This Little Piggy went to Apsleys - Lanesborough Hotel - London
London Restaurant Festival 2013
Three fantastic words ..London (my favourite city in the world), Restaurant (a place where food is served) and Festival (a word meaning variety, fun and the very best) and so TLP made a reservation at Heinz Beck s restaurant, Apsleys, at The Lanesborough on Hyde Park Corner.
Passing under stone pillars and the smartly dressed door man you enter this 5 star establishment and step into a glitzy lobby area with tall but elegant flower arrangements. Apsleys sits off to the right and is quite a contrast as it is an Art Deco dining room of the highest order. A beautiful glass dome is quite literally the pinnacle and allows the room to be flooded with light.
As soon as we were seated we were presented with a choice of five Italian breads which were fresh from the oven and delicious. This bread tray also returned to our table a further two times before our starters were served and so we took the opportunity to sample different ones which were all as tasty as the last.
And so to the food ..as this is a Michelin Starred Italian I opted for the Chef s Pasta to start which was Potato Filled Ravioli with Squid and Seafood Bisque . It astounds me how so much flavour can be instilled into a small amount of liquid but the bisque gave the pasty a velvety coating and lifted it wonderfully. The soft curls of baby squid scattered on top added another subtle fishy dimension and texture.
The piglets that accompanied me kept to the rule of ordering different dishes and so Mr Piglet went for Scottish Salmon With Asparagus & Basil Vinagerette . This was beautifully soft and the fragrant basil gave a lovely tang to take it up a notch.
Mrs Piglet opted for the Duck Legs Confit in Crispy Mantel of Amaranth and Seasonal Vegetables which when presented looked like half a pancake roll. The duck was shredded and mixed in a light sticky sauce and then packed into the crispy amaranth grain liner.
Keeping to the Italian pasta theme I then went for Lemon Risotto with Squid and Mint which I thought may predominantly be citrusy but once again the seafood flavour shone through and it was the less subtle flavours of the lemon and mint that completed the dish, as they often do in fish dishes.
Mr Piglet went for a light option of Fine Herbs Sole with Mussels and Chickpeas . The sole was rolled and encrusted with the herbs that cracked open when you cut into it and the fish flaked beautifully. As with all the other fish dishes, the sauce that accompanied was packed full of flavour. Heinz Beck can do fish & fact.
Mrs Piglet went for the heartest main on the menu which was Rump of Lamb in Fine Herb Crust with Marinated Aubergine . Perfectly pink and soft as butter which, considering this was a rump, shows brilliant cooking skills. There could have been more of the strong meaty jus that accompanied though.
Having had two relatively light courses I then allowed myself the indulgent chocolate dessert which was merely described as Chocolate and Passionfruit on the menu. As you can see from the picture it was a chocolately work of art. A soft passionfruit mousse was sandwiched between a chocolate biscuit base and thin layer of dark bitter chocolate with accompanying puddles of passionfruit syrup, quenelle of chocolate ice cream and chocolate dirt. With passionfruit being quite sharp, the chocolate seemed to neutralise the fruit and meld it into a well suited symbiotic flavour. As each element on the dish had different intensities of flavour, each mouthful felt like you were dipping into different desserts every time.
Mr Piglet went for the other chocolate on the menu, Cocoa Sable with Liquorice Cremoso and Strawberry Ice Cream . As with the passionfruit, the strawberry blended so well with the dark chocolate and brought down the bitter intensity so it was a refreshing dessert.
Mrs Piglet went for the Artisan Ice Creams which on the day we visited were pistachio, hazelnut and amaretti. We each tasted them and found the flavours didn t come through and so each tasted merely of vanilla. We fed this back to the waiter who then replaced them immediately with raspberry, lemon and blackberry sorbets. These were much improved and gave refreshing bursts of fresh fruit flavours with each mouthful.
Being able to sample Michelin starred food at reasonable prices during an event such as the London Restaurant Festival is brilliant. This Little Piggy can t wait for the next one.
This Little Piggy approves.
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