London hotels are dishing up new eateries left and right. Luxury Travel Advisor’s London correspondent had the chance to check out a handful of the latest and greatest from the English capital. Of note were: Kerridge’s Bar & Grill at Corinthia Hotel London, Laurent at Hotel Café Royal, Ella Canta at InterContinental London Park Lane, GBR at Dukes London, Jean-Georges at The Connaught and Ormer at Flemings.
At 21 Club in New York City, we had the opportunity to sample the cuisine of chef Adam Handling, a Scottish Young Chef of the Year, MasterChef: The Professional finalist and the new executive chef of Belmond Cadogan Hotel, which will open this December.
While it wasn’t the exact menu that will be available at the property, it was of the same kin. Belmond Cadogan Hotel will have four dining venues: Adam Handling, Chelsea, the flagship restaurant serving upscale British cuisine; The Bar, which will have an extensive champagne and cocktail menu; Terrace Café, a Mediterranean-style café; and The Cadogan Tea Lounge, where guests can enjoy a fun twist on Afternoon Tea classics. Guests can expect locally inspired and seasonally changing menus.
Our Sommelier-wine-paired menu included: Cheese doughnuts; a beer batter chip with beef and egg yolk spread; mussels with red wine vinegar and shallots; English sourdough with chicken butter; a vegetarian dish comprising confit duck egg, Granny Smith apples, celeriac, truffle, date and lime; turbot, tomato and pickled crab; the "Posh Potato," a barbecued, bite-size potato with caviar; lamb Wellington; and millet cake with cherry and meadowsweet.
What we loved was the casual and comfortable approach to the fine-dining dishes. For instance, instead of canapés, Handling served ‘snacks’ (“I’m British, not French,” he joked as he introduced his first course). All of the flavors you would expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant were there, but the items were all intended to be shared and eaten with your hands. In between dishes, the Posh Potato was also meant to be eaten with your hands; Handling wants guests to lick the charred remnants off their fingers—much like you would at home.
Handling, who only turns 30 this year, got his start at Gleneagles where he was the first-ever trainee chef before becoming Fairmont St. Andrews' head chef. He has been awarded the British Culinary Federations's Chef of the Year in 2014, Scottish Chef of the Year in 2015, and Newcomer Restaurant of the Year in the Food and Travel Reader Awards in 2015. Handling currently operates The Frog Hoxton, Bean & Wheat, Frog by Adam Handling, Iron Stag Bar and Eve Bar.
The styling of the cuisine—a blend of cultured and comfort—seems to be a theme at the hotel, which is located on the border of the high-end Knightsbridge and artistic Chelsea neighborhoods. (From its main entrance, guests will find luxury brands and high-end retailers of the former, while an exit through the side door will have guests among craft boutiques, artisanal food and trendy drinking spots.)
Tip: Guests can stay in the room where Oscar Wilde was arrested with a bottle of Perrier Jouet in-hand (Room No. 118). It will be part of Royal Suite but can also be booked separately. Other top suites include Park View Corner Suites and the Penthouse Suite; these suites will have king-size beds, a walk-in closet and living rooms with “vintage flourishes.”
Leading the hotel will be general manager Klaus Kabelitz. He joined Belmond in 2015 from Le Richemond Geneve, a Dorchester Collection property. He has also served as the GM of The Berkeley, a position he held for nine years; he also served at another London outpost, Claridge's, where he worked as house manager. To explore London, he has put together an itinerary of his perfect that guests can follow.