Whilst many of his contemporary so-called ‘celeb chefs’ have been running creating failing empires, it’s telling that Theo Randall can be seen most nights sweating it out in his one and only kitchen to provide some of the best food in London. Indeed, his toils have earned him universal praise and a raft of awards, including winning the best Italian restaurant award at the 2008 London Restaurant Awards. Following my meal at his restaurant recently, I too was well and truly awestruck but his other-worldly interpretation of what most of us simply call ‘food’.
As is the case with so many hotel restaurants, the contemporary and sharp looking dining room isn’t exactly endowed with any real character and doesn’t give any hint as too the Italian origins of the menu. No problem, though as the chairs are incredibly comfy and it’s all pleasant enough to ensure maximum enjoyment of the meal to come.
Theo is renowned almost us much for his ability to source exceptional seasonal ingredients as he is for his cooking and this is reflected in his simple, rustic Italian menu. Wanting to try as much as possible, Miss Pancake and I shared a stunning dish of Calamari in padella (pan fried squid with borlotti beans, chilli, anchovy, parsley & chopped rocket). Moving onto our pasta course, the Tagliatelle al pescatore (fresh pasta with scallops, sea bass, vongole, mussels, tomato and parsley) was possibly the best pasta dish I’ve ever eaten – just outrageously full of flavour and worth the trip on its own.
The main courses loomed along with more superlatives. Coda di Rospo al forno (wood roasted Cornish monkfish with parsley, capers, Roseval potatoes, globe artichokes and prosciutto) and Chargrilled Limousin veal chop with Porcini & ortobello mushrooms, Italian spinach & salsa verde were both simply assembled dishes that provided the most sublime taste sensations and really highlighted Theo’s ability to deliver absolute flavour. Desserts continued were the mains left off. The Almond tart was as good as any whilst the Soft chocolate cake with mascarpone was almost soufflé like in consistency and could probably force Oxford Dictionary to rethink their definition of the word ‘cake’.
Smart staff and a well rounded bottle of Alto Adige Lagrein with our meal topped off what was one of my best ever meals. For a restaurant of this stature, prices were fairly accessible too; starters between £8-13 and mains around £28 for enormous portions and some of the finest cooking around makes this a must visit restaurant.
Cuisine type – Italian
Dinner for 2 (ex. drinks) – £100
Wine – £6
Theo Randall @ The InterContinental
1 Hamilton Place
Tel: 020 7318 8747