The Restaurant

The Restaurant may possibly win acclaim for its food or admiration for its decor but it’s never going to win prizes for its name. Then again, it is located on the ground floor of The Hotel, so I guess they didn’t have much choice. Still, it’s very silly and makes it difficult to search for information or reviews online.

The decor is serious and sumptuous: lots of heavy fabrics and velvet, lots of black, with spots lighting the room. It reminded me a bit of Via Lamanna. We were given a table for two by the window and a menu. The lighting was a bit hit and miss, which explains the graininess of some of my iPhone photos.

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Looks easy, doesn’t it? But in fact you have to choose a country as well as an ingredient. There are three chefs in the kitchen: French, Italian and Thai. Each has created a dish based around each of these main ingredients, so you can choose, for example, Thai Egg for starter, and Italian Sea Bream for the main, or whatever.

To make the choice easier we were given an iPad which allowed you to scan through the illustrated menu switching between ingredients and chefs. This was handy, but then I don’t see the point of having both the iPad and the printed menu.

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The golden swoosh seems to be an obligatory part of the sea bream dish.

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We made our selections and then received an amuse-bouche of salmon.

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My starter was French Mushroom, which took the form of a salade folle: mushroom and salad and herbs and truffle shavings. It was fine, but lacked a little punch, I felt. And dill was a weird choice of herb as it seemed to be the most dominant flavour. The truffle, by contrast, was fairly tasteless. I’ve had this experience before: cook with it as an ingredient and it’s wonderful and distinctive; but just shave it, raw, onto the top of the dish and it’s just like eating a chewy cardboard disc.

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My main was French Guinea Fowl, which was supposedly a deconstructed club sandwich. Eggs, salad, bacon, and curly bits of toast. Nice.

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My wife made a slightly better choice: the mouthful I tried of her Thai Beef main was delicious.

It was quite filling so we skipped dessert, although I was momentarily tempted by the “Autumn Éclair”. Our wine for the evening was an Australian Shiraz and very nice it was too. I also liked the way the light from the table lamp passed through the bottle and lit the label from behind.

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I liked the concept and would be willing to try it again. But considering the prices they’re asking I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed by the food.