Alex Dilling at Hotel Cafe Royal

French·
££££
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Gold Award
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SquareMeal Review of Alex Dilling at Hotel Cafe Royal

Gold Award

Coming off a stint as executive chef of the two Michelin-starred Greenhouse in Mayfair, expectations for Alex Dilling’s first solo restaurant are stratospheric. Not only is Dilling’s name fluttering away on flags outside the hotel entrance, he and his brigade are the first thing you see as you walk in, through a large viewing window into the immaculate new kitchen.

The interiors are fairly unremarkable - this is a hotel restaurant after all - but plush, cool grey banquettes and chairs are comfortable, and the dining room retains an air of dignity and sophistication that suits the food down to a tee. This is really about Dilling’s elegant French cookery.

The food that follows ranges from very good to absolutely remarkable. There are two rounds of canapes to warm you up, the highlight of which is a deconstructed tartiflette of potato, cheese and bacon, draped with a translucent onion jelly and served with a glorious, shimmering consomme on the side.

The attention to detail in each dish is staggering. Another course shines light on Cornish sardines - cured, marinated, laid gently on a layer of just-set buttermilk and adorned with cubes of cuttlefish. It’s a dish that would happily grace the menu of any top restaurant in the country. Later, a whole quail is cooked ‘en vessie’ (a traditional French technique where the quail is steamed inside a pig’s bladder), before being carved and served with a blanquette sauce. It’s exquisite. This convergence of tradition, artistry and precision cooking is what elevates Alex Dilling into the top tier of London’s fine diners.

Down notes, if we were picky, were a Dover sole, grey shrimp and vin jaune dish that didn’t quite meet the standards of the rest of the menu. The final course - a delicately-piped hazelnut and vanilla sphere with praline caramel core - is a thing of beauty, but being mostly piped cream, it’s a heavy way to finish the meal.

The wine list is extensive and ably communicated by a wonderful in-house team, but make no mistake - it’s incredibly expensive. By contrast, we reckon £155 for the signature tasting menu is actually good value for Dilling’s peerless cooking. Either way, Alex Dilling at Hotel Cafe Royal is an instant classic that more than lives up to expectation.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
French
Ambience
Fine dining, Glamorous, Luxury, Romantic, Traditional
Other Awards
SquareMeal London Top 100, Two Michelin stars
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
People
Romantic, Special occasions

About

Regent Street is blessed with another potential star in the making; this time it’s Alex Dilling - one time head chef of The Greenhouse and Helene Darroze at the Connaught - who arrives on this famous street with his first solo restaurant, Alex Dilling at Hotel Cafe Royal.

With a stunning view of the iconic Regent Street curve and across to Piccadilly Circus, this elegant dining spot seats only 34 guests, allowing for an intimate experience of Dilling’s contemporary French cuisine.

Decadence is infused in every aspect of the interiors, with details such as hand painted silk panelling and cosy, bespoke booths creating an exciting, fine dining ambience.

Dilling draws on inspiration from classic French gastronomy, and combines this with his own young, energetic cooking style. Diners have the option of a range of menus: a three-course lunch menu, and two evening menus - a seven course dinner menu, and a chef’s special menu of seven courses and additions, where guests will dine on the finest, seasonal ingredients in elevated, creative dishes.

This is no more evident than in Dilling’s bouillabaisse, where Dilling honours the beloved, traditional recipe, but elevates his fish soup with an indulgent oyster cream. Potato and aged Kaluga caviar complements a dish of salty, smoked sturgeon, and there’s more luxury courtesy of a Limousin veal sweetbread, served with smoked eel, watercress and a gribiche sauce. For dessert, diners can expect sweets that resemble works of art - spheres of intense Araguani chocolate are paired with smoked Piedmont hazelnut, and served alongside perfect spheres of aromatic Tahitian vanilla; this is a dessert you’ll want to leave room for.


FAQs

Is there a dress code?

We advise a smart casual dress code for the dining room, sportswear and loungewear are not permitted.

Helpful? 0

Is there an a la carte menu at the restaurant?

No - you have the choice of two tasting menus in the evening, or a set lunch menu on Thursdays and Fridays.

Helpful? 0

Alex Dilling at Hotel Cafe Royal is featured in

Location

Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, London, W1B 4DY

020 7459 4022 020 7459 4022

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri Closed
Sat 12:00-16:30
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 18:00-23:30
Wed 18:00-23:30
Thu 18:00-23:30
Fri 18:00-23:30
Sat 18:00-23:30
Sun Closed

Reviews

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3 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Philip B

24 June 2023   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Jean T

28 December 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Fabulous food with excellent service and excellent wine list - the most generous canapes and petit fours ever experienced!

Susanne L

27 December 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Amazingly artistically presented and innovative delicious dishes in the most elegant and soothing space; lunch in particular was excellent value

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