What: Counting Jamie Oliver as a fan (see his praise splashed across Theo’s website and books) and Jay Rayner who claims Theo Randall served him “the best meal” he had “all year”, I was admittedly looking forward to eating at Theo Randall at the InterContinental and it did not disappoint.
New? This is Theo Randall’s first restaurant which he opened in November 2006, his latest restaurant is Theo’s Simple Italian.
Where? InterContinental, 1 Hamilton Place, Mayfair, W1J 7QY www.theorandall.com
On the menu: Theo Randall’s menu reflects his personal taste for food so the menu is Italian cuisine done in an unfussy and delicious way, “a million miles away from the complicated fancy fare you would normally expect to eat in Park Lane” he says. Dishes include linguine with Dorset blue lobster, San Marzano tomatoes, garlic and parsley, and chestnut risotto with radiccio, pancetta, parmesan and butter.
The Look: A windowless room might sound a little bleak but the neutral tones have a calming effect, probably partly due to lots of cream and pale olive colouring. There are several lemon trees dotted around in a nod to Italy and dirtied mirrors that make the space seem a little bigger although it’s a fairly sizeable room.
What We Ate: One of the best dishes I’ve had in a good long time was the baked delica squash and Fontina cheese soufflé with spinach, cream and parmesan; it was light, creamy and indulgent all in one. The salumi misti is a selection of different meat but by the end was it a bit overwhelming as a starter and would have been suitable for two people. The ravioli with roasted delica squash, ricotta with butter and sage epitomises Theo Randall’s ethos on simple, unfussy food without compromising on flavour. I almost burnt myself repeatedly trying to scoff down the zuchinne frittes, hoping each 30 seconds that passed that suddenly they would be cool as I was desperate to eat them. The food hype tailed off towards dessert, I found my torta di mele with sweet pastry, apples, sultanas and roasted almond ice cream nice enough but hardly lit my palate alight.
What We Drank: As any Italian restaurant worth their salt, the wine list is extensive, this menu has even been divided into seasons. The cocktails are rife with strong Italian alcohols like Campari and vermouth, typical cocktails are Negronis and Old Fashioneds which is a little much for my sugar-mad tastes but well-fitting with the restaurant.
Go With: Theo Randall at the InterContinental is definitely the place for a special occasion, think anniversary meal or a milestone birthday although guests at the hotel will be spoilt if they decide to dine in.
Final Word: It is pricey but those who are passionate about food will be able to invest their money here and walk away happily.
Theo Randall at the InterContinental: 1 Hamilton Place, Mayfair, W1J 7QY www.theorandall.com