What: Kaspar’s At The Savoy, the restaurant synonymous with a cat that stops tables of thirteen having bad luck (by being their fourteenth guest), has launched a new menu. And rather than taking the easy route and saying it is a new seasonal menu they are basing their new menu around the notion of it being ‘not bound by the seasons but inspired by them’ which seems to me rather like they are having their (seasonal) cake and eating it.
New: As everyone knows, The Savoy is a stalwart of London society in an ever-changing city. Opening its doors in 1889, it was the first British hotel to make use of electric lights and electric lifts, which must have been unnerving given that people were said to faint when using the escalator that Harrods installed in 1898. So, no, it isn’t new, but the menu is having launched at the end of May.
The Setting: On one of London’s most iconic roads, The Savoy watches over the Strand and looks out to the Embankment and river beyond. It’s here that you see a microcosm of London as the likes of Coutts bank, The Savoy and the theatres, rub shoulders with Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and TGI Fridays. There are black cabs ferrying the wealthy, drawing up to pavements where the homeless, worryingly, sit in growing numbers. It’s constantly busy, sandwiched between the lights of the Embankment and the swell of Covent Garden, commuters are taken in and out of Charing Cross and tourists amass in Trafalgar Square. It’s a true representation of London.
The Look: The restaurant is opulent without being overbearing, taking inspiration from the decadence of the Twenties and Thirties, the Art Deco design features a chequer-board marble floor; brass railings; cut-glass mirrors and a theatrical, circular bar flanked by Murano glass columns and pendant glass lights. If you can, get a table by the window so you can look out on the Thames.
On the Menu: The kitchen is led by Igor Kabatsikov and Sous Chef, Brandon Clemens, the duo is cooking up a menu made from the finest produced soured across the UK. Dover sole comes from Cornwall, oysters from Maldon and smoked mackerel from Fraserborough. Dishes include Cornish crab with bunt lemon, avruga caviar and blinis; pan seared North Atlantic halibut with smoked roe, brassicas and burnt mussel fumet and a Cornish hen crab and native lobster bisque. Whilst there is a strong emphasis on seafood (it is of course a seafood restaurant), you will find dishes like Campbell Brothers ox cheeks with spring pea, ricotta and black garlic jus and buffalo milk burrata with Isle of Wight tomato, wild rocket and strawberry.
What We Ate: We started with Kaspar’s Signature, a Cornish hen and native lobster bisque, filled out with chunks of lobster flesh, smoky espelette and coriander, much to my mum’s horror no doubt, I did order some more bread to mop up the last drops, it was that good. There was also an excellent dish of plump Keltic scallops with black pudding from Kent, the addition of tart Yorkshire rhubarb cut through the richness of the black pudding.
From the grill we ordered the rack of Trill Dairy Spring lamb which we accompanied with a side of truffle and chive mashed potato. And someone needs some serious praise, because the mashed potato is one seriously smooth, decadent dish. If you order one thing, make it this.
There was also a very pretty dish of flaky blackened Loch Duart salmon topped with edible flowers, charred corn, asparagus heads and served with a Newlyn crab nage.
We couldn’t manage pudding but were we to order it would have been the Paris -London, which we enviably watched the couple next to us eat. Made to share, it’s a chocolate lover’s dream with chocolate mousses, homemade praline, crunchy choux pastry and popping candy.
What We Drank: Toasting the end of the week, we started with a glass of Louis Roederer, Brut, Premier. Of course, being Kaspar’s you’re going to find the big Champagne houses, Dom Pérignon, Pol Roger and Laurent-Perrier and you’re going to pay the big prices too, with glasses starting at £20. Afterwards we moved onto a glass of Gavi di Gavi Ca’ da Bosio from Piedmonte.
Go With: It was date night central when we visited on a Friday night, so choose your bae, whether they’re you’re actual S.O, your unrequited crush or just your best friend.
Where: Kaspar’s At The Savoy, Strand, WC2R, 0EU www.kaspars.co.uk
Final Word: You’d expect good service at Kaspar’s as a given, but there’s good service which is purely efficient and good service that goes beyond and the staff at Kaspar’s luckily fall into the latter camp, it really was excellent. I didn’t catch the name of my waitress, if I had then I would name her here as contender for waitress of the year.