London’s top hotels are heating up the food scene with a new crop of restaurants helmed by well-known chefs. We are loving the newly redone spaces and the fabulous food, especially the ability to go from guestroom to a “destination” dining room without setting foot outside!
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, Corinthia Hotel
Tom Kerridge is one of the most loved and admired chefs in Britain, a best-selling cookbook author and regular on the BBC, he came to fame in 2011 when his pub, The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, a posh country village in Buckinghamshire, 33 miles west of London, was the first pub ever to earn two Michelin stars, an accolade still held today (note: the waiting list for a booking is about a year.) He then opened a second pub in Marlow, The Coach, which also earned a Michelin star in 2017, and has a walk-ins only policy to make his food more accessible. Needless to say, there has been tremendous anticipation for Chef Kerridge to open his first London outpost. The Corinthia hired David Collins Studio to rework the former Massimo space; the long bar remains, while the main dining area with soaring ceilings is now highlighted with deep green walls and rich red leather seating.
As stunning as the new space is, the food is definitely the star of the show. The most Instagrammed dish from opening week was the glazed omelette ‘Lobster Thermidor’ starter: Large, rosy chunks of lobster coated in creamy egg suace, served in a mini frying pan. Other menu standouts: South coast lemon sole with shrimp, seaweed and shellfish; and a succulent rib of beef with bone marrow sauce and a towering blackcurrant soufflé. We loved the new rotisserie bar that roasts large joints of meat, fish and some root vegetables in front of diners. To run the kitchen, Chef Kerridge has appointed Nick Beardshaw as head chef. They have worked together for many years, initially at The Hand and Flowers as sous chef and more recently as head chef of The Coach in Marlow.
Top tip: Book now! Weekend dinners are already busy at peak times and will continue to get busier as the buzz grows. Corinthia Hotel London is offering a guestroom upgrade for any reservation that includes a lunch or dinner booking at Kerridge’s Bar and Grill (some restrictions apply).
Laurent at Hotel Cafe Royal
Popular New York City-based French chef Laurent Tourondel has opened his first eponymous London restaurant at Hotel Cafe Royal this summer. The space, divided in two by a glass-enclosed kitchen, offers views over Regent Street or the newly Piero Lissoni-designed lobby. Chef Tourondel brings his big hits from his 15 other restaurants around the globe—a creative sushi bar, a range of grilled meats and fish done on an Argentine-made BBQ and, of course, his signature popovers. The sushi is some of the most interesting in London—we loved the crispy lobster roll and the Cornish crab nigiri—and his interesting use of local ingredients in dishes, such as the Isle of Skye scallop salad or the coconut meringue with wild strawberries. The room also boasts a fantastic back-lit bar that soars up to the ceiling serving bespoke cocktails made with interesting mixers: Early Grey tea, lychee and cardamom.
Earlier this summer, we caught up with Chef Tourondel to get the latest on his first-ever restaurant in Europe and why he chose London as the location.
Ella Canta, Intercontinental London Park Lane
London foodies have given an enthusiastic “hola” to famed Mexican chef Martha Ortiz, whose Mexico City eatery Dulce Patria is regularly voted one of the top in the world, on the opening of the new Ella Canta at the Intercontinental London Park Lane. The menu at Ella Canta includes several signature dishes that have made chef Ortiz one of Latin America's most celebrated chefs, while incorporating produce and meats from across the British Isles. Our favorites: The fiery, red-hued Vampire ceviche with mango and sangrita sorbet; and the Pato al mole negro, duck served with plantain purée, red rice and black mole, a rich, cacao-tinged sauce incorporating up to fifty different ingredients. Dishes are served with fresh soft tacos produced using masa, ground on the premises, and made in house; there’s also an authentic cocktail menu, featuring a variety of mezcal and tequila, and even a Mexican “mezcal” gin. Ella Canta just launched a weekend brunch with unlimited margaritas, open from 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. There’s also seasonal tasting menus and pre-theatre options.
Other new(ish) hotel eats we love…
GBR at Dukes
Dukes, the iconic Mayfair hotel which just celebrated 110 years and whose bar is famed for inspiring Ian Flemming’s choice of a martini (shaken not stirred) as the drink of choice for James Bond, has recently redone their all day dining room, now GBR. We love the new menu overseen by Norfolk-born executive head chef Nigel Mendham, featuring traditional British dishes with contemporary twists (think: venison with bubble and squeak or treacle served as a sponge cake instead of a tart).
Jean Georges at The Connaught
This has to be one of the prettiest dining rooms in London, curving along the side of the The Connaught with gorgeous views over Mount Street. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has put together winning menus from breakfast to late night—including his take on English Afternoon Tea and a dinner menu featuring his classic black truffle pizza and Asian infused fish dishes. Jean Georges at The Connaught is open all day.
Ormer at Flemings
Shaun Rankin is another chef who earned a Michelin star for his restaurant outside of London before heading into the city, opening Ormer at the Flemings Hotel a few years ago. His food continues to impress, it was just named a Top 5 fine dining restaurant in London by Hardens 2018 Guide. We love his veggie options; Omver is definitely one of the most elegant and delicious places to enjoy vegan food in London.