Sometimes, just sometimes, a brand new restaurant looks so just-right that you think it has been there forever. In a way, Claridge’s Restaurant in London, which opens next month, has. Mr and Mrs Claridge had a hostelry on this spot in Mayfair in 1854 and when paying guests arrived presumably at some point food was served. Certainly CLARIDGE’S, as it has been for nearly 200 years, used to have a grand eponymous restaurant. Then it was handed out to Gordon Ramsey and thence on to Simon Rogan. Next came New York super-chef Daniel Humm so sensibly they decided to bring the space back to where it belongs,
Claridge’s Restaurant is a delight. At a pre-opening tasting, Girlahead was entranced by the high gloss tortoishell bar set into one end wall – see above. Bryan O’Sullivan says he’s inspired by classical proportions of French and Italian architecture of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, and this is all timeless. There’s antique brass to hint of Art Deco, and there are new multi-coloured glass sunburst skylights, commissioned from Guy Oliver. Among the art displayed from Claridge’s own collection there are two new pieces, from septuagenarian English artist Brian Clarke.
Food is by Irish chef Coalin Finn, who moved back here from Inverlochy Castle a year ago. His dishes are extremely imaginative. Girlahead started with black truffle buckwheat crumpets. There were two of them, side by side on a wooden platter. Both were covered in a soubise cream which acted as bed for a circle of truffle above. Of the main courses tried, the winner was a neat circle of miso-marinated broccoli with buckwheat and preserved lemon. The table enmasse declared it a winner.
Mr Finn obviously likes buckwheat. What will he do with it at breakfast ? Claridge’s Restaurant will be open three meals a day. Girlahead could certainly eat there with delight. Morning, noon and night.