Luxury hotels are like the world’s best stages – and InterContinental London has the added advantage in that GM Alvaro Rey is a magnificent impresario-director.
He was working for at least a couple of years to get his Mexican restaurant, Ella Canta, open this September. The result is no ordinary guacamole and tacos place but a David Collins Studio ambience staffed by catwalk beauties dressed by Laura Tovell of 1947 Bespoke. Leading lady, however, is Martha Ortiz, a culinary genius who also manages to continue running her Dulce Patria restaurant in Mexico City. Hip Londoners are flocking for her seabass ceviche with mango and sangrita sorbet, her nopal salad, and perhaps guava and burnt cinnamon candy tart with caramelised pecan.
And in the bar, there are coloured waters, thanks to hibiscus, lime or tamarind additions, and perhaps a daisy-do margarita, of kaffir lime leaves-infused Patron Silver tequila with pear purée. “I knew Ella Canta would be a success but I am blown away”, enthuses Alvaro Rey after his customary five o’clock (a.m.) workout. He is now looking forward to October 31st, 2017, when Hallowe’en will see Ella Canta offer a one-night homage to life that has passed on.