As an early Christmas treat, I was given the choice of eating in any restaurant in London. A hard decision I’m sure you’ll agree!
We needed somewhere that we could book at short notice and the Hog had ruled out anywhere with a dress code. Choices, choices. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of places I’d love to eat at but this piggy likes a bargain. So where do you pick?
After lots of research, I eventually settled on Alyn Williams at The Westbury. Williams worked under Marcus Wareing for eight years, four of which were spent as head chef of the two-star Berkeley, so at an irresistible £60 for seven courses, I didn’t take much persuading.
We arrived just after 7pm on a Friday night and were surprised that we were the only people there. It’s very quiet and glam, as you may expect from a hotel restaurant but all the same, it didn’t feel stuffy. By the time we left, the place was still only around two-thirds full but perhaps this was just a pre-Christmas lull.
Alyn himself made an appearance to greet the early diners before the restaurant began to fill up, which I thought was a nice touch. The service was excellent all night and our waiter really lightened the mood with his Cockney charm.The speed of service too found the right balance so although the courses came thick and fast, we didn’t feel rushed at any point.
The stand-out dish early on was the Orkney scallop. Beautifully presented in a tilted glass bowl, the combination of sweet scallop, pumpkin, cuttlefish and wild marjoram had us literally drooling.
Perhaps the best looking dish on the menu was the fois gras, semi fredo. Surprisingly though, this one didn’t blow me away. I found the fois gras to be a touch too frozen and it didn’t deliver the flavour that I was expecting. Despite this, two clean plates went back to the kitchen so maybe I’m being over finicky.
Before long, the main courses arrived and the menu was right back on track. I’ve eaten a lot of duck dishes this winter, but few have been as good as the one we had here. The duck breast was unbelievably juicy and had absolutely bags of flavour. I’m really not sure what they could do to improve it. The other main, the Devon Red sirloin was absolutely fantastic too. Melt in the mouth tender meat, cooked perfectly and a brilliant combination with the pomme puree, turnip and ceps.
At this point, I’ll hold my hands up and admit that we got a little carried away and ate more than half of the main courses before we realised we hadn’t taken any photos. At least this way we’re leaving something to your imagination.
The pre-dessert of Crème catalane, pear and blackberry was lovely and creamy and seriously whetted my appetite for something sweeter. That soon came in the form of baked apple, Rolo, hazelenut parfait and hazelnut biscuit. This was an intriguing dish with a lot of plus points. The sharpness of the apple worked extremely well with the creamy parfait and biscuit, it was like eating a deconstructed apple pie. The problem was that the apple was so sharp that it needed more parfait to balance it out. Also, for me The Rolo (salt caramel chocolate) didn’t really fit in and made the desert seem a little bitty. I’m not anti-Rollo per-se. Believe me, it was yummy. I could happily eat a bag full.
The bill came to approximately £170 including aperitifs and wine. Just as I’d hoped, it was an absolute steal at that price, and a fantastic meal to boot. You should go now before Williams reputation grows any further – he surely can’t be far off earning his second star.
Address: The Westbury Hotel, 37 Conduit Street, London W1S 2YF
Phone: 020 7078 9579