Jason Allen 04/05/21
Hélène Darroze is one of the best chefs in the world right now.
Her restaurant in Paris has two Michelin Stars, and her flagship in London – the subject of today’s conversation – has three. In the eyes of the Michelin inspectors, restaurants literally don’t get any better than this. And frankly, it’s tough to disagree with them.
You’ll find Hélène Darroze at The Connaught in, of all places, The Connaught. Wander down its polished corridors, and swing open the heavy double doors leading into the restaurant itself, and you’ll find yourself in an elegantly appointed space that marries the conservative tones of the hotel’s formal heritage with the splashes of colour from the slightly more modern restaurant itself. Oak panelled walls, yes. Stiff white tablecloths, no.
The food follows the same pattern – paying respect to tradition, but constantly pushing into interesting, creative territory nevertheless. Two visits will likely not see the same exact menu, with tweaks being constantly made by executive chef Marco Zampese and Hélène herself. Dishes are driven primarily by the seasons, with choice picks from French, Italian and Japanese culinary traditions making an appearance, but this is very much the Hélène Darroze show, so things never stray too far from her home in the southwest of France.
Nevertheless, your menu – whatever it ends up being – will likely involve as much local produce as possible. Scottish langoustines act as a bed for elegant petals of green apple & kohlrabi, all topped by a crown of caviar. Fat hunks of Cumbrian beef are dressed in rich Bordelaise sauce of bone marrow & red wine. A pillow-soft baba comes soaked in Darroze Armagnac, from Hélène’s family distillery. The only commonality is that everything is uniformly sensational.
That’s true of the wine, too. It almost goes without saying that there’s a pretty extensive cellar you can dip into, as well as there’s a series of pairings you can spring for, should you want to push the boat out. Rest assured that the sommeliers know exactly how to make the most of each dish. And if you’re splashing the special occasion cash, you’ll be very well taken care of.
Not only are there not many places in London to find a meal of its equal, but the same is true for the planet, too.
NOTE: Hélène Darroze at The Connaught is open Monday to Saturday. You can find out more, and make a booking at the website right HERE.
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught | The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, W1K 2AL
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The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, Mayfair, Central London, W1K 2AL
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8.9 | Great
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