By Mark Captain, Travel & Lifestyle Editor.
The Corinthia Hotel London is a class act and a destination in itself. It combines grandeur, heritage and exquisite design. At Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, you are welcomed by a map on the door which shows the journey that Tom Kerridge has made from Marlow to London. Let’s not forget that Tom’s restaurants in Marlow are the inspiration for Kerridge’s.
The high ceilinged classical setting is decorated with artwork and sculptures by artists such as Beth Cullen-Kerridge and Robi Walters. Look out for the bronze sculptures in the middle of the dining room ‘Steve’ and ‘Dorsal Angel’, while in the corner from table 15 you can watch your dinner hypnotically rotating in a wall of rotisserie grills.
Since taking over the restaurant in 2018 the team have transformed the place; comfortable club chairs set an atmosphere of casual class and upbeat music gives a modern relaxed feel while not losing any of the style and history of a hotel, frequented by the more discerning type of celebrity. Wading through crowds hovering by the front doors to get an autograph from their favourite popstar adds a wonderfully self-deluding glamour to your entrance. Adjust your sunglasses, throw back your shoulders and walk confidently in.
An accomplished selection of cocktails and bar snacks greet you when you arrive. More impressive still is an encyclopedia-thick wine list with a gratifying page and a half of sparkling wines from around the UK. There is also a helpful Sommelier on hand to narrow your search down. Having started with a pre-dinner glass of crisp English sparkling, it seemed only fitting to continue with a glass of Davenport dry white, made from a blend of grapes that thrive in England’s southern counties, that perfectly illustrated why English wines are giving the old guard of continental wine producers a run for their money.
The menu is the celebration of British produce that you would expect from a man who twice won the main course round of Great British Menu. Portions here are proper portions. We started with a Cornish crab spring roll with toasted cucumber and a silky smooth black garlic and langoustine bisque and the duck leg black pudding and pistachio terrine with truffle mayonnaise. Very different choices but both a mixture of textures and flavours that had you clambering to find out what was in store for the next course.
Main courses of line caught Cornish gurnard with cider, mussel and bacon chowder and the restaurant’s new dish of treacle cured fillet of beef with roasted black shallot, mushroom puree with chunky crispy chips delivered everything. A curry-roasted cauliflower side dish with a scattering of crispy chickpeas and tender garlic roasted hispi cabbage evocatively conjured up the different areas of Britain that the ingredients came from and left you wondering if you were in the middle of a dreamy Joanna Harris novel.
After the generous portions of the first two courses, dessert seemed an impossible aspiration! But in the end, common sense prevailed and we reluctantly chose. A brown butter tart with buttermilk ice cream had a silky smooth texture and a mixture of sweet and savoury but the winner for me was the Wye Valley Rhubarb and gin trifle with vanilla custard and candied hazelnut sponge – Summer in every spoonful.
For someone who describes himself as ‘not a Michelin star kind of guy’, Tom is deservedly tripping over them. This isn’t the pubs that he is famous for but the slick in-house team at The Corinthia make you feel as welcome as you would walking through the doors of your local. The place is glam but without being pretentious. No one cares who is sitting at the next table as everyone is there to enjoy the food. And with such a range of proper grub on the menu, there is always something new to go back for.
To book and find out more, visit: www.kerridgesbarandgrill.co.uk/