It was that time of the month again! I am talking about my monthly catch up with my bestie M. She had picked Céleste, part of The Lanesborough, for our April rendezvous point. We booked their Set Menu at £39 which included three courses, a glass of champagne each, coffee and canapés through Bookatable. For a Michelin-starred restaurant in London, it seemed like a pretty reasonable deal.
As we entered, we were both gobsmacked by the sheer scale and opulence of the interiors. It was one of the most luxurious and elegant rooms I have ever dined in. It looked expensively decorated, complete with mirrored walls, ornate cornicing, high ceilings, sparkling chandeliers and domed glass roof.
The set menu was limited in terms of choices (two for each course). However, as luck would have it, we both saw options on the menu that appealed to our individual tastes and preferences and it did not clash with each other, so we managed to order the whole lot. M, being a pescatarian, opted for the vegetarian and fish options, whilst I typically stuck to my meat dishes.
We kicked off with some champagne and canapés.
I had the Crispy Organic Scotch Egg with Truffle Mayonnaise. The presentation was very refined, quite a departure from the rustic presentation I am used to in pubs. The egg was gooey-middled, encased in a thin meat crust and perched on a bed of pretty flowers and textures. I am a fan of black food and the puddle of creamy truffle mayonnaise underneath was a real treat.
M had the White Asparagus, Toasted Hazelnut and Brown Butter Sabayon. It was definitely the season for it and it looked exquisite on the plate. The frothy, seductive sauce was heavenly.
I opted for the Banger and Mash and there was one very key reason for that. I wanted to see how an upscale restaurant gives this much loved pub staple a Michelin twist. Whilst I wouldn’t say it was ground-breaking (a single sausage does not go down well with me), it was still very delectable, with velvety mash on the side and miniature crispy fried onions for texture. Overall a less stodgy, more graceful version of the original. I was however, expecting a more metaphorical version of the dish.
M’s bread-crusted Whiting, Baby Spinach, Lemon Curry and Piquillo Vinaigrette looked more appealing and, on second thoughts I would have opted for that. There were lots of fresh ingredients on the plate, topped off by a beautiful hunk of a fish. The slightly sour vinaigrette brought the whole thing together beautifully.
With Dessert course, however, Céleste was back in the game for me. I had the Lanesborough Carrot Cake (orange, lemon and carrot sorbet) . The cake itself was spongy and buttery and the delicate ribbons of carrots curled up around it was pure poetic beauty. I was particularly drawn to the blush colours on the plate, kind of complementing the duck egg blue interior palette of the place.
M had an exotic version of the classic French Dessert – Ile Flottante (floating island). She described it as ‘heaven-on-a-plate’. It was full of light and fruity flavours, with added surprises like the burnt caramel topping and ice cream in the centre.
Staff were pleasant, polite and efficient and there were lots of them, running smooth like clockwork.
Based on food alone, I wouldn’t say I was completely bowled over. However in this case, (as M rightfully says) – it was location, location, location that did it for us. Céleste’s statement location, the lavish interiors, coupled with sublime dishes and elevated cooking made it a special occasion, must-visit-once kind of venue.
More information can be found here.
Location: Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA