07 April 2010
We decided to book our meal for the early lunch sitting and go for the set menu, as knowing would be in london , and walking all day, the earlier the better! other reviews saying that the restaurant was busy and understaffed could not apply, for as soon as we entered the two other tables that were finishing eating had soon settled their bills and drifted out, looking very content. The service was impeccable. the main waitress for our table was attentive, friendly and, despite describing fried courgette as healthy french fries, was perfectly professional. tap water was poured for and, the wine that at first seemed expensive but after tasting, very fairly priced, was poured perfectly and politely by a very knowledgeable and passionate young waiter. the food was very good, we were allowed four courses ( £27 for three and one extra for £5) which did take us quite a while and although the booking said we could only have 2 hours, they happily accepted us for longer. starters of cured beef with rocket was a perfect, light start, and a point that the food being wholly italian and attempting to accentuate the rustic friendliness and relaxed aspect of Italy's food, it felt a bit juxtaposed against the interior ( admittedly, the STUNNING interior) of a five star london hotel. This said I was there with my partner to enjoy ourselves and we certainly did, our pasta courses, a seafood ravioli and beef fillet and chianti ravioli, were stunning. the beef rich and somehow creamy, with the seafood, (apparently) delicious, and the inclusion of actual fresh seafood, which sadly seems fairly rare in many other places I have eaten, was wonderful. Mains wise, the salmon fillet I had, accompanied by vegetables seasoned and cooked well was a true treat. a huge portion, unexpected when offered the choice of three courses ( possibly the up-selling of the waitress) however the salmon was light, the skin crispy but delicate and the vegetables had a flavour but just the right amount not to distract from the fish, but to compliment its subtle flavours perfectly. The huge portion of guinea fowl that my partner ate was apparently dry and the well hidden marscapone did not do enough to satisfy the tongues need for moisture, however cooked well and soft enough in parts to enjoy the flavour immensely, even if a sauce could have softened the touch slightly. A beautiful pear and almond tart, and an overly priced cappuccino later resolved in a meal that lived up to and satisfied the expectations that I had prior to the meal. I will, and already have recommended it to people, and maybe I am a sucker for a set menu, but presented with the quality and the portions that we had, I think eating earlier and better is the way forward.