Dylan Jones: 'The best meal you’ll eat this week will be in a museum'

Share
Related Topics

The best meal you'll eat this week won't be in a bistro, a brasserie or a grill room, it will be in a museum. The Restaurant at the Royal Academy finally opened last month, and it's a hit. It was opened by Oliver Peyton, who also looks after the restaurants in the National Gallery, the Wallace Collection and Kew Gardens, as well as running Inn the Park (in St James's Park) and the Peyton and Byrne bakery.

I went for lunch a few days ago and had the best dish I've eaten this year: soft polenta, fondue and girolles. It tasted like God's own porridge. I loved it, and everything else I ate. The menu is not the sort of thing we are used to being offered in museum or art gallery restaurants, and Oliver has been criticised for this. But what he's trying to do is elevate the standard of cooking in places that normally don't pay much attention to it.

The interior is also rather special, designed by Tom Dixon, and – with its low-hanging globes, wood panelling, glass cabinets and velvet upholstery – looks like a cross between a modern Viennese tea room and a study belonging to a Victorian surgeon. Visit most gallery restaurants that have been "done up" (or done over) and you'll find stark white boxes with Arthur C Clarke-style cutlery, framed prints from Habitat and "modern English" adaptations of classic café food. The Restaurant is nothing like this, and is all the better for it.

I've known Oliver for quite some time – in fact I first met him 25 years ago, when we both used to go to nightclubs and misbehave – and have been a willing participant in and observer of every one of his epicurean adventures. I remember him taking me around the Atlantic Bar & Grill a few months before it opened, walking me through what was then a dirty, smelly basement full of builders and mice. I distinctly remember thinking, "This is never going to work!". Of course, it turned out to be not just a roaring success, but also one of the defining restaurants of the Nineties.

I hope my enthusiasm for The Restaurant doesn't end up having the opposite effect.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Officer (HMP Brixton Mentoring Project)

£24,000 per annum pro rata (21 hours per week): Belong: Work as part of a cutt...

Construction Solicitor / Partner

Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - Senior Construction Solici...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

DT teachers required for supply roles in Cambridge

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: DT teachers required ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Fifi Geldof (left) with her sister Pixie at an event in 2013  

Like Fifi Geldof, I know how important it is to speak about depression

Rachael Lloyd
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering