What is so admirable about Blades is they don’t promise a multitude of dishes and being master of none, but instead focusing on a few key dishes and preparing them exceptionally well. As they have clearly emblazoned all over their website, it is all about steaks, lobsters and whiskies here.
There are other British classics available on their a la carte menu, but it would seem inappropriate not to review what are their signature dishes. Their carpaccio of beef with horseradish mayonnaise might be marginally old-fashioned in its presentation but the mildly spiced taste along with the freshly minced meat is elegant and refined.
In fact, those 2 words can be used to describe most of their dishes and decor. The lobster salad we also ordered certainly fits into that category: the enticing crab claw is firm and fresh and matched with a hint of horseradish from the potatoes and smokiness with the crispy pancetta.
For main courses, their steak offerings are not overly expensive, for USDA steaks you would be doing well to find something in the thirty pounds range in the heart of Mayfair. Apart from using well-sourced meats, they also have many interesting sources to go with the steaks: garlic and tarragon butter, club Stilton butter, teriyaki and mirin but we naturally opted for the blades own blend whisky glaze. They like making their own sauces at Blades, they even have their own bloody Mary ketchup sauce.
The real stand-out dish is their whole Cornish lobster cooked tempura style. Many venues offer insipid grilled or thermidor lobsters; here the light and delicate tempura batter add extra flavour and structure to the dish. It is served on a bed of seaweed which adds further flavours of the sea to the dish.
There are further gentle twists to classic desserts with their fusion of the mars bar into a traditional cheese cake recipe, but my favourite was the white chocolate and earl grey crème brulée. It is a light and not overly sweet dessert and increasingly tea is being used in more and more dishes to add extra depth of taste to a dish.
Of course, Blades is a fictional London gentlemen’s club mentioned on numerous occasions by Ian Fleming in his James Bond novels notably in Moonraker. This is exactly the kind of atmosphere you experience as you walk in, it has a classy, welcoming old world charm with all the waiters in pristine white jackets and well-spoken. If you are bored with industrial-looking restaurants and tiny, small sharing plates, you need to visit Blades soon to sample their discreet elegance.