Tuesday, 25 March 2014

REVIEW: Alyn Williams at The Westbury Hotel, Conduit Street, Mayfair

The Westbury Hotel has something to shout about, and has had for some time. Alyn Williams, head chef here is someone who most foodies know about. He's British, and grew up in Britain, contrary to what some people think - HE IS NOT FRENCH. Alyn Williams opened his eponymous restaurant in 2011 and a Michelin star soon followed in 2012. And an accolade which he definitely deserves.

Prior to having his own restaurant Alyn Williams worked with Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing (where he was head chef). Alyn Williams has one shortfall in all this praise he receives across the globe. He supports West Ham - Shocking. If there was a Michelin star restaurant in London which offers the best value for money lunch - it's here. If you go one step further and book through Lastminute.com you can bag three courses and a glass of prosecco for only £25. An absolute steal which shouldn't be sniffed at.

From our delicious sounding menu we started with what turned out to be my favourite dish.  A beautiful pheasant egg in a clear mushroom consomme, surrounded by lentils, walnuts and baby mushrooms. It was all very refined, well seasoned and the consomme had an incredible depth but without being too heavy. It's this sort of refinement you expect in a Michelin star restaurant.

It's the first time I've eaten sturgeon before. And it reminded me of mackerel, crossed with eel. It's salty, smoky and actually quite delicate in fishy flavour. Like eel, it's a very understated fish. Cauliflower florets and cauliflower sauce was absolutely divine and the exmoor caviar and pieces of cabbage brought it all together making this yet another refined and elegant dish.

Our main course of delicious tender cooked veal served with glazed veal neck and small cubes of what i think was ham? I must admit i was a little confused about this dish as the menu didn't give much away - none the less i thoroughly enjoyed it. Little florets of salad leaves, sauce of capers and Parmesan cheese were all incredibly well balanced together. It's just a shame i didn't exactly know what i was eating.

Desserts here at Alyn Williams were good, but lacked imagination. Michelin dining is about the experience and the inventiveness that these world class chefs manage achieve. And more often than not you really can be surprised by just what (with modern technology), can be done with food - and that's why Heston Blumenthal still leads the way in food pioneering. Lemon (mousse, candied and cream) with verbena, hazelnut and crumble was mesmerising. Every Mouthful made my tongue tingle with excitement. Still i think presentation while calculated, still felt a bit messy somehow.

If anyone knew how to create the perfect soufflé, it's Alyn WIlliams - he even teaches classes. But with all its magnificence there was not nearly enough coffee, actually i couldn't taste much of it at all. The mandarin sorbet which is served on the side got dunked in the middle of my souffle - i couldn't help myself. The sorbet was some of the best I've had in London to date. A lovely light dessert, but one which needed a bit more flavour profile.

Chocolate truffles were to say the least, very indulgent and a great way to end what was, a fantastic meal. Alyn Williams really knows how cook but i still feel a bit of inventiveness and that shock element is needed in some of the dishes, particularly dessert - because that's the one course you can really play around with. Would i come back to Alyn Williams at The Westbury Hotel? Yes, it's one of London's best value set lunch deals which really does have a lot to offer. Oh and did i mention it has the best service in London?


Square MealAlyn Williams at The Westbury on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I really liked our dinner at Alyn Williams, and I thought some of the dishes really had the wow factor and the surprise element.... I can't wait to go back :)