Jason Allen 29/04/24

Defining Dishes at Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal

Alex Dilling is so talented it’s laughable. His CV almost reads like chef fan fiction. He’s worked with names like Alain Ducasse and Helen Darroze, he’s either won or held onto Michelin Stars wherever he’s been, and his debut solo restaurant – Alex Dilling at Hotel Cafe Royal – scored two Michelin Stars within six months of opening.

So his new menu, Alex Dilling’s Defining Dishes, is basically a rather delicious tour of one of the greatest careers in modern cooking.

It’s a sweep across the dishes that have defined both his personal and professional lives, and it’s available at his restaurant housed inside the palatial Hotel Cafe Royal – a space that exudes all the characteristic elegance & allure you’d hope to find from a fine-dining establishment. It’s bathed in the soft, neutral tones of crisp white tablecloths and plushly banquettes, all reflected in a glossy, mirror-sheen ceiling.

The menu is eight courses in total, and ranges from a not-so-simple clam chowder (Alex Dilling grew up in San Francisco where it’s extremely popular) which he’s amped up with confit potato glazed with crème fraîche, Dorset cockles, razor clams, Kaluga caviar, Sarawak pepper, and a delicate clam velouté. Then, in truffle season, you’ll find his oeuf noir, which involves a Clarence Court egg glazed in black winter truffle gelee, Fumaison fromage foam & crème and Perigord jus.

But the real highlight is the Hunter Chicken, which is a spin on a classic Chicken Chasseur – Dilling takes a corn-fed chicken breast, then wraps it in a mushroom duxelles, encases that in a chicken mousse with Alsace bacon & lemon thyme, and then finished with Albufeira sauce. It was originally made in an Easter egg mould (hence it’s perfect-looking shape), and he’s since had a bespoke silicone mould made for the dish. You can even buy one online yourself, it’s that renown.

So at least we can answer the age old question – the egg mould came first.


NOTE: Defining Dishes at Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal is available now. You can find out more at the website right here

Alex Dilling Café Royal | 68 Regent St, Soho, London W1B 4DY

Like yourself some French food? You’ll find a guide to London’s best French restaurants here.