Tucked away a short distance from Harrods in Knightsbridge is the quietly unassuming 5 star boutique hotel, The Capital. The main dining room, The Restaurant, has been revamped and the kitchen is now headed up by Andy Simmonds, who most recently was head chef at the Belmond Cadogan.
With 5 AA rossettes, the Capital Hotel has always had a destination restaurant. The last chef to preside over the dining room here was 2 star chef Nathan Outlaw who was in situ for 6 years. Past head chefs include Eric Chavot, Phillip Britten, Brian Turner and Richard Shepherd.
Adding his own take, Andy has introduced a modern British menu using seasonal local produce, delivered with some twists like the addition of uncommon ingredients like liquorice, wasabi, chamomile and lardo.
We were invited for lunch the other week, not very long since the new restaurant opened with their new fine-dining menu. The lunch menu is an abbreviated version of the main ala carte menu, with just a choice of 3 starters, 3 mains and puddings.
If you don’t opt for the wine pairing flights, you can choose from the curated wine list, which includes many small artisan producers. The very helpful front of house staff are on hand to recommend wines to match.
A delicious amuse bouche of chicken with black truffles and arancini gave a hint of the meal to follow. Sour dough bread served alongside is made by the London Bakery (same ownership as the hotel).
A dramatically green Granny Apple sauce accompanies the Smoked eel dish which my companion found quite fishy.
Veal belly risotto with wild mushrooms was an unctuos, comforting choice for a starter.
On the ala carte menu you will find choices like Foie Gras, Sour Cherry, Chamomile and Pistachio or Veal Sweetbreads, cockles, watercress, lemon and liquorice.
As we wanted to sample something from the ala carte, we share the Foie Gras starter, which is a plate of understated decadence.
The menu is minimal in its description listing just the ingredients and no other hints on how it is cooked. My main was just:
a precisely cooked piece of fish married with autumnal ceps.
Meltingly soft Pork belly was served with a hunk of grilled pineapple which added the acidic contrast to the plate. The decorative discs of turnip, besides being pretty, added some contrasting textures. But it might have been a bit better if there were more of the other vegetables on the plate.
For dessert, the “Poached pear/Tarragon(sorbet)/Crumble/Pear Sorbet” was so pretty with an unusual combination of flavours, just sweet enough and not too heavy. For those without a sweet tooth, the British Cheese Platter is served with a piece of blue cheese, a British brie and an aged cheddar served with really unusual and inventive homemade biscuits.
An almost flawless meal with unstuffy, attentive but not over bearing service.
We spoke briefly with the talented French pastry chef, Marvin, who looks after this section, baked those incredible cheese biscuits and who is also responsible for the afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is served in the drawing room and I imagine it will be quite special.
The Restaurant is a perfect lunch stop for Knightbridge shoppers looking for a great British lunch away from the masses.
The set lunch (£33/£39 -2/3 courses) is an ideal choice for business lunches and the evening ala carte or 6 course tasting menu (£95) is a choice for those looking for a great British dining experience.
They are open for Christmas Day lunch and New Years Eve too.
The Restaurant at the Capital
22-24 Basil St,
London SW3 1AT
EatCookExplore was a guest of The Capital Hotel