Earlier this month, my blog turned three years old, so I decided to celebrate. I was in London and had booked myself in for dinner at Celeste which is the Michelin-starred restaurant located in The Lanesborough Hotel; a 5* luxury landmark in the centre of London by Hyde Park Corner.
I was booked in for 7pm, however, I had arrived early for fear of being late. As the restaurant itself was being set-up ready for it’s eager diners, I was offered a drink in the bar of the hotel, the Library Bar. It reminded me of one of those bars you see in films from the fifties where all the members of the mafia would go – minus the cigar smoke. I perused the menu and placed my order. One Upside Down Fizz please.
A golden three-tiered stand was placed before me housing whole green olives, crispy corn and truffled nuts. Yes, not just your plain jane ordinary nuts, truffled nuts. Along came my most intriguing drink – the Upside Down Fizz. My waiter, Sebastian, deconstructed the glass into three parts, the bottom containing the gin, the middle containing citrus crisps and the top containing a ginger foam. Something I’ve never seen from a cocktail before is one that comes with it’s own snack to enjoy with it. The whole ensemble was heavenly, each divine on it’s own and when mixed together. The fiery foam added depth to the sweet gin and juice and the citrus crisps bringing a whole other texture with their delectable crunch. I settled my bill and headed for the dining room.
A stunning pastel blue room awaited me, white porcelain silhouettes lining the walls and gold in every crevice. I was placed on a table with an electric blue velvet sofa laden with opulent golden cushions, as soon as I sat down, I couldn’t help but admire the chandeliers glistening above me. It felt almost nautical, much like I would imagine the dining area of the Titanic to have looked. I placed my handbag next to me but not before too long, I (well, my handbag) was bought a little leather stand to put it on instead and offered a selection of reading materials, the menu and poured a glass of Taittenger.
After making my food choices, I was presented with some beautiful canapes – sadly I don’t remember exactly what they were or what was in them but I know one of them was definitely an egg. It was incredible – soft and warm and oozing at the centre. The crispness of the second canapé was the perfect accompaniment to add a different texture and fire up the palette.
My starter, a grilled leek terrine with scallions, lemon vinaigrette, oyster tartare and a baby oyster resting on top. It was very acidic but everything worked well. The sea-saltiness of the oyster went perfectly well with the soft, earthiness of the grilled leeks. Having had an oyster before, I was a little apprehensive about how it might be served and whether I’d be gagging in a fine dining restaurant. I wouldn’t say this was my favourite course of the evening but, it was delicious.
I chose the chicken main despite the fact it advertised it as coming with giblets. It was served inside a cabbage with celeriac purée and the jus of which it was roasted in. The plate and the food upon it was utterly beautiful. Almost too pretty to eat. It looked like the epitome of spring with the green colouring and the ingredients within. I wish I could find the words to describe how incredible the chicken stuffed cabbage was. It was like no other chicken I’ve ever tasted, melted in the mouth like nothing before and was seasoned wonderfully. The jus was rich and meaty and complimented the light flavours of the celeriac and roasted vegetables.
My head wanted me to say no but my heart wanted it so; the chocolate dessert. Oh my, I am glad I followed my heart on this one. A tempered chocolate cannelloni filled with Guanaja chocolate mousse, paired with caramelised cashew but praline and vanilla bean ice cream; not forgetting to mention the decorative gold leaf detail. I think if heaven had a flavour, this would be it. The combination of sweet, bitter, sharpness and salt was an absolute sensation and I savoured every spoonful. I look a course that has texture and this had everything. My only disappointment was there just wasn’t enough.
And as if that wasn’t enough. coffee and petit fours. My favourite course when dining at fancy restaurants. This one though, was by far the best I’ve ever had. After Gianluca bought it over, he advised me to smash it open with my spoon to reveal an array of miniature delights. Caramel shortbread fudge, lychee jellies, caramelised pecans and raspberry marshmallows. Each different aspect was sublime and worked really well with each other – the umami sensation. My favourite, those raspberry marshmallows. Light and fluffy, dainty and daringly sharp – I complimented them and was bought an unlimited supply to continue my experience whilst I drank my coffee from a teacup fit for a queen.
The service I received was flawless. The staff went above and beyond and I had the best time celebrating my three year blogaversary. They catered for everything, even my handbag! Thank you also for sending me home with a box of those raspberry marshmallows, that was such a lovely touch. The whole experience was exquisite from start to finish and I for one will be returning. I whole-heartedly recommend visiting Celeste at The Lanesborough for breakfast, lunch or dinner – I’ve heard their afternoon tea is divine.
The Lanesborough were not aware that I would be writing this review. I had such an amazing time with them that I wanted to share my experience in the hope that you’ll go and try it for yourself.