Gourmet feast for the eyes

The interior at W’Sens is an incongruous mix, but the sum is greater than its parts, says Sarah Balmond

So, you’re leaving the maddening crowds of Piccadilly Circus, heading away towards Pall Mall, when you stumble across W’Sens, a sexy little number that is a bar-cum-lounge-cum-restaurant.

It is the latest creation to be launched by Michelin-star chefs Jacques and Laurent Pourcel and their partner Olivier Chateau and forms part of the exclusive La Compagnie des Comptoirs portfolio.

But W’Sens is not your average brasserie-luxe eatery. It is designed by Imaad Rahmouni – a protégé of Philippe Starck no less – and is all black lights, heavy velvet, silvered spacey ceilings and gold-leafed walls. This is City glamour drugged up and sexed up – and surprisingly not for the design faint-hearted.

Here, in the Grade II-listed building, designs collide head on. How’s this for starters – crocodile skin-lined tables, fluorescent green glass wall panelling, Murano light sculptures, purple chandeliers and leather strip curtains. Forget the beautiful people sipping on their Bellini’s. Rahmouni wants all this to be your eye candy.

The result is riotous textures ricocheting everywhere. Even our hostess, who glided across the room in that ethereal French way, described the psychedelic carpet with marble-swirls as ‘a zittle like zee Paul Smith on a hangover, non.’

Overall, W’Sens definitely has a Stark-esque hotel boutique feel to it. In fact, if you love the Sanderson Hotel, you will adore this place. There is the humour – such as the large globe light near the entrance that pokes fun at traditional Victorian-style living – and the different zones, such as the small library enclave with comfy, high-backed chairs.

In any case, the food promises to be spectacular – there are, after all, surprisingly few restaurants in London supported by the might of Michelin-star winnings.

But, at least, haul yourself down to W’Sens for a cocktail. The Italian marble square bar, glowing amber gold from yellow back-lights, is one of the loveliest around. The place positively screams out for dirty Martini moments.

W’Sens is at 12 Waterloo Place, London SW1

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