by Telegraph Travel, The Telegraph, July 11, 2019
London hotels are home to some of the capital's best restaurants - from Michelin-starred dining to gospel brunches. Household names such as Alain Ducasse are kept on their toes by newcomers like Anne-Sophie Pic - and it needn't cost the earth either, with many of these restaurants offering lunchtime menus that represent great value for money.
You'll find spectacular spaces whether you're seeking the perfect venue for a romantic dinner for two, or a group of friends, with cuisines from Italian to Japanese, and everything in between. Here's our pick of the most exciting restaurants in London hotels right now.
Kerridge’s Bar and Grill at Corinthia Hotel
Tom Kerridge’s personality is much like his food – comforting, charming and eager to show you a good time. His pub and rooms in Marlow, The Hand & Flowers, was the first pub in the country to earn two Michelin stars, and has since become a magnet for foodie weekends. So, of course, when rumours began to circulate of his much-awaited London debut, people stood to attention. He’s touched down at the Corinthia with Kerridge’s Bar and Grill. Thanks to David Collins Studio, the space that once housed Italian restaurant Massimo, has been transformed into a dark and sexy affair with deep green soaring walls, blood-red banquettes and large glass fridges that display hanging meats.
But it’s the food you really come here for. The menu exemplifies what Kerridge has become known for, with classic British dishes given a refined twist, without ever losing their flavour or heartiness. An excellent saddle of Cotswold lamb sits upon a bed of smoked aubergine and feta and comes with a side of creamy, meaty moussaka, but it’s the sliced green olive dressing that really lifts the dish. Don’t ignore the sides either – there’s truffled celeriac, pomme boulangère, and, of course, you’ll spot the thick-cut chips on almost every table in the room.
By Lizzie Frainier
Read the full review: Corinthia Hotel
La Dame de Pic at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square
Anne Sophie-Pic’s career to date makes quite the story, and dining in her eponymous restaurant is a rather humbling experience. She lost her father when she was 23, and their family restaurant in Valence lost its third Michelin star, which it had first won in 1934. She took over and grafted for 10 years to regain it, the only woman in France and one of only five women in the world to have that to her name, before opening this place. The space is impressive, with high ceilings and an elaborate network of mirrors that create a sort of optical illusion, giving a sense of great privacy, particularly when ensconced in one of the intimate booths.
Tasting menus are excellent, from a rich Cornish crab and lovage mayonnaise, delicately paired with blackcurrant and elderflower jelly, to tartare-like Scottish salmon that is one of many dishes making bold reference to Pic’s love of Asian cooking. Classic French gastronomy this most certainly is not - traditionalists may be disappointed with the Brie de Meaux, reduced to a foam and paired with vanilla; it’s big on flavour but quite literally lacks substance. Signature dishes of burlingos to start (pasta parcels filled with criminally moreish Brillat-Savarin cheese) and a white millefeuille to finish (a dense block of creamy heaven to which pastry somehow plays second fiddle) do not disappoint. And everything is pleasingly light - you’ll leave perfectly satiated, without being overly full.
By Rachel Cranshaw
Read the full review: Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square
Neptune at Kimpton Fitzroy London
Stepping into this coral fantasia, located within the grand Kimpton Fitzroy (formerly the Principal) hotel in Bloomsbury, one can instantly imagine it’s the sort of place that the Little Mermaid, Ursula and Poseidon would all come to wine and dine. Brett Redman (of Jidori and Elliot’s Café) and Margaret Crow, who together ran the now-closed Richmond in Dalston, are behind the seafood restaurant. The space, originally designed by architect Charles Fitzroy Doll (who also designed the dining room on the Titanic), has been updated by Russell Sage Studio.
It’s kitschy and fabulous: peach walls, lava lamps, velvet boots and rattan chairs, all centered on a very Seventies seafood bar replete with oysters (sourced from independent UK growers), langoustines, mackerel rillettes and much more - which all appear on the menu’s must-order seafood platter. Other highlights include brill crudo, lobster with ginger and white pepper butter and a light spaghetti with clams, squid, parsley and lemon. Brunch is available, though the daily oyster happy hour between 6pm and 7pm is perhaps the best event: oysters are all half price and a different wine from the list is on offer for bottle shop price. Instead of mermaids, expect Bloomsbury dwellers and the fashion set.
By Jade Conroy
Read the full review: Kimpton Fitzroy London
Alyn Williams at The Westbury
The dining room at Alyn Williams feels staunchly traditional: white table cloths, dark carpets, plush beige chairs, panelled walls, smartly dressed staff and the sense you shouldn’t talk too loudly. Floor-to-ceiling wine cabinets lit up from within add to the exclusive atmosphere. This may not be to everyone’s taste, but you are in a five-star hotel in Mayfair after all. That said, the Michelin-starred food is much more of a crowd-pleaser, with the kitchen turning out seasonal, elegant dishes.
It feels like a bit of a cop-out to say the best thing on the menu was the lobster; but on this occasion, it really was a superb rendition that was pleasing to both eye and palate. Picture a rosy red half native lobster tail accompanied by a quenelle of caviar and carrot gel, swimming in a beautifully orange sauce Jacqueline. To the side, more lobster (this time of the claw variety) on a crisp cracker. It’s the work of head chef Tom Booton, who is just 25, and, with his team, brings an exciting enthusiasm that you can see on your plate. Other highlights include smoked eel and ricotta enveloped in beetroot to look like a rose, and a black fig and marjoram dessert.
By Lizzie Frainier
Read the full review: The Westbury
Cecconi’s Shoreditch at Redchurch Townhouse
Mayfair stalwart Cecconi’s has opened its first outpost in East London (there’s also one at The Ned in Bank). It’s classic, casual, trattoria territory – and all very Forties la dolce vita. A heavy timber-panelled bar studded with mini bronze and leather lamps, behind which stand smiley waiters in bow ties, runs along one side of the room, framed with colourful bottles tempting patrons with endless aperitivi (order a Sanguinello Sour to start). Then move on to still-warm homemade foccacia, cicchetti served on greaseproof paper-lined silver platters, burrata (served in a choice of three different ways), cured meats and the best beef carpaccio I’ve had in London (heavy on cornichons and parmesan).
Save space for either a chunky pizza from the wood-fired oven or a floral-patterned bowl laden with pasta - the best are the signature “Spaghetti Lobster” and cacio e pepe. You can order a solo portion or a “bowl” for the table. And then there’s the segundi – the aubergine parmigiana was exceptional. If you can still go on, plump for the chunky tiramasu to finish, served from a big tray, dished out table-to-table by a waiter. In an area that is already very foodie (Michelin-starred Brat is a street away), Cecconi’s soul-affirming set-up will be a local favourite for sure.
By Jade Conroy
Read the full review: Redchurch Townhouse
Having opened its first London restaurant at the COMO Metropolitan hotel on Park Lane, Nobu’s second outpost in the capital comes at its hotel in trendy Shoreditch. Some 65 per cent of Nobu’s menus are universal, so if you’ve already eaten at said first incarnation, you may not be in for too many surprises - though wood oven roasted lobster with Hakaido scallops, coriander aioli and ikura is one of the dishes exclusive to this restaurant.
You’ll also find plenty of sleek, dark wood, a buzzy atmosphere and favourites such as the velvety miso black cod. Food here is designed to be eaten sharing-style; follow the staff’s advice and leave the sushi until last so you don’t fill up on rice. Don’t be alarmed when every member of staff shouts ‘irasshaimase!’ when you walk in - it’s how they welcome all diners. You may even spot a celebrity.
By Rachel Cranshaw
Read the full review: Nobu Shoreditch
Marcus at The Berkeley
The interiors of Marcus are enough to make you feel as if you’re entering a members’ club – there are dark wood-panelled walls, brown leather banquette seating, white tablecloths and an array of interesting art on the walls. But really, once the Michelin-starred food from Marcus Wareing and his chef patrons Mark and Shauna Froydenlund (it was Mark in the kitchen on my visit) starts coming out from the pass, all attention is rightly centred on the plate in front of you.
Seasonal modern British is the name of the game and the attention to detail (and textures) is spot on. A pheasant egg is poached for 30 mins at 40°C and served alongside a short rib that’s smoky, tender and just the right amount of crispy on the top layers, while potatoes with cheese are given a very slick makeover: think salt-baked Jersey Royals with Tunworth custard mousse, trompette de la mort mushrooms and a parmesan crisp. Later there’s a hunk of Herdwick lamb with a crispy croquette breast and a good splash of chimichurri sauce, and a tower of toffee, peanut and milk chocolate nougat (which is probably what a Snickers would like it if it decided to get all dressed up).
By Lizzie Frainier
Read the full review: The Berkeley
Jean-Georges at The Connaught
Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s eponymous restaurant at The Connaught instantly impresses with aesthetics: soft greys and pale blues line the room and a conservatory hugs the curvature of the Mayfairian building. Large monocle-shaped, iridescent light features hang over grey curved sofas and tub chairs in which you are seated. The Alsace-born chef and restaurateur proffers a pan-Asian menu with European, namely French, influences, and the tasting menu (£88 for six courses and a dessert) takes you on an epicurean journey infused with sesame oils, bold flavours and interesting textures.
Try the caviar on toast (£38); a texturous warm dish with soft, bulbous egg yolk sandwiched between two slices of chewy, crispy brioche and a healthy serving of caviar, or the tuna tartare served over a lemony mash of avocado, topped with sliced radishes and ginger soy sauce that moves your taste buds from heat to cool in one swift bite (£24). The salmon over a layer of heated chipotle sauce on a crispy block of deep-fried rice is also a winner (£16), as is the famous truffle pizza (£35). Desserts are playful and colourful - and could arrive shrouded in a cloud of candy floss. My favourite was a Snickers-like dish with crunchy, caramelised (and bitter) peanuts and dark cacao-y chocolate. The wine list is pricey but strong - if you go for the tasting menu you should definitely opt for the wine pairings.
By Charlotte Johnstone
Read the full review: The Connaught
Ametsa with Arzak Instruction at COMO The Halkin
It may have lost its Michelin star this summer but Ametsa – inside the sleek, bijou COMO The Halkin – still knows how to enthrall. Or, to give it its full name, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction; a somewhat conspicuous moniker referencing some serious gastronic pedigree – celebrated Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elana, from their namesake San Sebastián eatery, head up this Belgravia purveyor of ‘New Basque’ cuisine.
Under a wave-like ceiling (an effect created by hundreds of spice-filled ‘test tubes’), begin with pintxo – perhaps ‘sphere’ of txangurro (spider crab), or a prawn ‘gyoza’ – and head down a theatrical flavour labyrinth. The playful names don’t give much away: egg on the moon, monkfish Cleopatra, beef with clumsy peach, and the mind-boggling intxaursaltsa cube with mutant sauce; staff refuse to spoil the surprise. Sweetness, saltiness, subtlety and va-va-room flit in and out. Things aren’t quite as they seem, but this is more than flamboyance; beyond the whimsy is a precise, beautiful attention to detail that will keep you wondering.
By Benjamin Parker
Read the full review: COMO The Halkin
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
You don’t come to the Dorchester’s marquee restaurant for a casual dinner. Everything here seems to carry an extravagant sheen: pristine linens by Porthault; sparkling porcelain vegetable sculptures (by French artist Jean-Paul Gourdon) on every table; and a sparkling waterfall of LED lights cordoning the ‘Table Lumière’ – the restaurant’s answer to a chef’s table. The service further enhances the razzle-dazzle factor, with pairs of waiters serving courses – and pouring over the assortment of sauces and jus complementing each dish – perfectly in sync.
The tasting menu and wine pairing is worth its weight in Michelin stars: foie gras is toned down with fig marmalade and a sharp Alsatian Reisling, while the ‘sauté gourmand’ lobster, a staple since the restaurant’s opening in 2007, is the star of the show. The succulent lobster is dressed up with truffled chicken quenelles and a rich, caramelly homardine sauce (made with lobster shells, tomato and cognac) that will make a lasting impression on your taste buds; a Rioja from Finca Allende supports the intensity of the dish. You’ll be well sated after your meal, but the baba comme à Monte Carlo, a knockout apricot cake with fresh cream and aged rum, will ensure a delightful end to your evening.
By Venus Wong
Read the full review: The Dorchester
Céleste at The Lanesborough
Céleste’s gentle ambience is immediately inviting; a powder-blue enclave of silver clinking on china and soft piano music tinkling in the background. Regency-era styling prevails with Greco-Roman friezes above white columns, chintzy carpeting, gilded mirrors and chandeliers, and plushy blue or mustard-coloured sofas in place of banquettes.
Working under the auspices of five-starred Eric Frechon, head chef Steeven Gilles delivers a European-inspired British menu yielding haute cuisine at its finest, with dishes embodying delicate designs whereby each crouton, petal and blot have been noticeably placed with meticulous precision. Standout dishes in the tasting menu (five courses for £100) include salty white asparagus sprinkled with egg and creamy truffle mayonnaise, and a Cornish halibut dish that looks like a spring garden, with a colourful Tropea onion compote, green mash and a puddle of very rich black peppercorn sauce. You can opt for wine pairings at an additional £90. Save room for the delightfully moreish Araguani chocolate tartlette with mascarpone and tonka bean ice cream.
By Charlotte Johnstone
Read the full review: The Lanesborough
Oval Restaurant at The Wellesley
As its name suggests, The Oval is set in an elliptical space, flush in beige and gold hues with soft lighting. The dining room – with Italian marble floors, ostrich leather wall coverings and orchid flower arrangements – evokes an old-world sophistication. The menu spotlights the culinary classics of Italy, with homemade pasta the main emphasis. It only takes one bite to understand why it’s the pride and joy of the restaurant: the spaghetti with chili and tomato sauce is cooked perfectly al dente, its firmness matched by a helping of Scottish lobster.
The pyramid-shaped duck ravioli is undoubtedly the pièce de résistance; each piece is delicately shaped by hand and substantially packed with juicy duck leg and breast meat. There are only seven tables, meaning you have the undivided attention of staff, who will eagerly give you a rundown on the origins of every ingredient, from cold-pressed Sardinian olive oil to Puglian burrata. You’d be well advised to migrate across the hall for dessert; the lounge provides a much livelier setting for sweets (try the excellent lemon tart, paired with tangy sour cherry ice cream) and a nightcap (the smooth and buttery Puglian Chardonnay is a great choice). Soulful jazz flows from the adjacent lounge, with live performances beginning at 8.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
By Venus Wong
Read the full review: The Wellesley
Angler at South Place Hotel
Angler lies on the seventh floor of the South Place Hotel in a quieter corner of the City. With its light-flooded, cream-coloured dining room and shimmering mirrored ceiling, it is becoming an outlier in this banking territory that seems increasingly dominated by steak restaurants with bare dark wood tables; although you will likely see some square milers having after-work meetings. As the name suggests, Angler specialises in seafood. Chef Gary Foulkes has retained its Michelin star with ease through his gutsy cooking, which takes inspiration from Asia and Scandinavia, as well as closer to home.
While there is a good à la carte menu, the best way to see all these global influences at play is by indulging in the thoughtful tasting menus, which offer five or eight course for £65 and £98 respectively, but with less gels and fuss than is often involved in these things. Highlights include the delicate mackerel tartare with apple and shiso leaves, which tastes like autumn in Kyoto, while the roast turbot with imam bayıldı (stuffed spicy aubergine) is robust and warming. The few meat options are certainly not an afterthought – grouse agnolotti yielded to reveal a pleasingly rich whipped mousse interior, tempered by a scattering of wild blueberries.
By Emma Beaumont
Read the full review: South Place Hotel
Red Rooster at The Curtain
A Shoreditch hotel as hip as The Curtain was always going to need an equally funky restaurant, and there is East London edge in spades at the basement Red Rooster. Fittingly, it’s more rustic Shoreditch cool than the polished Harlem original but chef Marcus Samuelsson has managed to import the buzzy vibe that helped him make his name. A bold patchwork of art fills walls between plush velvet banquettes and a ceiling that’s more industrial chic.
Food ranges from Deep South US classics such as yardbird – a whole chicken fried, arriving with a candle flinging sparks from its back alongside waffles, ‘mac and greens’, biscuits and cabbage – to further hat tips towards Samuelsson’s diverse background (Swedish meatballs with a handful of lingonberries; Ethiopian doro wat reinvented as duck tagliatelle). This is the most vivacious of soul food; even a former president is a fan (check out the Obama ribs). Service is a little detached; friendly enough but perhaps you’ve got to be too-cool-for-school in this part of the city. For something fully immersive, jump into the Gospel Brunch every Sunday.
By Benjamin Parker
Read the full review: The Curtain
Beck at Brown's
A welcome sprucing by Olga Polizzi has seen the once-fusty interiors of Brown’s restaurant, formerly run by Hix, transformed into a botanical snap of tropical wallpaper, floral upholstery, bespoke chandeliers and brassy accents against the original oak panelling and parquet floors. Yet the restaurant, now led by Heinz Beck (best known for his three Michelin-starred restaurant La Pergola in Rome), is still all about the starch-pressed linens, pretty crockery and dim lighting, readily maintaining a classic atmosphere to appease the loyal clientele. Although it bills itself as casual-Italian dining, the menu offers some complex, well-designed dishes with bold Mediterranean flavours.
You start with insalate and antipasti: think seared medallions of Bluefin tuna, as dark as burgundy and soft as butter (£16). This is followed by primi and zuppe (soup) courses, such as linguine – made in-house – with soft chunks of scorpionfish and a peppery, sweet glaze (£22). After that, it’s a choice between fish or meat. For dolci (dessert), The Planet is a delicious Ferrero Rocher-like creation of semi-freddo ice cream topped with hazelnut and lemon crumbs and a quenelle of mascarpone ice cream (£14). You can also order from the cheese trolley. The wine list is strong; my favourites were the moreish, unoaked and organic Domaine Jean Goulley & Fils chablis from Montmains, along with the full-bodied, oaked viognier.
By Charlotte Johnstone
Read the full review: Brown's Hotel
The Colony Grill Room at The Beaumont
The Colony Grill room is set in The Beaumont; a white stone building of 1920s Art Deco design. The restaurant space is impressive, dimly lit and intimate. Rows of burgundy leather seating in classic round booths mix with wood-panelled walls. The menu contains an array of classic 'all-American' dishes characteristic of a grill. An appetiser of steak tartare is delicate and flavoursome; onions and peppers give a twang to the finely chopped meat.
Mains include salt-baked sea bass, while light and fluffy macaroni cheese with chickpeas and sweet corn makes for a more hearty meal. Desserts include the popular Banana Fosters, flambéed in a rich dark rum and drizzled with toffee. The baked vanilla cheesecake made with strong mascarpone cheese and blueberries is light yet rich, striking just the right notes. The wine and champagne menu is suitably extensive.
By Grace Howarth
Read the full review: The Beaumont