Those who dined at the River Cafe under his stewardship will know that Theo Randall is a master of rustic Italian flavours. And at this plush Park Lane hotel, Randall displays many of the same virtues - adding modern hints of innovation to often centuries-old dishes and preparations.
You will be given hearty dishes made from the finest ingredients. The main ingredient of each dish is always allowed to take centre stage, but Randall’s real skill lies is in augmenting these with extra elements which rarely stray from the dish’s roots, making them stand out from the rest. Smoked eel is served with a mix of red and yellow beets, rocket and the punch of fresh horseradish; Devon crab salad is brought alive by fennel, dandelion, celery and more.
A clutch of rice and pasta dishes make up the primi piatti – Mixed green vegetable ravioli, seafood pasta with red mullet, clams, sea bass and squid, or Spaghetti with Dorset lobster and a few carefully-chosen flavours of parsley, tomato and chilli to bring it alive. And the main plates canter around Italy in search of something to suit everyone – Wood-roasted pigeon with pancetta and slow-cooked peas, Calf liver with pancetta, sage and beans, and Wood roasted salmon with capers, olives and asparagus being prime examples.
Service is friendly, and a number of deals are available for the pre-theatre crowds, lunch visitors, and so on. The wine list is extensive but by no means solely Italian; ask for advice on whichever suits your choices best.