Editor's note: Apsleys will close from 20th December 2013 for nine months as part of a major refurbishment of The Lanesborough hotel.
A tasting menu today began with a series of nibbles. King prawn tempura on red pepper couscous was impressive, the batter very light, the prawn of high quality; I am not a fan of couscous but even this was excellent. Alongside this was baked aubergine with tomato and basil foam, the aubergine having very good flavour. Best of all was duck leg confit with horseradish cream and summer vegetables (18/20). Slow-cooked organic salmon was served with asparagus, trompette mushrooms and tomato vinaigrette, a good dish but with a touch too much vinegar for my taste (16/20).
Tuna with veal jelly came with a frozen powder of tuna, capers and anchovy crisps; I liked the tuna but could have done without the powder (16/20). Much better was foie duck gras terrine and quail breast, raspberries and wild mushroom. The foie gras was silky and had superb flavour, the raspberry giving a nice touch of acidity (19/20).
Scallop with liquorice, smoked potato puree, fennel, pork and grapefruit had nice balance, but there was quite a lot going on in this dish (17/20). Lobster salad with nectarine came with celery puree and crispy Parma ham, a good dish though the dry ice seemed a bit of a distraction (16/20).
Saffron gnocchi was absolutely superb, served with broccoli and tender red prawns, the gnocchi having stunning texture (19/20). Faggotelli carbonara is a signature dish here that I have written about previously, and was as good as ever. Sea bass with a crust of tarragon and chervil featured wild bass, carefully cooked and served with sweet red pepper and San Marzano (18/20). I preferred this to black cod, which came with baby Swiss chard, anchovies and lemon sauce, though objectively this was still a very good dish (16/20).
Lamb saddle from Rhug farm with Mediterranean flavours was excellent, the lamb precisely cooked and nicely pink (18/20). I really enjoyed Castelbridge beef fillet al pomodoro, the beef having lovely flavour and the combination with the tomatoes worked well (18/20).
A pre-dessert of strawberry sorbet, strawberries and delicate ash meringue was refreshing (17/20). Crunchy lemon praline was made as a millefeuille with praline mousse and lemon cream, with a sponge of almonds and hazelnuts and hazelnut ice cream; this was very good though I prefer the classical millefeuille with puff pastry (17/20). The star dessert was a new take on tiramisu, a sphere with liquid coffee, granita of coffee and a little raspberry to give acidity, with chocolate cream and a chocolate sable, with coffee bean ice cream on the side. The intensity of the coffee flavour was dazzling, a really top class rendition of this dish (19/20). This was a very fine meal indeed.