Hiding Above Ground

Saturday, June 23rd , 2018

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Hide is probably the highest profile opening in London this year, with gazillions being spent on the three-floor venture overlooking Green Park, with executive chef Ollie Dabbous. The formal restaurant “Above” (there is also the casual “Ground” and the bar “Below’) delivered some very prettily presented food that included a particularly good beetroot dish. The wine list here is very unusual in that you can drink anything from wine shop Hedonism, owned by the same people as Hide, and pay £30 above the retail price there. This means that the better wines are a steal compared to what you would pay elsewhere in central London. It is essentially a corkage charge but you don’t have the bother of carrying the wine to the restaurant. This is a real bonus and the food was very polished, albeit of the highly tweezered variety.

Neptune is a large seafood restaurant in a flashy new hotel called The Principal on Russell Square. We had some acceptable food, though the service operation was decidedly shaky, and there was little that really stood out on the food side. This is a quite expensive restaurant, and given its slightly unusual location I wonder how well it will do once the initial hype subsides.

Pied a Terre has had a succession of gifted chefs over the years, including Richard Neat, Tom Aikens and Shane Osborn, who all maintained two stars for the Charlotte Street restaurant for many years owned by restaurateur David Moore. These days it has one star, and the latest person to head the kitchen is former sous chef Asimakis Chaniotis. We had a very enjoyable meal, the star dish being a smoked quail salad.

I had another excellent meal at Beck at Browns, where the kitchen is already settling down and ironing out a few minor early glitches that I encountered in my first meal here. This lunch was spot on, with particularly classy pasta and risotto but also high end desserts. The head chef Heros di Agostinis here is a class act, and deserves to earn a star for his cooking, as he did at his previous stint at Apsleys.

Marianne is a tiny Notting Hill restaurant that has built up a good reputation, recently winning Harden’s "top gastronomic experience n London" award this year. I had not been since soon after it opened, and certainly the food has developed in sophistication since that early meal. It turns out that Marianne Lumb is actually moving on herself to travel in Asia, handing over the kitchen to her head chef.