Raffles London at The OWO


Hattie Lloyd 09/01/24

Mauro Colagreco at The OWO

Mauro Colagreco’s restaurant Mirazur has three Michelin stars. It’s been crowned best restaurant in the world by The World’s 50 Best. And when he opened it back in 2006, he won a ‘Revelation of the Year’ award which was literally invented for him.

Long story short: the guy knows his way around a kitchen.

And for the first time ever, one of those kitchens is here in London. Specifically, in the impressively revamped Raffles London at The OWO, which opened its doors in late 2023 after a £1.4 billion refurb.

The old war office building itself dates back to 1906, when its hallowed halls and marble corridors hosted the likes of Churchill and Bond writer Ian Fleming as they worked on matters of national importance. Original features have been scrubbed and polished everywhere you look, from the hand-carved stone fireplaces to the dome above the hotel’s grand main staircase, which greets you as you walk in from Whitehall.

Mauro Colagreco’s eponymous restaurant sits in a wing to the left, opposite his more low-key offering for everyday dining at the hotel, Saison. But where that restaurant elevates a continental breakfast with lofty glass ceilings, elegant trellis-panelled walls and a stunning double-height mural, Mauro Colagreco at The OWO sets up fine dining in more intimate surrounds.

Behind a pair of heavy doors is a modestly-sized dining room swathed in soothing, neutral tones. There are plush, biscuit-coloured carpets and velvet loveseats. Cabaret lamps cast a soft glow over the table linens. A soundtrack of golden era jazz standards and bittersweet instrumentals suffuses the room. It’s pure culinary cashmere.

mauro colagreco at the owo

This quiet sophistication runs through the equally elegant (albeit more colourful) menu, which offers three courses à la carte, or a five dish tasting menu. It’s also worth knowing that you can come here at lunchtime and enjoy three courses for a steeply discounted £60.

Vegetables are the guests of honour at Mauro Colagreco, and while they might not always be the most prominent component of a dish in terms of flavour or volume, they steer the menu with seasonality and have been sourced as locally to London as possible. At the start of the meal, however, they take centre stage in a tower of bespoke wooden boxes, dismantled to reveal a quartet of exquisite vegetarian amuse-bouches.

This signals the start of what is technically an eight course tasting menu, which continues with a freshly baked crown of bread. Cooked to Mauro’s grandmother’s recipe, it’s divided into tearable peaks which emit billows of steam as you pull, all soft at the centre, crisp and salty at the crust.

mauro colagreco artichoke dish

From here it’s a parade of varied inventions, from the tangy sweetness of the fermented radish with langoustine tartare, to the smoked fish nestled in lettuce leaves grown in Elephant & Castle. Highlights include the Jerusalem artichoke, condensed into a gloriously thick purée and served with meaty Cornish monkfish, and the venison, with its pool of rich chocolate sauce. Each dish arrives with a card bearing botanical illustrations and some interest-piquing facts about each star vegetable (Henry VIIIth was a voracious lettuce fan, it turns out – but then, he famously ate a lot of everything).

mauro colagreco petits fours

Desserts include a deliciously tart preserved lemon ice cream topped with a glazed ravioli shell, and a beautiful take on a montblanc with goat’s milk ice cream. And then, a final course of petits fours arrives in another custom-made box which opens to reveal a suite of chocolate bonbons, scented jelly, and more.

As you’d expect, there’s a lot of very good wine in the cellars here, and a knowledgeable sommelier who can point you in the right direction. And if you order the port, your server will wheel over a kind of medieval-looking winch which theatrically tilts the bottle to pour into your glass.

The whole meal is highly impressive…

…but that really is the tipping point.


NOTE: Mauro Colagreco at The OWO is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday – Saturday. You can find out more, and make a booking, HERE.

Mauro Colagreco at The OWO | The OWO, Whitehall, London SW1A 2BX

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Mauro Colagreco at The OWO

Raffles London at The OWO, Whitehall, Westminster, SW1A 2BX

020 3907 7520

9.0 | Amazing