went on saturday night to georgio locatelli's new london restaurant. and i cannot stop thinking about the food, the decor, the service, the bill. everything was superb.
the restaurant is in the churchill hotel on portman square. but you would never know. it has been fitted out beautifully with delicate neutral colours and fabrics and has a feeling of class elegance and refinement that is almost peerless. i cannot think of a restaurant that can match it for those characteristics.
i started with veal shank ravioli which was one of the most sumptuous melt in your mouth dishes i have ever eaten. my only regret is that i did not order it as a main course so i could have a bigger portion.
main course was a perfectly cooked loin of beef which was exquisite.
desserts are far more daring than expected and i plumped for a frozen gingerbread mousse that was excellent but i was sorely tempted to try the tiramisu to see how the master makes it. maybe next time.
service was exemplary. friendly, but not over familiar. i never had to fill a glass with wine or water, yet never did i feel as though the glasses were being overfilled or refilled too quickly which is a difficult thing to get right, especially in the first week of a new restaurant.
the wine list contains plenty of choice at £25 and below, my only criticism is that it does not have any helpful annotations which would be useful in making decisions which involve the more obscure italian wines.
finally the price, a meal for 2 including wine and service came to £100 which i think is fantastic value for the quality of food, service and ambiance.
i want to go again.
re: nick henry
Robin and I went there for dinner tonight and I have to say after the disappointments of the great Parisian debacle, it was indeed a pleasant surprise.
The room is welcoming and the staff more so, although I am not sure that buying the front of house desk from a sell off of Blake 7 memorabilia was quite the thing.
We started with a Negroni each. Too strong but well priced at £6.50.
We could not really choose on the starters so ordered three. Mackerel wrapped in pork belly, pan fried cheese and a superlative Ox tongue with a salsa verde. Each was worthwhile for their simplicity, no muss no fuss, but the Ox tongue was a revelation with a texture and taste that is rarely found in the bland supply in London ( the estimable St J's excluded )
Breads ( seven varieties ) and breadsticks were baked on site and worthy of special mention
Main courses were more mixed. Robin went for a sweetbreaed in a "sweet & Sour sauce" I was less convinced about this than him. I thought it over powered. He thought it was better and more savoury. My beef loin was close to the perfect piece of beef. It was Buucleugh Beef from the highlands who also supply Buck house and Le Gavroche. The meat was marbled and of stunning flavour and cooked to perfection. Something our french friends seemed incapable of. Sides of Spinach and salad were pointless but OK
Desserts were a pistachio yoghurt and a fondant. Good, but only puddings and therefore not worthy of true investigation.
A well priced veneto ( Allegrini ) at £29 was subtle and light and from a good grappa list we chose a Moscato and a Pirus at £9 a pop
Service throughout was spot on and it is noticable that when I asked about the provenance of the beef, Mr Locatelli himself came out with the brochure to chat passionately and at length to us about it.
Bill with the works came to £150. I would proffer great value for money and about a million notches above GR@ Claridges whose cooking was less exact, whose service was less able and whose value for money was less top notch. But hey they are french so let's all get on our knees and worship.
re: Simon Majumdar
I have to agree with Simon (a rare occurrence) on his take on Locanda Locatelli. The service was spot on, knowledgable and enthusiastic, rare attributes in London's increasingly hype-led dining scene.
Breads were exemplary and generously served.
Starters were pretty good but the star of the evening was Simon's steak - he cunningly convinced me to change my order from that dish at the last moment (drats). The sweetbreads were ok but came as small nuggets not (as they do at Foliage) as one large piece. They were tasty but the dish didn't quite make it IMHO. Still my whining brought forth several exquisite nuggets of beef and beef fat so I was content.
After all the above deserts were somewhat superfluous but competent. Coffee was the estimable Illy and came with truffles and a small macaroon type biscuit. A couple of grappas finished off the meal.
One point worth mentioning is that children are welcome (especially on Saturday lunch time), although when we went it was mostly a succession of suits and cable tv celebs ("...and welcome to my home").