Our pro says...
This has Alain Ducasse’s touch, so expect the usual slick, well-groomed staf. Our waiter was charming, and once we had done away with the irksome ‘menu recommendations and explanations’, the well-oiled machine got to work. Glasses were never empty, tables endlessly brushed, and there’s real heart to the front of house. I wasn’t recognised.
Again, with a Ducasse restaurant you can be certain that the food will be technically astute. The signature blue lobster chowder (£17) is more Provençal bisque than New England chunky soup – it’s refned, elegant and possesses a serious piscine punch. A coddled egg, crayfsh and herb fricasse (£19) arrives in a Kilner jar – so 2011 – but has an astonishing clarity of favour. Tangles of spinach wallow in an ethereal eggy broth. It looks dull but tastes divine. Less successful are the razor clams (£16) – the gratinated crust overwhelming the subtle tang. A vast veal chop (£32) whispers rather than moos, just as it should. A hint of bovine hef, mixed with sof succulence and skilled grilling, makes this a thing of beauty. The mushroom and cream is silken but with meat of this quality, rather unnecessary too. Then chocolate soufé (£14): a polished, smooth-sided Vogue cover-star of a pudding. Firm but lithe body, lusciously oozing heart. Magnifque. As is a marmalade cheesecake (£13) of startling intensity – great ingredients, wonderfully cooked, with prices to match.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The room has the most expensive of glows. And the clientele, as you might expect, is International Expense Account. But this is Ducasse, so the menu is more laid back than the room. The cooking is precise, but it’s seriously expensive, making it a place to impress new clients or in-laws. And the room lacks bonhomie, so I’m not sure I’ll go back. Bill was £259.88 for two, including service