Some old favourites

Sunday, May 19th , 2013

 ritz 3648 dining room 001-crop-v2.JPG

Back in London I returned to a few old favourites. The Ritz is a restaurant that is ignored by the foodie press, yet the cooking here over the last few years has become some of the most assured in London. Some new dishes that are prepared tableside add some restaurant theatre, such as a whole sea bass baked in pastry, and crepe Suzette. Ingredient quality is immaculate, as shown in a lovely langoustine dish. With its polished service and beautiful dining room (pictured) this is a restaurant that really delivers in all aspects.

Alyn Williams at The Westbury delivered another very good meal, starting with good cheese gougeres and continuing through carpaccio of scallops with langoustines, and an inventive curried cauliflower panna cotta with onion bhajia. 50 day aged pork with salt-baked kohlbari and wild leeks with oak moss was also excellent. The staff here are lovely and the dishes appealing and well executed.

Hedone is really in the groove at the moment. Its appearance on the San Pellegrino Top 100 list, one of only seven UK restaurants to do so, is an indication of its growing international reputation. The £35 lunch is a bargain here, as unlike some top London restaurants it does not just use cheap ingredients like pork belly or rabbit for its lower-priced lunch offer. Queen scallops were remarkably fresh (still alive just before serving), and the morels with the slow-cooked egg were terrific. An extra dish of langoustines with a clear but intensely flavoured seafood consommé was very impressive, as was really fresh red mullet. The raspberry millefeuille, using the delicate puff pastry that they make from scratch here, was lovely.

It was perhaps inevitable that my sole venture into Japanese food in London, Wabi, was disappointing after Tokyo. It is a smart place and the food was tolerable, but the difference in ingredient quality between here and Japan is so great that it is tough for any Japanese restaurant in London to really compete.

The blog next week will be a day or so later than usual due to travel.