May 12th 2023
Mention the very name “Mayfair” to many people, and they will be put in mind of all manner of cultural or social associations. They may think of it as the most expensive property on the UK version of the Monopoly board game, or they might immediately picture the splendid embassies, hotels, and fashion boutiques that continue to make this highly affluent locality such a visitor magnet today.
But not everything about Mayfair necessarily neatly fits the dapper and upmarket imagery that has long surrounded this unquestionably posh and historic, but also multi-layered neighbourhood.
So, we thought that for today’s news update here at Manthan, we would turn the usual travel guides upside down, by spotlighting three of the best things to see and do in this part of London that may not have instantly come to your mind.
Learn about Hendrix and Handel in one place (sort of)
We reckoned here at Manthan that it could be especially apposite for us to draw attention to this particular Mayfair attraction, given that it has been subject to renovations recently, but is set to open its doors again on 18th May 2023.
We are, of course, referring to Handel & Hendrix in London, which effectively pays homage to not one, but two music icons who have strong links to Mayfair: George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) and Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970).
The two acclaimed musicians’ respective periods living in Mayfair were more than two centuries apart. However, the fact that their respective homes are so close together – Handel at No. 25 Brook Street and Hendrix at No. 23 – has presented the opportunity to tie together their highly influential lives within one institution.
So, whether you are one for 20th century rock music, 18th century Baroque, or both, this is a highly evocative site that we would strongly urge you to visit once it reopens.
Check out the quirky Brown Hart Gardens
To say that this public garden situated off Duke Street has quite the fascinating history, would be something of an understatement. In a former life, this beautiful space – south of Oxford Street – was known as the Duke Street Gardens. That was back in the late 19th century, when communal gardens were here for working-class houses on Brown Street and Hart Street.
Sweeping change, however, was to arrive with the construction of the Duke Street Electricity Substation in 1902, a development that brought about the loss of the street-level gardens. In order to compensate local residents who were not exactly left delighted by this loss, the Duke of Westminster insisted on a paved Italian garden being placed on top of the substation.
The resultant amenity opened in 1906, and it remained possible for the public to access the ornamental garden on the deck of the property until the 1980s, when the then-lessees, the London Electricity Board, closed it.
It took until 2007 for the site to reopen to the public, which was the same year plans were announced to revamp it. A subsequent refurbishment, funded by the property group Grosvenor, saw the creation of more than 60 uniquely designed seating and plant areas, as well as a new Garden Café.
To this day, the raised terraced garden site now known as Brown Hart Gardens remains off the beaten tourist track by the usual Mayfair standards. Nonetheless, it can be an excellent oasis in which to while away some time.
Immerse yourself in the best in contemporary art at Frith Street Gallery
Ask a lot of people to cite some of Mayfair’s artistic associations, and they are likely to immediately mention the Royal Academy of Arts – understandably enough, given that it is no less than the world’s oldest fine arts society.
By contrast, the relatively unassuming Frith Street Gallery is of much more recent vintage, having been established in 1989 by Jane Hamlyn, in a Georgian townhouse at 60 Frith Street. Although the gallery went on to move to a large, purpose-built venue on Golden Square in 2007, with most of its exhibitions now taking place at the latter space, there are still occasional presentations at the original gallery just off Soho Square.
So, what can you expect from a visit to this commercial gallery? In a sentence, you can expect all manner of innovative contemporary art, as has encompassed such disciplines as painting, sculpture, film, video, and installation across the gallery’s more than three decades of operation thus far.
At the time of us writing this article, for example, the gallery was set to host an exhibition of paintings by the highly respected abstract painter Callum Innes, from 19th May until 1st July 2023.
Naturally, when you are looking to book a table in Mayfair so that you can sample the best Indian cuisine in a welcoming townhouse setting between your visits to attractions like those covered above, we would be delighted if you chose Manthan!
You can find us at 49 Maddox Street. If you would like to discuss any particular preferences or requirements that you have more directly with our team, please do not hesitate to call 0207 408 2258 or to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manthan is a reflection of chef Rohit Ghai’s life in food.
From the markets of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh (where he grew up) to professional kitchens all over the world, Ghai has experienced myriad flavours and cookery techniques, all of which come together in his new Mayfair kitchen.