Of all London’s super-fancy dining spots, Claridge’s really is one to tick off the bucket list.
And it’s not because of the hotel’s glamorous history, having hosted the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Bing Crosby. And it’s not because of the restaurant’s beautiful interiors, with their original art deco features, the lofty stained glass ceiling and butter soft emerald banquettes. It’s not even because of the service, so perfectly pitched but lightly worn, that makes every guest feel a million bucks.
It’s the mashed potato.
But of course all of the above comes in handy too, and from the moment you’re swept through the polished revolving doors of this Mayfair institution, you’ll feel every bit as special as those Hollywood stars. The hotel is essentially unchanged from its 1930s heyday, without feeling like a museum. There’s convivial chatter over afternoon tea in the Foyer. There’s the illicit appeal of the Fumoir bar in a room off the main hall. Just going to the bathroom here feels like a treat.
That afternoon tea is rightly famous as one of the best in London, but when the occasion calls for a fancy breakfast, lunch or dinner, make a beeline for Claridge’s Restaurant.
After a few years under the stewardship of Daniel Humm as the Michelin-starred Davies and Brook, Claridge’s Restaurant now reverted to its old name, with a new approach. Out goes multiple courses and tweezered herbs, in comes a chorus of dazzling brasserie classics, executed to perfection.
For really special occasions, there are oysters, caviar, and seafood platters loaded with lobster and langoustines. But there’s also comfort food of the highest degree: roast chicken with a brioche & lemon stuffing; an elegantly latticed beef wellington; a slab of grilled Cornish turbot, dry-aged to lock in an impressive intensity of flavour; and perfectly seared scallops with nutty knolls of Jerusalem artichoke purée. The confit aubergine is unmissable: meltingly soft, with the contrast of a crisp outer crumb and a swoosh of roast garlic yoghurt. And yes, you really have to get that mash (which arrives in its own tiny little casserole pot).
For a restaurant that so wholeheartedly embraces decadence, it’s a policy they loosen a little when it comes to pricing. The pre-theatre and lunch prix-fixe menu comes in at £58 for three courses (and there are plenty of restaurants round here where you could easily spend that just on starters). Sure, you could keep it under £50 with two courses, but the desserts here are spectacular: there’s a theatrical baked alaska to share between two, or a chocolate soufflé tart which is, in a word, sublime.
It almost deserves a bucket list entry of its own.
NOTE: Claridge’s Restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner (no dinner Sunday). You can find out more, and book, HERE.
Claridge’s Restaurant | Claridge’s, Brook Street, W1K 4HR
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