Brummell recommends: YOPO at The Mandrake

The gorgeous restaurant at one of London’s most glamorous hotels has reopened for a summer of South American drinks and dinners

Food and Drink 26 May 2022

Jurema at The Mandrake combines extraordinary design and cooking

YOPO at The Mandrake combines extraordinary design and cooking

The background

YOPO is the celebrated restaurant at the glamorous The Mandrake hotel in Fitzrovia. Head chef George Scott Toft has created a restaurant of South American flair influenced by his travels acorss the continent. Adjoining YOPO is The Mandrake’s Jurema Terrace, which has recently reopened for summer, serving cocktails, brunch, lunch and dinner.

The space

YOPO is strikingly designed, giving guests the feeling they are dining in the heart of a very glamorous and exotic fever dream about the rainforest. An ostrich with a snake neck keeps watch over the restaurant from one corner while fringed vines drop down over velvet chairs and dark wood tables. The outdoor Jurema Terrace is one of London’s most fabulous outdoor spaces and won the Global Winner of Outdoor Space at the AHEAD Awards in 2019. It’s easy to see why with its position under hanging gardens and next to giant Tasmanian ferns. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail, or to spend the evening.

The beautiful Jurema Terrace at The Mandrake
The beautiful Jurema Terrace at The Mandrake

The drinks

Do not visit YOPO and The Mandrake without trying a cocktail. They are wonderfully creative, utterly delicious and made to be sipped on a sunny day or a sultry summer evening. Highlights from the menu include the Ginko, a delightful and moreish combination of mezcal, chinotto nero, yellow Chartreuse, elderflower, yuzu, Chartreuse elixir and shiso. The irresistible Mangosteen cocktail, meanwhile, combines tequila, mangosteen, hibiscus, chipotle agave, jalapeño vinegar, lime and grapefruit soda for a drink that is at once tart, sweet, spicy and refreshing.

The food

The menu takes inspiration from across South America with a splash of Iberian flavour. Snacks include a deliciously nutty escabeche made with pumpkin seeds and tomatoes, a very fine guacamole with tomato and chipotle salsa and a moreish octopus with pink fir potatoes and smoky paprika. The restaurant recommends selecting a few dishes from the following ceviche, crudo and tostada sections that could include a wonderfully tangy and spicy prawn, tepache (a drink made from fermented pineapple skin) and aji amarillo ceviche; fragrant scallop with tomatillo and mango; a punchy and delicious yellow tail and aji tiradito; and a wonderfully rich crab, caviar and chipotle tostada.

To follow from the meat and seafood section, the turbot with pistachio mole comes wrapped in a banana leaf straight from the Josper oven, giving it a rich smoky flavour that pairs perfectly with an acid and spicy side like the tomatoes with jalapeño vinegar. Other highlights include the soft and succulent lamb shoulder adobo, and the Josper-grilled sirloin with charred onions and ancho chilli.

Exotic and beautiful: Jurema at The Mandrake
Exotic and beautiful: YOPO at The Mandrake

To finish, YOPO serves a selection of light and interesting desserts including a pineapple tepache and mezcal granita and a cherry and buckwheat cheesecake. It’s a fascinating journey through the more and less familiar ingredients and dishes of the culinary superpowers of South America, told through a European lens. The food is bright, fresh, tasty and interesting.

The bill

A meal for two with cocktails and wine, around £200.

The verdict

An exciting meal with world-beating cocktails in a glamorous and exotic setting, YOPO and Jurema are the escape from the everyday we all need.

For summer all dining reservations are at Jurema to take advantage of the good weather and both spaces serve the same menu. YOPO will be open when weather conditions restrict guests from fully enjoying Jurema Terrace.