Out with fish, in with steak at this brilliantly located (if perennially oddly decorated) Knightsbridge dining room, where interest meat salting sensation Salt Bae (aka Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe) is to open a branch of his international Nusr-Et steakhouse chain.
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“I want to get a petition going to get more people to eat here!”. Pascal Proyart’s cuisine “when it is on song, is majestic” at this Knightsbridge hotel dining room, known particularly for his “fabulous and beautifully presented fish and seafood”. “Sadly the room can be empty” – it has “an awful ambience, akin to an airport lounge” – “which just drags down the mood”.
“Pascal Proyart continues to be the ‘King of Fish’ in London”, say fans of his Knightsbridge dining room, which despite its “totally depressing”, “hotel-foyer-style” ambience, has built a formidable reputation for “stunning” seafood and fish dishes. Its ratings came off the boil this year though, with some reports of “very good, certainly inventive food, but not quite the wizardry some people have described”.
“Off-the-charts-good” Breton fish cuisine makes Pascal Proyart’s Knightsbridge HQ “London’s best-kept secret for seafood”; there is, however, a catch – the hotel dining room it occupies is “absolutely ghastly”, with a “dead”, “business-lounge” ambience.
“Still London’s finest fish restaurant by a mile!”; this Knightsbridge hotel dining room may have “all the ambience of Davy Jones’s locker”, but Pascal Proyart’s Breton-based cuisine is without peer.
It's not often you get to describe waiters as "looking like refugees from Star Trek", but the styling of this hotel dining room (and its staff) used to be a case study in appalling design. After its recent revamp, we therefore approached it with some anticipation: would it be hilarious, or simply bad?
But it was neither. In fact, it's rather swish. The design-team has sensibly avoided bold flourishes, and opted for a svelte neutral look. Arguably the look is a wee bit corporate, but then lots of corporate stuff happens round Knightsbridge nowadays. And the panelling and cabinets of what's now a lozenge-shaped room filter out the traffic rumbling past, just a few yards away.
As with many restaurants du jour, the new menu emphasises small tapas-style plates. It's a bit poncy and confusing, but has its plus points, especially at lunch when it can accommodate both local ladies-who-lunch, and those in search of something a little more substantial.
We mostly opted for the fish for which Pascal Proyart is renowned, but one of the greatest successes actually came from a beautifully tender dish of veal cheeks. In fact, of the seafood dishes sampled (for example scallops with pork belly, or hake plus dumpling with chickpeas and parsley) all were beautifully fresh and well-prepared (even if the earth, never quite moved).
An excellent chocolate soufflé, and some notably good petits fours, though, helped round off a fair-value experience we'd be extremely happy to repeat. Captain Kirk might now look out of place here, but captains of industry will feel much more at home.
101 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RN
Lunch: noon - 2.30 pm Dinner: 6.30 pm - 10 pm
Last orders: 10 pm