By Majella Taylor, New Openings Editor, H&C News: Lusin Armenian Restaurant, incandescent in W1.
As you leave Green Park station and walk to Lusin, Hay Hill W1, it’s very clear that the hospitality industry in some spots is back in full swing. The various restaurants and hotels along the way are full to the brim with elegantly dressed guests.
A large brass door welcomes you and you are then greeted again by three magnificent pillars of Armenian Tuff stone, hand carved with Armenian Khachkar, symbols of the ‘Tree of life’, grape vines and the ‘Eternity’ symbol.
These great pillars, and the entire interior is sourced from the Armenian mountains giving Lusin a magical and somewhat spiritual air.
This two floor 100 cover venue is the first Lusin in the UK, its inaugural site opened in 2011 in Saudi Arabia with patronage from royalty and ministers of state.
The menu was created by Armenian cookbook author Madam Anahid Doniguian and curated for this venue by 2 Michelin star chef Marcel Ravin alongside a cocktail menu crafted by Rosewood hotels Giancarlo Mancino.
Armenian cuisine takes its influences from Lebanese, Greek, Turkish and even Russian cuisine due to its colourful history. You can expect heavy spices, herbs, wheat, pomegranate legumes and plenty of Lavash.
I was dining on my own, so a small concise experience was designed for me.
The starters were a rich and creamy hummus full of deep tahini flavours and an imaginatively served Fattoush bursting with bold, tangy, zesty flavours. The sumac, lemon and pomegranate molasses danced on my palate.
The Lusin signature Eggplant roll was next to grace my table. As a slight aubergine sceptic, I was very pleasantly surprised to find the texture was unlike what I was expecting. It had a finish almost like smooth Rigatoni. Filled with Labneh, herbs and fresh pomegranate, this dish was superb.
The main consisted of melt-in-the-mouth lamb chops with a smooth Chimichurri-esque sauce packed with a mint-chilli-lemon-cheek-flushing punch served with crunchy spicy garlicky potatoes, (perfect for dunking in aforementioned sauce) and Tenderstem broccoli.
A pomegranate Éclair and champagne cocktail completed my experience. A light delicate pastry, adorned with a sweet and not too sickly pomegranate cream, fresh pomegranate and pomegranate molasses.
Interesting fact – The pomegranate, with its symbolic association with fertility, represents the Armenian nation. This certainly explains its frequency in the menu.
I’d love to return to Lusin. Their Armenian wines and their famous Cherry Kebab, (Spiced kebab skewers smothered in a sauce made from Armenian sourced sour cherries) have piqued my interest.
I better book soon though, they open on Monday the 31st and I’m sure seats will be in demand.
Thank you to the team at Lusin, especially Jessica, Alex, and Baz at JPR Media for organising my visit.