Peter Morrell and a friend enjoy fine dining in this elegant five-star boutique hotel located a stone’s throw from Harrods
The Restaurant at The Capital Hotel is ideally situated for a place to relax and revive after a morning of retail therapy or as a destination to enjoy superb food, good service and elegant surroundings
A new Executive Chef, Adam Simmonds, has recently been appointed to introduce a new style of cuisine to the restaurant. Adam comes with an impressive career record having gained experience in some of the UK’s most famous restaurants like Marco Pierre White’s Les Saveurs, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and the Belmond Cadogan Hotel. Along the way, he has worked with renowned chefs and was given the accolade of a Michelin star at Ynyshir Hall in Wales and Danesfield House in Marlow.
A friend and I recently had lunch there to taste the new lunch menu that Adam has created. Arriving at The Capital was an experience in its own right. The staff are all very welcoming and utterly charming. The dining space, at the front of the hotel, is bright and airy with stylish décor featuring relaxing colours, interesting artwork and comfortable seating.
The lunch menu was refreshingly simple, three starters, three mains and three desserts with vegetarian options. The food has a strong, modern British bias with ingredients being sourced from trusted local suppliers.
The salt-baked celeriac served with fresh curd, gooseberries, lovage and truffle looked interesting but our final choices of starter were smoked eel and risotto. While we waited for this course we nibbled on home-baked brown and white bread and were treated to a first taste of Adam’s cooking. This came in the form of two amuse bouches nestling on a bed of pine needles. The first was a crunchy morsel of coated, and very tender buttermilk chicken and the second spinach arancini. They were both delicious and ultra-fresh.
When the food arrived it was beautifully presented, my friend’s plate was studded with pieces of eel and Granny Smith apple and a vivid green parsley sauce was poured over them. It was visually stunning. It was a bright, uplifting dish with interesting tastes and textures. My risotto was made with veal tongue topped with wild mushrooms and chervil and was equally pleasing. The creamy rice acted as a backdrop to the strong flavours of the meat and mushrooms.
The vegetarian option for the main course was Parmesan custard with Scottish girolle mushrooms, tarragon and wet walnuts which again looked tempting. We chose the pork belly and the plaice. My friend’s pork had a melt in the mouth quality and good depth, it was complemented by thin discs of turnips and pressed pineapple. My fish was a delicate fillet, sat on a bed of celeriac, a cep mousse and pieces of octopus with a profoundly tasting master stock. This was exceptionally good with precise flavours.
There was a very comprehensive wine list with a good selection from both the old and new worlds. Despite having ordered fish and meat we both wanted a red wine and asked the knowledgeable restaurant manager for a suggestion. His recommendation was just right, a cabernet sauvignon from Stellenbosch, South Africa, The First Lady 2016, made on the Warwick estate. The wine had strong aromas of cherries, chocolate and blackberries in the bouquet that were joined by tones of leather, cedar and spices on the palate. The finish was strong and persistent and, atypically for a cabernet sauvignon, was very light and fresh. One final point, the wine was served in the ultimate make of glass, Reidel. All of their glasses are thin and rimless, this delivers the wine to just the right point in the mouth to maximise the enjoyment of the wine.
Moving on to the dessert course, we were tempted by the dark chocolate mousse and the English blackberries but decided on the British cheese plate. The two cheeses were both firm favourites, Lincolnshire poacher, which has a rich, rounded flavour and served with pineapple and Oxford blue, with a softer creamier texture with an unmistakable tang. They were served with a range of homemade biscuits.
Our final indulgence was petit fours, one a rich fudge and the other with a mouth refreshing citrus.
This lunch had been an excellent showcase for the food Adam has introduced at the Capital Hotel and I would recommend that you pay a visit to experience the cuisine of the award-winning chef for yourself.
Just as pleasing as the food was the price – £33 for two courses and three for £39, an affordable pleasure after you have finished shopping for Christmas presents at Harrods this season.