By Lauren Jade Hill
As the latest venue of Chilean-born entrepreneur Juan Santa Cruz, the new restaurant and bar Isabel opened its doors to great acclaim this month. Promising to be one of London’s go-to spots for the well-heeled, the chic new venue provides a space for dinner and drinks with a sophisticated club vibe, in a coveted location on Albemarle Street amid Mayfair’s designer boutiques and galleries.
Inside, Isabel exudes glamour with its opulent imperial yellow, ruby and emerald decor, in which the inspiration taken from Chinoiserie and Art Deco style can be seen in the custom-designed striped carpet, amber lighting and gold accents. A Macassar ebony and mirrored bar, which is anchored by four trees, lies at the center of the dining room where white jacketed bartenders whip up martinis. A lower level then provides a more intimate lounge setting for after-dinner drinks, with a DJ, and rich decor of padded silk brocade walls in emerald green.
Taking culinary inspiration from the founder’s travels, Mediterranean small plates with Argentinean influence are the focus here: think, grilled courgette with mint and lemon, veal ragu gnocchi, and red prawn and lemon crudo, along with peppered tuna steak and grilled Argentine beef. The dessert menu then includes a classic pear tart Tatin, delicate raspberry mille-feuille, and house-made ice creams and sorbets.
Following on from the sought after nightlife venues Casa Cruz, Isabel and Aldo’s in Buenos Aires, and Casa Cruz London in Notting Hill, it’s no surprise the cocktails are taken seriously, too, with classics such as the French 75 and Moscow Mule recommended by the barmen to suit each person’s taste. And each member of staff fits seamlessly in with this glamorous setting, too, dressed immaculately with the service to match.
Providing a place for leisurely breakfast and lunch meetings, and convivial dinners followed by cocktails, Isabel has all the bases covered for the discerning clientele that makes up Santa Cruz Co’s loyal following.