My first memory of the Connaught was of wheeling a very noisy trolley full of ice cream and sorbet mixes from the Claridges to the Connaught to be churned at 4am. I was working the night shift at Gordon Ramsay Claridges and our ice cream machine had broken down, and the closest ally was Angela Hartnett’s kitchen at the Connaught. Nothing makes more noise than a metal trolley full of metal containers rattling down the West End at an ungodly hour – even the police found it rather amusing. Since then, the Ramsay empire has crumbled, Angela has found other avenues on her own and the Connaught is now under its new queen, Hélène Darroze, running her second 2 star Michelin restaurant. Whilst London may not be the food capital of the world, it does have some of the best lunch deals and on this occassion, £60 for 4 courses and 2 glasses of wine seemed to fit the bill quite nicely.
First order of the afternoon arrived in a martini glass by way of Foie Gras creme brulee, green apple sorbet, peanut cappucino which, I have to say, was exquisite. A light mousse-like foie gras cream with a micro thin layer of caramel worked well with its fruit and nut counterparts and even left the palate clean. On its heels was a great, but boring green risotto (but then, the Indian in me will always find a risotto boring – give me a kedgeree any day!). The main course of Pigeon and beetroot arrived a little shy of salt and without much pomp. Miss N’s Scallops too, could have been excused as they were heavily coated in bog-standard tandoori spices, completely overpowering every other flavours on the plate. However, what came next took us back to the happy sounds that the first course initiated. Sage pannacotta, apple compote, jelly and sorbet flavoured with manzana. I have to say, sage in desserts is quite a lovely flavour!
Oh, and special note for the very friendly and gregarious service!