LIV first opened in Belgravia in September of last year with Damien Monley, the man behind one of Sydney’s most popular spots Flat White Cafe, in charge and with a strong Antipodean twist on the menu. It’s all changed post-lockdown with Mark Jarvis of Anglo coming in as Chef Director and Joe Laker, who’s worked with Mark at Anglo, as Head Chef. New chefs means a new menu, and it’s definitely a level up on what was there before.
It”s a bright space with marble table tops, rattan furniture and lots of yellow cushions, and although it looks pretty casual, there’s precision cooking here. The menu is a mix of familiar dishes, like burrata with honey roast figs, and more interesting combinations, like the rosemary tart, a crisp pastry case filled with truffled ricotta and mushroom crema. LIV isn’t a sharing plates restaurant but we split those starters between two, along with the prawn dumplings, the only Asian-inspired dish on the broadly European menu – there are only three dumplings on there and the broth is very light, so it’s hardly going to fill you up.
The mains on other hand were substantial; the pan-roasted halibut came sat on a lovely crab and potato rosti and a good covering of sea herbs on top. The maple glazed duck breast was perfectly cooked, with accompaniments of leg meat croquettes and celeriac puree making it an ideal autumnal dish.
Having had such nice pastry to start with we couldn’t resist another go for pudding. The lemon curd tart came in another beautifully crisp case, buckwheat this time, with very lightly torched and gooey brown sugar meringue and a dusting of sherbert.
LIV is all about doing food that people want to eat – three or four ingredients on a plate, all cooked really well rather than crazy challenging flavour combinations that you’re not sure you even like – and that’s really what you want from a neighbourhood restaurant.
18 Holbein Place, Belgravia, London, SW1W 8NL