The end of the year is in sight and Haute Time has hardly done any home cooking. Rather we’ve spent 2014 eating out and who can blame us? Spending time in a kitchen trading 101 things to do with a ripe aubergine is for those unlucky souls who live beyond the M25 and aren’t able to gorge at Gymkhana or pop into The Palomar. Londoners don’t want to be shackled to the stove – not when we could enjoy a bite to eat at Balthazar, dinner and drinks at Dabbous or piqueos and Pisco Sours at Lima Floral. The memory of a good meal in the greatest city in the world will always put a smile on your face. With this in mind, we present five more of our most memorable meals of 2014…
1. Galvin at Windows
Everything about this Michelin starred French restaurant from Chris and Jeff Galvin – the brothers behind five London restaurants (Galvin Bistrot De Luxe in Marylebone, Galvin La Chapelle and Café à Vin in Spital Square, Galvin Demoiselle at Harrods in Knightsbridge and Galvin at Windows) elates. Located on the 28th floor of the plush Park Lane Hilton hotel, the elegant interior prickles with an air of excitement as the attentive staff show you to your table where you can enjoy spectacular mains like The Rack of Cornish lamb, pea purée, spring vegetables, lamb Bolognese & mint jus or Wild garlic & quinoa tortellini. Service is polished if a little slow but then in such stunning surroundings (360 degree views of landmark sites such as Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace come as standard), why would you want to rush?
London Hilton on Park Lane Hotel, 22 Park Lane, W1
2. The Grill at The Dorchester
The Dorchester isn’t short of places to eat but the iconic Grill which recently reopened following a £1.3million makeover – its third since its launch in 1931 - is the hotel’s most in-demand dining room. The new decor – the brainchild of interior architect, Bruno Moinard – is dashing: we love the hand-blown Murano glass chandelier, created by by Aristide Najean. But there’s more to a restaurant than its clientele and facade and happily the food can’t be faulted. Start with the signature Blue lobster chowder, served with mushroom and chives (£17) and Westcombe Cheddar Farmhouse soufflé (£12) – the stuff of fantasises - before getting stuck into grills which include the likes of organic Angus beef. Factor in friendly and quietly confident service and you’ve got the perfect playground in which to welcome in the New Year.
The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, W1K
3. Min Jiang
Hutong may dominate the headlines but Min Jiang has lost none of its appeal.Take the lift to the 10th floor of the Royal Garden Hotel where you will be greeted by jaw dropping views of Kensington Gardens. But while the vistas are superlative, it’s the food that is nonetheless the star attraction – something suggested by the reassuring number of Chinese diners present. The menu reads brilliantly and mains could include Sichuan classics such as Double cooked pork belly with Chinese leek and Roasted chicken with fen pi in Sichuan sauce. However the restaurant is renowned for its own version of Peking duck – aka Beijing’s signature dish. Expect a crispy yet succulent skin that’s sliced at your table and guaranteed to tease tastebuds. Finish with Fresh mango cream with sago pearls and pomelo – a satisfyingly, sweet delight.
Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street, W8
4. The Sign Of The Don
Located on the site of the original Sandeman Port and Sherry Cellar in the picturesque St Swithins Lane, The Sign Of The Don is the little sister of city restaurant veteran The Don. But while its elder sibling focuses predominantly on formal French fare, The Sign Of The Don pays homage to Spain. The gigantic subterranean basement bar/bistro certainly looks the part with its barrel stave interiors, port heritage cellars, banquettes crafted from casks and eye-catching sculptures of iron hoops made from ancient barrels. Another special feature is the wine list—there’s plenty to lure in the oenophiles. But if you’re not a wine connoisseur, worry not: the charming sommelier, Bence, is usually on tap to help you navigate the list and match a wine to each and every course of your meal. As an atmospheric alternative to the Square Mile’s stuffy restaurants, The Sign Of The Don is a star.
21 Saint Swithin's Lane, EC4
5. The Wolseley
Looking for the best breakfast in London? The old-world yet buzzy brasserie that is The Wolseley is always top of the list. Don’t believe us? Just ask AA Gill. The notoriously acerbic Sunday Times restaurant critic is so taken with The Wolseley’s morning menu that he has even written a book about it – Breakfast at The Wolseley (Quadrille publishing), if you’re interested. And for good reason. The location – next door to The Ritz on plush Piccadilly – can’t be bettered. The black, gold and cream colour scheme is suitably handsome. The smartly clad staff are attentive and efficient, yet never prissy and the food is perfect. Think Prunes with orange and ginger, Fishcakes with poached eggs, Pancakes with bacon or blueberries, Biercher-muesli, Kedgeree, Kippers with mustard butter, Eggs Benedict, Caviar omelette and the classic English breakfast.
160 Piccadilly, W1