Theo Randall ex-head chef at the River Café - the much-loved waterside Italian which was opened by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers in 1987 - has opened up this restaurant in the Intercontinental Hotel near Park Lane. Mixed crowds of visitors to the capital, business people and anyone who has a passion for fine dining, are all aware of Randall’s formidable skill.
Those who have been to the River Cafe will be know that the restaurant’s blend of simple, rustic Italian styles and flavours, are executed extremely well. Modern hints of innovation amongst the often centuries-old dishes and techniques are on display here. Theo Randall’s new restaurant has this and more.
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.
With Theo Randall’s career including experience in some of London’s most prestigious locations as well as Chez Panisse in California, it’s vital to note that – prior to opening up his own first solo venture – he secured his reputation as head chef at The River Cafe.
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