £5.00 each). The veal was beautifully cooked and tender – sometimes it’s the simple methods that work the best with as this meat showed. Whilst you could really taste the quality of the meat in the Wagyu beef, perfectly complimented with the relish inside the brioche bun. We enjoyed a bottle of house red to accompany our meal on the recommendation of our host – we were glad we asked for the insider knowledge!
The presentation of the dishes was again a special touch, served up on the slate plates. In many ways the delivery of the starters and mains encourage an element of sharing. So if you like the idea of sampling each other’s dishes this is the place to do it.
Both the starters and mains were quite substantial dishes so we were feeling rather full and satisfied. However it would be rude not to sample the delights of deserts so we asked our host to recommend an option we could share together. We were presented with the chocolate option, and what a chocolate option it was. 70% Valrhona ganache, sea salt crumble and malt ice cream (£8.00) was an absolute wonder of a desert. The sweet and savoury crunch of the crumble combined with the sumptuous ice cream was a truly immense way to finish the meal. This desert is highly recommended and great to share too – creating a little mess on the plate (and perhaps the table too…) is all part of the fun.
The refurbishment of The Cuckoo Club really breathes new life into this venue, and the work of Head Chef Chris Cooper makes this a genuine dinner option on the London circuit. Many don’t realise that private members clubs are also open to non-members too, and this is another case in point – discerning gents should be in the know about such hidden gems. The impressive surroundings is sure to impress your date for the evening, while the allure of a private members club shows you’re informed enough to know how to open the right doors. Add to this the great food and attentive service and you have the makings for an entertaining evening. The late start is worth putting up with for the ambience of this slick restaurant and, if the mood carries you, to the club party later that night.
Contact: The Cuckoo Club Restaurant, Swallow Street, Piccadilly, London, W1B 4EZ – Tel: 020 7287 4300