Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Automat - American Brasserie, Dover Street, Mayfair

Automat - , Dover Street, Mayfair
Tuesday 5 September, 2006

What's the best thing to do after surviving a flight from Sydney to London in economy? The answer is to keep on going. So, that's what I did. Tired and exhausted after a very long flight with a brief stopover in Singapore for re-fuelling I arrived in London. I had made plans to meet an Aussie friend for lunch, so I showered and tried to freshen up before walking down New Bond St to Automat.

We had been incredibly organised and booked all this online beforehand (a common way of booking restaurants in the UK). Automat had stood out as it was in Mayfair, near all the fabulous shops and looked quite reasonable. Located next door to Browns Hotel (famous for it's afternoon teas) Automat is quite non-distinguishable from the street. A large yellow canopy hangs above the front windows and almost disguises the entrance. To make matters even more interesting the street numbers were all out of whack so 33 Dover was located on the same side as 38 and 41 - go figure.

I arrived early and decided to take our table. As you enter through the front doors into the first room you are confronted with black & white tiles and typical wooden tables & chairs. It's bland but further inside you are welcomed with green leather booths and curved wooden ceiling and further back an open kitchen with a communal stainless steel high table and chairs and high shelves packed with large cans of tinned tomatoes. Even further back and up a small flight of stairs is the bulk of the seating. But the black & white tiling is consistent throughout.

The staff are warm and welcoming and are dressed in sleek black clothes. For a Tuesday @ 12.30pm it was virtually empty but all this changed between 1.30 - 2pm - it became incredibly busy. The smell is smoky BBQ and a blend of salty ketchup and each table has the recognizable small bottles of Heinz tomato sauce. The other thing that stood out is that London still allows smoking in restaurants so we had a few people light up at tables nearby - you realise how lucky we are in Australia with our smoking laws.

The menu is typically American - burgers, fries, crab cakes, soups and salads. We both decided to go with their signature burgers that come with fries and are served the only way Americans know how - HUGE! Thankfully, we were both really hungry. When the burgers arrived they were presented open - one side of the burger had all the salad piled high and the other side had the thick beef burger pattie and melted cheese. The fries were the very thin show string variety and we received small dishes of mayonnaise and mustard.

The burgers were really good and after we sat for ages chatting and catching up we decided to indulge in dessert - the choices were very easy - one New York cheesecake and one Mississippi Mud cake with pistachio ice cream. Well, let's just say there was not a single item left on each plate - they were absolutely delicious and the mud cake just melted in your mouth. The other thing I noticed is that you can't order a flat white here and it's very hard to get skim or light milk.

For my first day in London this was a great start!

Automat - 33 Dover, Mayfair - 020 7499 3033



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