New addition to the 2023 GBR & Ire Michelin guide gaining 2 Michelin stars on first entry
Alex Dilling was formlery head chef at The Greenhouse, a charming restaurant with floral courtyard st tin a Mayfair Mews before being a casualty of the pandemic. Mr Dilling earned this restaurant 2 Michelin stars and now only after 6 months of opening within the long-standing Hotel Cafe Royale, the hotel’s flagship restaurant gained 2 Michelin stars in the 2023 guide straight away. In fact, it was the only restaurant to gain 2 stars and rather uniquely went straight to this level. The menus range from £175 at the upper end to the extremely good value £65 lunch menu served Thurs-Sat on the website, although I was told only Thurs and Friday in the restaurant for this menu. The meal was precision cooking with some customarily very good canapés and is certainly a welcome addition to the 2 star family as Alex Dilling’s cooking most definitely is.
Canapes included Pissaladière bases with caramelised onion, Jersey royal potato & smoked eel, duck rilerte and rosti bites with turbot and sea urchin tartare which were fabulous. Confit duck terrines were likewise light and delicate and sumptuous. As a member of the Luxury Restaurant Guide, I was able to take advantage of the current offer with this restaurant which was a complimentary glass of the house champagne and this was obviously very welcome. For the rest of the meal we enjoyed a bottle of the Chapel Down Kits Katy Bacchus at £68 which was one of the more modest bottles on the wine list and perfectly fresh enough to accompany the meal.
My dining companion and I ordered different dishes from the whole of the lunch menu and tried both meaning that it was good to see and experience the entire lunch menu. I started with the oak smoked salmon which came with stuffed morel ‘farcie’ (stuffed) served with a wild garlic sabayon which was beautifully done. The other starter was boudin noir (black pudding), Iberico ham, Andignac foie gras served with a truffled brioche which was frankly fabulous; decadently rich and light at the same time.
My main was wild turbot from a 5kg turbot, served with a cuttlefish jus and Basque chorizo foam. This was very pretty, perfectly cooked and a complete pleasure. The other main was Hunter’s chicken served with glazed skin, stuffing and albufera sauce (a daughter sauce of veloute). The chicken was absolutely succulent with an unctuous sauce and both mains were served with seasonal asparagus on soft cheese and a superbly buttery mash, akin to the fabled Joel Robuchon mashed potato.
The dessert was a rhubarb tart with fromage blanc ice cream and was utterly brilliant. The sweet cheese ice cream an actual favourite of mine which I have not had in a long time, the tart base lovely and the rhubarb sauce a sweet joy. House cheeses were also enjoyed which came with sweet wine jelly and truffle honey and these were all very good. Petit fours were provided at the end of the meal and were all intricate and delicious – as classy an end to the meal as it was throughout.
This was an impressive meal overall and I thought it entirely worthy of its new accolade of 2 Michelin stars.
Food Grade: 86%