A little corner of Park Lane has been revived with the transformation of the old International Casino into 45 Park Lane, a new luxury boutique hotel that is part of the Dorchester Collection. The hotel is a complete contrast to the Dorchester, it’s modern, contempary and has only 45 rooms. The site has been languishing and unloved for years in one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in London and nice to see that the Brunei Investment Agency has transformed this into a revenue generating asset.
The new 45 Park Lane Hotel is designed by Thierry Despont, with a lot of dark wood, subdued lighting and mirrored glass doors, positioning it for the business traveller. The stairs from the small lobby area leads to a stunning hotel bar, Bar 45. The bar in the centre of the long room delivers a large list of cocktails and wines and the bar food it sensational. For a hotel bar, it is sophisticated and stylish and it’s open to non residents up to 12.30.
On this visit, we sampled the superb Mini Kobe sliders which were perfect bite size pieces with multiple layers and some other small eats from the bar menu.
Adjourning downstairs to CUT, Wolfgang Puck’s first London outlet. CUT is his high end American Steakhouse brand with branches around the world. The entrance to CUT is visually impressive, double height ceilings, bespoke chandeliers, dark wood pannelling, soft lighting and hung with 16 Damien Hirsts from his Psalm series. (The largest number of Damien Hirst shown in public in one place). The lighting is romantically dim but the dining room is busy, quite loud and seemed filled with suits, probably hedgies from around Mayfair.
We kicked off with a quick tour of the kitchen where we were introduced to the star of the kitchen, the specially imported Texan wood fire grill that cooks at 650C. The steaks are cooked with a charred surface and pink in the middle.
The menu centres around the steaks, is mainly American with a touch of Asian flavours like Big Eye Tuna Tartar with Wasabi Aioli.
For starters, we were served the Roasted baby beets with Dorstone Goats Cheese, toasted pistachios, citrus, micro basil and mint (£11) and A Tasting of Salads’, one a light, fresh mix of apple, endive, dates and Montgomery Cheddar, spiced almonds. Sweet beets with sweet and tangy dressing. Delicious.
The Wine List at Cut
The wine list at CUT has the largest selection of American wines in the UK, expertly managed by the Sommelier, Vanessa Cinti who has just moved over here from another of Wolfgang Pucks establishments in the US. She chose some spectacular wines for our meal including a sensational Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (about £300) and is only available at CUT in the UK.
Choice of Steaks at CUT
As we awaited our main course, we feasted our eyes on the beautifully attired wait staff who were seen carrying around a plate of raw beef swaddled in white napkins to show the other tables. This is how you choose your meat here.
We were served the Tasting of New York Sirloin (£48) , with 3 cuts, the USDA Prime Black Angus, the Casterbridge Angus and the Australian Wagyu Black Angus. From the description, it was not really possible to guess what breed of cattle the meat is from as Angus is a generic American marketing name for beef and does not have anything to do with Aberdeen Angus at all.
Accompanying the steak were the outstanding Mac and Cheese and Creamed Spinach with egg which was prepared at the table. I would not normally order these side dishes with steak but they both worked really well with the steaks. The steaks varied in flavour with the Wagyu being the most tender and the USDA cut the most flavourful. Unfortunately the English steak lacked flavour and it seems the supplier was chosen out of a large selection as it was the closest in flavour to the US steaks and the UK grass fed beef was too gamey.
To round off the meal, we had the Banana Cream Pie with the intriguingly named 10 year old Chocolate Sauce. This prompted us to ask the waiter what this meant, old chocolate? The Ten Years actually refers to the Chocolate Sauce recipe that has taken 10 years to perfect. The second half of the pudding was a truly decadent Warm Chocolate Souffle with Gianduja Ice Cream served by our delightful waiter.
CUT is a great addition to the London Dining scene and will probably be a favorite with the US expats in town looking for a taste of home, albeit done in high style. In the first month of operation, it is already fully booked and I expect will continue in the same vein. Cut is a very well run machine (no opening snafus) , the staff are friendly and the service is impeccable and head chef David McIntyre leads the team is producing great dishes.
45 Park Lane is a stunning hotel and it feels cosy and inviting and not too impersonal. It is more like a little club than a hotel. Bar 45 would be a great venue for a quiet drink or a hot date as it is not very busy or noisy and CUT is well worth a second visit.
SlowFoodKitchen was a guest of 45 Park Lane and CUT