Review: Evelyn’s Table Michelin-Starred Restaurant in a Pub Cellar

What if we told you there was a Michelin-starred restaurant hidden in the cellar of The Blue Posts pub? (It’s true!) Head chef Luke Selby and his brothers Nathaniel and Theo are serving a five-course tasting menu in an intimate, underground chef’s counter with only twelve seats. They take local British ingredients, add a bit of classic French training, sprinkle in some Japanese techniques, and stir it all together. The result? A technically flawless, and fantastically fun dining experience.

Note: The Selby brothers are no longer working at Evelyn’s Table, and the food concept might have changed as a result.

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Courgette flower stuffed with crab, courgette and basil purée, and a warm crab shell bisque.
Courgette flower stuffed with crab, courgette and basil purée, and a warm crab shell bisque.
EVELYN'S TABLE

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28 Rupert St, London, England
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Evelyn’s Table is probably London’s best kept restaurant secret. The restaurant is still a bit of a hidden gem because of its location, downstairs in the cellar of The Blue Posts pub. Rave reviews from our food community, The Hungries, led us to book a seat at the counter, and we’re so glad we did – this was our favorite meal during our trip to London in the summer of 2022. The restaurant has been open since 2018, but changed chefs and concepts in October 2020, when the Selby brothers took over. The head chef is Luke Selby, and he’s joined in the kitchen by his brothers Nathaniel and Theo Selby. It’s a family culinary dream team.

Putes Féministes – Vins et Volailles.
Putes Féministes – Vins et Volailles.

We started our experience in the triple-decker restaurant house at The Mulwray, the upstairs wine bar on the third floor of the building, above The Blue Posts pub. (We had booked the late dinner seating, so we went to the bar before dinner, but if you have the early seating then you can grab a drink after your meal instead.) The wine director of both The Mulwray and Evelyn’s Table is Honey Spencer, who previously worked in Copenhagen. Spencer’s expertly curated wine list is quite fun, with a mix of lesser known wines from small producers, in both classical and natural styles. We nibbled on the toasted brioche with chicken liver and enjoyed an umeshu-based cocktail as a pre-dinner drink.

After a drink and a bite, we were escorted down the narrow staircase to the hidden basement restaurant. It felt almost like entering a speakeasy. We pushed open the door to reveal a small, twelve-seat counter, where you sit while watching the chefs in action plating the dishes right in front of you. We were instantly greeted by smiling faces, both from the chefs and the front of house staff. We described our taste in wine, and, with the help of the team, discovered a fun orange wine that we hadn’t tried before – Putes Féministes from Vins et Volailles. This wine reminded us a bit of Matassa Blossom, with lovely floral notes and just the right amount of tannins to carry us all the way through our tasting menu. It became an instant favorite, and paired perfectly with every dish. (Added bonus: it’s produced by a female winemaker.)

Scottish shellfish: razor clams, scallops, tomatoes, and olive oil.
Scottish shellfish: razor clams, scallops, tomatoes, and olive oil.

The tasting menu at Evelyn’s Table is five courses, with two smaller surprise dishes thrown in the middle as a bonus. (Spoiler alert!) Every dish the Selby brothers served was a hit – there were absolutely no flaws in our meal. The Selbys use local British ingredients, and their style of cooking is influenced by classic French training and Japanese techniques. The food looked quite simple, and it was, but the flavours were complex and extremely balanced.

Our menu started with a raw serving of Scottish shellfish: razor clams, scallops, tomatoes, ice cold tomato juice, and olive oil, sliced beautifully and served in a scallop shell. This was such a fresh and tasty start, and an extremely refreshing way to begin the meal. We were craving a cold dish on this hot summer day.

Mackerel, apples, gooseberry purée, dill oil, and a sorbet of horseradish and crème fraîche.
Mackerel, apples, gooseberry purée, dill oil, and a sorbet of horseradish and crème fraîche.

The meal continued with another cold serving: mackerel from Cornwall cured in rice vinegar, lightly torched and sliced, and served swimming alongside pieces of apple in a juice of green apples. Also in the bowl was a tart gooseberry purée, an herbaceous dill oil, and a sorbet of horseradish and crème fraîche. As I am not a big lover of horseradish, I didn’t think that I would love this dish, but the horseradish was expertly balanced and didn’t overpower the other flavors. The mackerel brought a nice sweetness, the dill oil added freshness, the green apple and gooseberry added acidity, the horseradish added a little heat, and the crème fraîche tied it all together with a creamy element. It takes a great chef to make me love a horseradish ice cream, and Luke Selby masterfully accomplished that difficult task.

Next up, was a courgette flower stuffed with Cornish crab, served with courgette ribbons, a purée of courgette and basil, and a warm crab shell bisque with lemongrass, confit ginger, coriander, lemon zest, and makrut lime leaf. This dish instantly transported us to Asia, with the lemongrass, ginger, and lime leaf triggering memories of laksa and aromatic curries. This was another fantastic dish, and it was pure joy to eat. You better believe we licked every last drop of that sauce.

Lamb belly steam bun.
Lamb belly steam bun.

Before our main course arrived, the kitchen surprised the counter with an extra dish: a steam bun with sesame, a lamb belly patty with cumin and pepper, and a house-made ketchup made of dates and hoisin. Evelyn’s Table commonly uses off-cuts of meat leftover from the main course to make a little burger serving. We loved this fun bite.

For the main course, Selby presented a dry-aged lamb rack that had been glazed in mustard, a Provençal bread crumb, parsley, and herbs. The lamb was sliced and served with sweetbreads, baby vegetables (carrots, onions, and turnips), goat curd infused with garlic and lemon, sweet onion and garlic purée, lamb sauce, and  wild garlic oil. At first it looked like a lot of different ingredients on the plate, but every element worked together seamlessly. This dish was the most classic in flavor on the menu, but it was so tasty – and the lamb was perfectly cooked.

Dry-aged lamb with sweetbreads, baby vegetables, goat curd, garlic purée, lamb sauce, & garlic oil.
Dry-aged lamb with sweetbreads, baby vegetables, goat curd, garlic purée, lamb sauce, & garlic oil.

Before the dessert, another surprise dish appeared in front of us on the counter: a pre-dessert bite! A small almond tart (served hot from the oven) topped with apricot compote and marigold was served alongside an apricot iced tea infused with jasmine. Delicious!

Last, but certainly not least, was a stunning dessert of Alphonso mango, coconut cream, coconut meringue, coconut sorbet, and coconut froth, makrut lime zest, and a sauce of passion fruit and chia. This refreshing dessert had tropical, summery island vibes, and the flavors reminded us a bit of mango sticky rice and piña coladas. It turns out that Luke Selby and his brothers saved the best for last – we shortlisted this for one of the best dishes of the year.

Almond tart with apricot compote and marigold, and apricot tea.
Almond tart with apricot compote and marigold, and apricot tea.
Alphonso mango, coconut cream, coconut meringue, coconut sorbet, lime zest, passion fruit, and chia.
Alphonso mango, coconut cream, coconut meringue, coconut sorbet, lime zest, passion fruit, and chia.

The food at Evelyn’s Table was absolutely fantastic, but what made the experience even more special was the service. Every worker was so incredibly friendly, taking the time to get to know all the guests around the counter, giving great wine recommendations, and just being generally cool and fun people. There were good vibes all around the room, especially with the killer Spotify playlist that was full of so many bangers that we were dancing in our chairs and Shazam-ing every song. (You guessed it, we asked for the playlist name here, too!) The overall vibe at Evelyn’s Table reminded us a bit of the one at ÓX in Reykjavík – but the menu here is much more concise.

The only downside about Evelyn’s Table is that it’s tough to get a seat here. Reservations go quickly since the restaurant is so small (twelve seats, two seatings a night), and because the menu is so reasonably priced at £120. In 2022, it got even more difficult to book after the restaurant received their first Michelin star. But it’s absolutely worth setting that alarm and sitting with a few different devices in order to try to book this hotspot. (Pro tip: stay tuned to their Instagram story as they often post about last-minute cancellations there.) Looking for more tips on how to book tough reservations? Click here to read our guide!

Have you been to Evelyn’s Table? Let us know in a comment below.

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