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Taking Informal Gourmet Dining To New Heights, Jean-Georges at The Connaught Hotel
October 22, 2017
When you think of takeaway pizza, you might think Pizza Express or if you are lowering your standards, Pizza Hut, but now you have another choice, The Connaught Hotel. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. Then again, it isn’t coming from any old pizza oven, but from the kitchen of world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. He has multiple Michelin-starred restaurants across various continents; so it was somewhat a surprise to find him opening an informal eponymous restaurant in the 5 star Connaught hotel.
The iconic stained glass windows by artist Jean-Michel Othoniel stood out immediately on arrival, as well as wall-to-ceiling windows which helped to create a light and dynamic environment. The lighting helped to focus the attention on the beautifully presented dishes in this elegant dining space.
Prices are on the high-end here, with a simple-sounding fish and chips at £20, but you have to remember this is Mayfair and you are dining off a menu designed by Jean-Georges. I started off with a warm shrimp salad which was about as far removed as you can get to a prawn cocktail. This designer dish used tender lettuce with silky soft avocado and shrimps that have been expertly sourced and topped with on-trend enoki mushrooms. This is just the kind of dish you can see top-level models living off during London Fashion Week.
It was tempting to order his world-famous, black truffle & fontina pizza as he uses a special sourdough which he takes 2 days to ferment, but I opted for the more opulent dish of native lobster with meyer lemon risotto and basil. The lobster meat was robust and fresh with strong, flavours whilst the risotto helped to make the dish more substantial, yet it never felt overbearing thanks to the use of tangy meyer lemons. They are native to China and thought to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin.
The only disappointment came at the dessert stage. All the dishes sounded like creations fit for a Michelin-starred restaurant such as the Iced Milk I tried which contained caramelised puffed rice, milk jam milk sorbet and milk foam. It wasn’t overly sweet and had a creamy texture but it ultimately didn’t work as the puffed rice turned out unexpectedly soggy instead of crunchy.
Despite that minor mishap, dishes are generally exquisitely prepared at this informal dining playground for the Mayfair crowd. Don’t expect deliveroo to be visiting the Connaught hotel anytime soon, but more likely luxury limousines with chauffeurs picking up takeaways for their employers.
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