To say this dining experience was one of the most amazing ever would be an understatement as we were treated like royalty during our recent visit to Helene Darroze at the Connaught Hotel. If going back to this restaurant wasn’t amazing enough then what is about to follow just blew us away. Once we heard that the restaurant was reopening we couldn’t wait to make a reservation. Especially after enjoying our last visit in November where we had the honour of being the first people to be seated in the new Armagnac Room. Once our reservation was confirmed I then received a message from first Mirko the restaurant manager and second Nicha the hotel restaurant coordinator who said they would like to offer us a truly amazing experience by dining at the Chef’s Table. We were deeply honoured to be given this opportunity and therefore gladly accepted.
So now onto the main event as they say. We arrived at the Connaught Hotel and on entering sanitised our hands on one of the many sanitiser machines in the lobby. Then there waiting for us were Mirko & Nicha who gave us a fabulous welcome before escorting us to our table. But instead of going into the restaurant itself we went through another door and started to head downstairs. Once at the bottom of the stairs we then passed through the kitchen areas before appearing at the main kitchen and where the Chef’s Table was waiting just for us. We still couldn’t believe we had been given this opportunity and once again thanked Mirko & Nicha for this amazing experience. We then met Head Chef Marco who welcomed us to the restaurant before taking our seats at the table.
We started with a complimentary glass of champagne while we sat watching the chefs spring into action. They were all wearing face masks and constantly sanitising their hands. At this time we were presented with a selection of three snacks while we looked at the menu which was either the short five course or the longer seven course Taste of Summer Tasting Menus. We not only chose the seven course but also one of us chose to have the supplement dishes. It was then time to choose some wine to which we said to Mirko as a thank you to him an Italian white wine would be perfect to see us through the first few courses.
So now back to the snacks which were delicious. The first was a Seaweed Meringue with Liver Parfait & Lemon Jelly. The second was a Corn , Smoked Eel & Szechuan Pepper Tartlet. Then finally a fresh Trout Doughnut with Vadouvan Spices. This was accompanied with a Cucumber & Celery consommé to refresh our palate.
We were then treated to an additional delight which was a Langoustine cooked on a small BBQ box and served with a fabulous Lemon Dressing with Plancton Powder. This was followed by another little surprise as head chef Marco brought over the Wagyu Beef Brescola for us to taste as well as some breadsticks. I have to say it was amazing and just melted in the mouth.
Langoustine with a Lemon Dressing
Wagyu Beef Brescola
While we continued watching the chefs creating these amazing dishes it was time to enjoy some bread and the fabulous butter. At this point Mirko introduced us to his chosen bottle of wine which was a fantastic San Lorenzo from Le Marche made with 100% Verdicchio.
This wine was pleasantly fruity and floral with notes of pear, almonds, elderflower and lime.
San Lorenzo Wine
Now it was time to move onto the first courses of the Tasting Menu. My wife had the Crab with brown & spider crabs , pomelo & lampong pepper. For myself I chose the first of the supplement dishes of Caviar with Scottish Langoustine , melon , samphire & ponzu that was absolutely stunning.
This was followed by the Westcombe Ricotta with tomato , celery , spinach & bellota consommé that was heaven. This led us onto another nice surprise from chef as we were given an extra course of Foie Gras with plum , sancho pepper , koji rice & sake that balanced the richness of the foie gras perfectly. Next to arrive was a fantastic XXL Scallop with tandoori spices , carrot , citrus & coriander. This led us to the next course a Red Mullet with courgette , olives & gremolata which was yet another delightfully balanced plate of food.
It was now time to move on to the main courses and the second supplemented dish of Wagyu Beef with aubergine , herbs and flowers , fermented pepper and a bordelaise sauce. This was without doubt one of the best plates of food I’ve had the pleasure of eating. The other dish was the fabulous Grouse with beetroot , fig & mexican mole. These dishes were perfectly matched with two fabulous red wines chosen by Mirko.
Our Fabulous Wine Pairings
Next to come was the Cheese Course a fantastic Ardi Gasna from the French Pyrenees by the Benat Fromagerie before moving on to the pre dessert of Raspberry with bay , pumpkin seed & raspberry vinegar. This led us to a fantastic Chocolate dessert with buttermilk , tarragon & lemon which was paired perfectly once again with a delightfully sweet Castella di Monsanto Vin Santo. Cheese
I was then in for a big surprise as I was presented with a little birthday dessert along with the team standing in front of us singing a belated happy birthday to me.
We finished with coffee and petit fours to bring to an end the best dining experience ever. We were well and truly treated like royalty. The food created by Chef Marco and his team was sensational. The service led by Manager Mirko was excellent. Thanks also to Mirko for his amazing wine pairings. This experience will without doubt stay in out memory forever. Although you might not be as lucky as we were I would highly recommend a visit to this restaurant for one of the best meals your ever likely to enjoy.
Coffee and Petit Fours
Thank You to Mirko , Nicha , Marco and all the team for this amazing opportunity and look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Head Chef Marco