Luxury Hotels


The Dutch do tartares their own way. At the Grand Café in Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, try an ossenworst tartare, above. It is aged beef, and the dish originated in the 17th century when there was mass import of oxen – ‘ossen’ – from Denmark and Germany. At the Grand Café the beef is actually cooked, at a very low temperature. It’s served on a sourdough base, with radish and sweet and sour cauliflower. And an egg, semi hard-boiled, is put on top.

Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky has produced an absolutely charming 19x17cm kids’ book,  The Mirrors at Hotel Krasnapolsky by Margje and Sjoerd Kuyper, with whimsical illustrations by Eva van Aalst, Rubinstein Publishing. It’s the story of Minako, on vacation with her parents from Japan. At one point she and mama-san (see illustration, below) are looking at food in the hotel’s Wintergarden. Perhaps there are ossenworst tartares there. There certainly must be chips, also known as fries.

Eating like a local in the Netherlands and Belgium also entails fries. By themselves, perhaps held in a paper twist. Dip’em in mayonnaise and no worry if there are mayo smudges around the mouth, they are evidence that you are indeed eating like a local.

In England, national eating includes a return to the traditional roast. In generations past, households had hot roast – lamb or beef – for Sunday lunch. The ‘joint’, as it was called, returned cold on Monday, and on Tuesday it became mince after remaining morsels of meat were put through a hand-operated grinder (heavy-duty mincing machines, clamped to the wooden edge of the well-worn kitchen table, had integral disks with apertures of the required diameter). Today no household follows such a regimented weekly routine and pubs have taken over the baton.

The Langham, 300 metres north of Oxford Circus, turned an integral bank at the corner of the block into a standalone pub, The Wigmore. Martin Brudnizki’s interiors are perfect. Some high, some normal-height tables, and dark green walls. The Wigmore now does Sunday-lunch roasts, a sell-out week after week. Eating like a local, even of past days.