Editor's note. This was the last meal I ate at Apsleys before it closed as part of the lengthy Lanesborough hotel refurbishment. It was planned to reopen in spring 2015, builders permitting, though this appears no to be in doubt due to an ownership change of the hotel. In March 2015 it was announced that Eric Frechon of The Bristol in Paris would oversee the food and beverage operation of the hotel when it reopens. The actual cooking will be done by Florian Favario, sous chef at Le Bristol.
The lunch began with foie gras terrine came with smoked apples and amoretti – this was lovely, the foie gras silky smooth and with good flavour, the apples providing balancing acidity (easily 18/20). Scallop with a herb crust with black truffle and a mushroom consommé had a soup with quite good mushroom flavour, though the delicate flavour of the scallop did not really need the herbs as far as I was concerned – there were just too many flavours (16/20).
Tortellini of pomodoro with lime langoustines had lovely pasta; separately the langoustines were enjoyably sweet, but I am not sure that the two things together were very complementary. The pasta on its own would have been 18/20, but as a dish it was less successful, at 17/20. Wild sea bass fillet was carefully cooked, served with beetroot cream, winter vegetables and lemongrass coconut sauce. I really liked the sauce here, the coconut flavour and the lemongrass going really well with the sea bass (17/20). Etouffe pigeon with pumpkin puree, salsify and black pepper sauce was excellent, the pigeon cooked precisely and having plenty of flavour, the sauce nicely reduced to concentrate its taste (18/20).
For dessert, tiramisu sphere was very good, a chocolate sphere containing coffee and vanilla ice cream, though not quite as good as I recall previously (18/20). Service was impeccable. This was not the very best meal I have eaten here, between 17/20 and 18/20 level, but was still excellent, and Apsleys remains the best Italian food in London at this moment. I hope that the key staff will be retained when the restaurant re-opens.