We were offered a complimentary dinner at the restaurant at the Radisson Edwardian Leicester Square last week – an area of London that lacks straightforward, middle market restaurants. For those not in the know the local choices are either pretty upmarket – The Ivy, J Sheeky’s etc or the pre/post pub generic pizza/pasta/burger joints that surround the square.
The hotel’s Bar & Restaurant slots between these two extremes. Starters are prices between £7 and £11, and main courses range between £11.50 and £21.00, with a 2 course prix fixe menu at 19.50, and three courses at £25.00.
The dining room is small (36 covers), decorated in anonymous cream, with matching leather chairs, which contrasted with the black tables. We were mystified by the painting of the woman dressed only in a thong in reception, Leicester Square is not quite Soho!
The menu has a significant seafood bias; we started with a little amuse bouche of asparagus tempura, a smoked haddock tartlet and a seafood carpaccio. The carpaccio was probably the best of the three (and possibly the entire evening), with a tart & salty fishyness, all very nice and a promise of things to come.
We thought the rest of the meal suffered from under-seasoning, with all our dishes being much improved by the addition of a little salt. Starters were salted cod and salmon fish cakes with chive and butter sauce (£8.75), and kipper pate with lemon and tarragon(£7.50). The kipper pate was very well presented, but it was at the mashed-up fish end of the pate spectrum, and was a little light on any binder. The fishcakes were a little bland; there was not much evidence of the salt cod, and I was disappointed that the garnish that I thought at first glance was a fried anchovy, was instead a fried strip of onion.
To follow, Ed had some Rump of Kent salt marsh lamb, rosemary crust, mush potatoes and mint sauce (£18.50) which was nicely un-adulterated, but accompanied by a mash that was a little uninspired, and not as rich and smooth as it might have been. I had pan fried sea bass with smoked salmon Risotto, herb oil and cream (£19.00), the fish had been cooked to perfection, but the accompanying smoked salmon risotto was a little stiff and some more herb oil would have been welcome here, and again, both dishes were much improved by a good twist of salt.
Finally, puddings of espresso chocolate mousse (£5.50) was light on the espresso and overly complicated with Chantilly cream, chocolate sauce and cinnamon biscuit, after two other courses it was just too much for me. Brown bread ice cream (£5.50) – a particular favourite of Ed’s childhood, did not match up to his memories. Also – a particular bugbear – coffee arrived before pudding. Coffee at the same time as, or after, pudding, please! However it was good coffee, and served as espresso should be with a chaser of water!
Overall, we thought that the food was presented beautifully and reflected a imaginative chef who can certainly cook, but for our palates, perhaps as a reflection of the generally less adventurous clientele that inhabit hotel restaurants, could have been a bit more generous with the seasoning. Good for those on business or not paying the bill themselves.
Service was exemplary, but as the booking had VIP next to my name this was not surprising.
Many thanks to Radisson Edwardian for asking me to dine, given my VIP status on the booking I suspect the staff knew I was reviewing!
Radisson Edwardian have around ten London hotels.