Apsleys

This was the first restaurant outside of Italy created by Heinz Beck, but now that The Lanesborough is having a nine month refurbishment, it has sadly closed down. The hotel itself did feel a little tired and in need of a makeover, but as for the restaurant, it has to be one of the finest dining rooms in London. It’s hard to believe that it’s all going to be changed.

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The lunch menu on offer was three courses for £35 which is  very reasonable for this level of dining. I know there are other Michelin starred lunches for cheaper, but you have to take into account just where you are eating. My partner and parents went with the lunch menu, but I opted for the al a carte, where prices are quite steep.

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To start things off there was an excellent selection of breads, which the waiters were more than happy to keep topping us up with for the duration. There was also a little amuse-bouche of onion puree with a piece of lamb (a little strange).

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My partner started with the Herb Risotto and King Prawns. It was a magnificent green and the colour was reflected in how light and fragrant the dish was.

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The Slow Cooked Salmon was the least attractive of all the dishes, and I’m not a big fan of dishes that are served lukewarm.

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Pumpkin soup came with blue cheese ravioli to give it an added texture and burst of flavour.

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I had the Tuna tartare with white tomato mousse and Taggiasche olives (£24). It came with all the drama of dry ice that was giving off a strong mint smoke for some reason. Not really sure why this went with the tuna. There was a lot of style on the plate, but the texture didn’t appeal to me that much. I was surprised by the mousse which had a bite to it and you could cut through, and had an intense tomato flavour. Full marks to the showmanship though.

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Next came Pumpkin Tortellini filled with pickled ginger and amaretti (£19). The pasta was amazing and so finely made that you could feel the little grooves where the chefs had pressed it together. The filling was so expertly balanced to make sure that the sweetness didn’t overpower. This really was an excellent dish.

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For main I had Venison (around £35) and there was so many different techniques on show I can’t even begin to list them. It had dark chocolate crumb coating it and came close to being a little on the sweet side. It also felt that there were too many flavours competing with the venison. I’d have preferred if they’d held back a little more here and let the venison shine through.

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From the set menu the most appealing dish was the play on Christmas dinner, and from the taste I had, not even Heinz Beck has mastered the skill of keeping turkey from being a little dry.

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Then came the puddings which looked as good as they tasted. The presentation was so pristine and colourful, and it was on these dishes that the Michelin star credentials were shown.

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For coffee and petit fours we were shown into the library room, which although traditional, was a shame because it was some distance off matching the glamour of the dining room.

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With a bottle of champagne and two bottles of white wine the bill was over £100 a head. It was a fantastically indulgent lunch and well deserving of its Michelin star. The staff were attentive and friendly, and having discussed football and horse racing with them, they were anything but stuffy unlike the staff in a lot of these fine dining restaurants. It will be interesting to see where Heinz Beck’s next venture is, or if he takes charge of the restaurant when the hotel opens it’s doors again this Autumn.

Food: 8.5/10

Service: 9/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Value: 7/10

Overall: 8.5/10

Lanesborough Place SW 1, SW1X

Square Meal

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