Sixty One is the restaurant of The Montcalm Hotel near Marble Arch. Chef Arnaud Stephens had previously headed up the kitchen at The Gherkin, having trained at restaurants including Maze under Jason Atherton and also with Pierre Koffmann and Richard Corrigan. The dining room is simply decorated other than an elaborate display of copper pipes on the ceiling, and the place has a relaxed feel.
The bread is made from scratch in the kitchen and had good texture (14/20). My starter of mackerel with pickled vegetables (such as beetroot) and cardamom was pleasant, the vinegar from the pickling cutting through the oiliness of the fish. The mackerel itself was cooked lightly, with pleasant rather than striking flavour (13/20). A cauliflower veloute that I tasted had reasonable flavour, poured over a slow-cooked duck egg grated with summer truffles.
Cumbrian chicken was the most successful dish, with white miso, pickled cucumber and wilted baby gem lettuce, the leg with an enjoyable herb stuffing, all with some cooking juices (14/20). A vegetarian alternative I tasted was less successful. Jerusalem artichoke, pied a mouton mushrooms and hazelnuts were fine in themselves other than being quite salty, but were strange when paired with orange, whose flavour dominated the dish. Pork belly with wasabi needed to taste more of wasabi.
For dessert, strawberries with lemon balm was pleasant, a refreshing summer dessert, but the strawberries lacked much in the way of flavour (13/20). A dessert with coffee ice cream and mascarpone cheese with amaretto was better, the coffee flavour coming through very well (14/20).
Service was friendly and efficient, and the bill came to £69 a head. This meal was rather more erratic than my previous ones here, even though the head chef was in the kitchen. However the best dishes were well made, and the welcome warm enough.