After a few drinks at the Sanderson Hotel, we headed towards The Crazy Bear in Fitzrovia. This place serves Eastern Asia fusion cuisine, in a 1920’s Art Deco style restaurant. Don’t let this rather awkward explanation put you off. The décor oozes old fashioned decadence with a fresh modern style in its food.
The restaurant is off the main road and is hidden behind a few well positioned shrubs. As you walk in you are welcomed by a small receptionist desk which leads on to the main restaurant floor. The restaurant is made to look smaller than it is for a cosy intimate feel. As there is a wall that splits the restaurant floor and a downstairs bar. It is dark and lit by 1920’s bars lamps and candle light emphasising the glamour of this era.
We were seated on a table with dark brown leather upholstered benches. We ordered a glass of champagne to start, which was swiftly brought to us while we looked through the vast menu. The menu is incredibly vast with a wide range of eastern dishes such as dim sum, sushi, sashimi, grills and curries which goes as much against it as it does for it. There is too much choice that it is difficult to choose (although everything that is delivered from the kitchen is faultless and does seem to work) and it is hard to get dishes to follow on that work together. As a result we ordered a sharing platter to start, this consisted of marinated chicken wrapped in pandanus leaves, crispy rice paper vegetable roll, salt & pepper baby squid, chicken satay. The chicken was moist and delicious, the squid melted in your mouth and the vegetable roll was crispy and piping hot. The platter was well presented with well suited dips that completed the individual dishes.
The wine list is exhaustive too but seemed to lack many of the new world wines and so we found it hard to order the red wine we had in mind to complement the main course. The one Chilean wine we eventually chose, they ran out of earlier that evening and the waiter was unable to really recommend a wine suitable to our taste. I do think that at restaurants, at a certain level, waiters should not only be educated in the ingredients and dishes served but in the wine as well.
For main course I ordered a duck with red curry and coconut rice and my friend ordered the mulled with lychees and sweet basil curry. The curries were served on ebony plates with the rice served in matching bowls. Both came out piping hot. My duck curry was rich and the meat melted in the mouth without being fatty. The mullet was delicious marinated in light eastern Asian spices. The fish flaked at the touch of a fork. Faultless.
We passed on dessert and instead went down stairs for cocktails. Downstairs is more traditional in its Japanese style. It is still dark with alcoves and small seating around the room. The bar is sunken so that the bar staff was the same hight as us sitting on bar stools.
Before I give my overall score the toilets are worth a mention. The men’s and ladies are next to each other but as you turn into the corner it is full of mirrors so that it is difficult not to walk into the door. When you walk in the mirror theme carries on and the additional surprise is at the sink you see men’s hands! This is because the men’s and ladies sinks are connected and there is space where you put your hands so you can see (and if unlucky) touch the opposite sex’s hands.
Overall for food quality, taste and combinations this place gets full stars however the lack of wine experience, the over whelming menu and ‘like it or hate them’ toilets I will (begrudgingly) take off one point. The Crazy Bear gets:
Food Atmosphere Service