I'm a freelance writer and yogi living in Tepoztlan, Mexico where I'm running www.casadelcorazon.mx with my girlfriend. You can keep up with my other writing on www.bollocks2thewellingtons.com/
Published February 4th 2014
Posh dining for the indecisive foodie
This is an interesting new concept in dining situated in one of London's most prestigiously located hotels just off Park Lane.
It is very much "concept dining" with the idea being small dishes that you can share with others but novel in that it takes different cuisines that have become popularised in London and groups them under a heading relating to the area that they are most famous.
So for Indian dishes we have the Brick Lane menu, for South East Asian dishes it is Hackney's Kingsland Road. Lebanese food is covered under Edgware Road and Portobello becomes the touching base for everything good in British food.
I went as part of a bloggers group and we were served a selection of the dishes across all four lanes which made for an extremely varied smorgasbord of food. This is an approach I like. As an indecisive diner it's always a pleasure for me to try a little bit of everything. Even with this in mind though, it was quite a bizarre selection of food,
We had a pretty tasty papaya salad, (although it was not spicy enough for my palate, trained as it is in SE Asia) alongside slightly overdone scotch eggs, deliciously tangy samosa chaat and a quinoa and sweet potato salad that was almost not there against the other dishes.
While, individually these were all fine it was an odd mix and it is easy to imagine that in a mixed group you would end up with a similar variety of dishes. In fact, while I would say that in general the quality of all the food was surprisingly good considering the range if you weren't going to go for a hodge-podge of cuisines you would surely go to a place that specialised in whichever one you were most keen on.
It's a fun concept though and pairing up some of the interesting cocktails along with the food adds another element to the sharing and mixing concept.
The favourite was the Ka'ahwa Reviver with its smouldering cinnamon stick although the tangy Arack panch made with Sri Lankan rice wine was also good and the Hung Que Sour, like a whisky sour but with a bit of added lemongrass was decent although not as unusual as we were hoping.
Our second course was a selection of Beef Brisket Sliders (mini-burgers for those not in the know) with bone marrow on the side to dip in and top, lamb cutlets with a pea and bean mint pesto and oddly, a butter chicken curry.
These dishes again, in their own right were all fine. The curry was a little bland for me but the sliders were great with a delicious texture that left us all wanting more.
As if we weren't stuffed enough from this array of foodstuffs dessert came along in the form of a massive Double Chocolate Brownie Gateaux served with banana ice cream and lychee sorbet, both served in cute little metal boxes. The Gateaux looked great as you can see although was maybe a little sweet even for me, while I found the banana ice cream had that "fake" banana flavour that I associate with pick and mix candy or Nesquik.
We were given a postcard with the dessert menu written on one side which I sent to my Mum and she was delighted with, although I must admit to finding the concept a little odd!
We left with a "Jammy Dodger" in cake format to take away, and tasty it was too, if again, incredibly sweet. More than that though I took away the feeling that this place isn't quite in the right place for the interesting niche it is going for.
That's the problem with restaurants that do the whole shebang of cuisines; they have a vast selection, but the food is usually average. They are good if you are going as a group, where everyone has different tastes though.