RestaurantsLondonMayfairW1

survey result

Summary

£155
£££££
3
Good
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Hélène Darroze’s luxurious Mayfair temple of gastronomy, within Mayfair’s most blueblooded hotel, is celebrating its tenth year with a two-month closure, to re-open in September 2019. A revamp is promised, care of French design house, ‘Pierre Yovanovitch Architecture d’Intérieur’ (whose aesthetic, we are told in the PR, ‘focuses on bold re-imaginings of historic spaces, combining the contemporary with luxury materials’). There will also be the addition of a new chef’s table and dedicated Armagnac room; plus a new menu ‘rooted in Hélène’s culinary style, with a larger focus on British producers and suppliers’. The survey consensus on its former incarnation could be summarised as “exceptional cuisine albeit at extortionate prices” to appeal to “a crowd of plutocrats and their lawyers, and very old-money types”: we’ve maintained last year’s rating on the conservative assumption that its new incarnation will be a case of ‘plus ça change’…

Summary

£155
£££££
3
Good
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Hélène Darroze’s luxurious Mayfair temple of gastronomy, within Mayfair’s most blueblooded hotel, is celebrating its tenth year with a two-month closure, to re-open in September 2019. A revamp is promised, care of French design house, ‘Pierre Yovanovitch Architecture d’Intérieur’ (whose aesthetic, we are told in the PR, ‘focuses on bold re-imaginings of historic spaces, combining the contemporary with luxury materials’). There will also be the addition of a new chef’s table and dedicated Armagnac room; plus a new menu ‘rooted in Hélène’s culinary style, with a larger focus on British producers and suppliers’. The survey consensus on its former incarnation could be summarised as “exceptional cuisine albeit at extortionate prices” to appeal to “a crowd of plutocrats and their lawyers, and very old-money types”: we’ve maintained last year’s rating on the conservative assumption that its new incarnation will be a case of ‘plus ça change’…

Summary

£147
£££££
3
Good
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“The beautiful room… the attentive, enthusiastic and highly competent staff… the exceptional precision of the cuisine, together with its subtlety” – Hélène Darroze’s “romantic” operation in this most pukka of Mayfair hotels is a fine example of “refined, effortless and luxurious ‘art de la table’” (including a notably good wine list) and its many advocates feel you “can’t fault the place”. Sceptics agree “it’s very good… just not worth the mega prices”.

Summary

£136
£££££
3
Good
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

With its “laser-like precision”, Hélène Darroze’s Gallic cuisine is “simply stunning” in this plush and “stylish” Mayfair chamber, whose “perfectly attentive” service adds a lot to the experience. Just one gripe – it’s “unbelievably expensive” – but fans say “those who complain about the prices are missing the point!”

For 31 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at Hélène Darroze, The Connaught Hotel?

Restaurant details

Yes
Highchair,Portions
20, 8
No trainers
62

Hélène Darroze, The Connaught Hotel Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of Hélène Darroze, The Connaught Hotel Restaurant in W1, London by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of Hélène Darroze, The Connaught Hotel restaurant.
Lloyd S
If our first two visits weren’t special e...
Reviewed 3 months, 9 days ago

"If our first two visits weren’t special enough then what we experienced today went above and beyond those. On our previous occasions we had enjoyed the pleasure and honour of dining in the Armagnac Room and at Chefs Table but today it was a delight to be seated in the dining room. Here we could experience for the first time the team in full flow and believe me they did not disappoint. We arrived at the hotel and were given a delightful welcome from the porter’s before making our way inside to the restaurant reception. Here the warm welcome continued as we were escorted to our table with members of staff showing their delight in seeing us again. Our table was to be in the corner which gave you a fantastic view of the entire dining room. The room is absolutely stunning and I have to say that the pictures I’ve seen don’t do it justice. Although it’s quite a large room they’ve set out the tables in booth type settings giving the majority of tables a nice private feeling. Our lunch was to be full of special moments which started with complimentary glasses of champagne poured by Pierre our sommelier for the day. Then it was time to meet our good friend and restaurant manager Mirko who personally welcomed us back with open arms. Then after a nice little catch up it was time to see the menu. This would be a seven course tasting menu with the option of a smaller five course available as well. We opted to choose the seven with an additional cheese course. We started with a nice consommé to refresh our palate before moving on to a selection of three amazing snacks. These were a Glazed Datterino Tomato with tapioca cracker & vanilla , Burrata & gazpacho tartelette and a ‘Pan con tomate’. We enjoyed these along with some bread and the infamous orange & lemon coloured butter. Now it was time time to put Pierre to the test and for him to recommend a wine pairing for the menu. This I have to say he passed with flying colours as he came up with an absolute beauty. His choice was a David & Nadia 2015 Elpidos which was nice and light yet full of fruity flavours that complimented each dish perfectly. Now it was time for our first course which was the Crab and if I just say it’s the best crab dish I’ve ever tasted you will understand how good it was. The brown & spider crabs , pomelo , lampong pepper & txangurro was simply stunning. This was accompanied by a nice surprise of the amazing Caviar with scottish langoustine , ‘piel de sapo’ , melon , samphire & ponzu. This was followed by the fabulous Coco Bean with smoked eel , timut pepper & clams consommé. We were then in for another absolutely stunning dish and I’ve personally never enjoyed a Foie Gras dish more. It came with apple , celeriac , sancho pepper , koji rice , sake that just blew me away. Now you may wonder how can you follow that. Well it proved to not difficult at all as next to arrive was the fantastic XXL Scallop with tandoori spices , carrot , citrus , coriander. Now it was time for the main course and where we would be in for another treat. Firstly was the Turbot with fresh hazelnut , piquillo pepper , calamari pil pil which was amazing enough. But this was to be alongside the Wagyu Beef with corn on the cob , cep , sage , fermented pepper that was absolutely heaven on a plate. It was now time for a rest before moving onto the Cheese Course and where we would now be in for another amazing treat as Mirko took us for a guided tour of the wine cellar and to see the sommeliers table. We could have stayed down there for ages but had to get back and continue our fabulous lunch. We retook our seats before moving on to the cheese accompanied by figs , honey , fruit bread , breadsticks and two tasters of very special wines from the cellar. So yes we’ve now reached dessert time which started with the Fig with greek yoghurt , fennel , ginger that was a very interesting combination yet the flavours worked wonderfully well together. This led us to the main dessert of Chocolate with cumin , lemon and if we thought that was it we were wrong as together with this came a Signature Baba with raspberries , pepper & chantilly cream. We were now literally waving the white flag but in a good and light hearted way because everything had been truly amazing. We finished with coffee and petit fours to bring to an end a most memorable lunch which I can only describe as Hospitality at it’s Best. The food and wine was absolutely stunning which was matched by service of the highest order. So I think you can guess what I’m going to say now and yes I would highly recommend a visit to Helene Darroze as it will be an unforgettable experience. A massive thank you to Mirko , Claudia , Pierre , Matteo , Paulina , Lorenzo for a truly amazing dining experience and look forward to seeing you all again soon"

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Sumit G
Excellent!...
Reviewed 5 months,

"Excellent!"

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Prices

Availability 2 courses 3 courses coffee included service included
Lunch   £75.00
  Cost Availability Courses
Menu1 150.00 Always available 5
Menu2 185.00 Always available 7
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £45.00
Filter Coffee £0.00
Extras  
Bread £0.00

Harden's says...

Hélène Darroze (The Connaught Hotel) W1

A dull Gallic re-launch of the Mayfair dining room until recently tenanted by Angela Hartnett; the food on our early-days visit impressed only by its enormous prices.


More mature readers may recall that the dining room at the Connaught used to be considered a truly great restaurant, with an unbroken tradition going back to the era of Escoffier. (It was a US magazine that, within living memory, described it as the last great French restaurant in the world.)


In 1998, the Connaught was acquired (as part of the Savoy Group) by US investors Blackstone, who - to clinch the purchase - promised to uphold the group's traditions. Those who had noted at that time that 'Blackstone' and 'barbarians' alliterated rather nicely, turned out to be right: the investors quickly set about trashing the restaurant, and leased the space to the Gordon Ramsay group, who turned it into an humdrum Italian affair, under Angela Hartnett.


And now the caravan has moved on. The new owners of the hotel no longer avail themselves of Ms Hartnett's services, and have instead installed a cartoon figure as the new French chef. No disrespect to Ms Darroze, mind: she was the model for Colette in the excellent Pixar animation Ratatouille, which just goes to show she's considered quite a figure in the Parisian cheffy world.


The return of the French signifies no restoration of the ancien régime (more's the pity). This is most apparent in the look of the dining room. À la Hartnett, efforts are made to pretty up its Edwardian sobriety in a way that just doesn't work, and which just make the room look like a pretentious boutique hotel anywhere. The result is neither imposing nor romantic.


On the service front, similarly, there is no return to former days. Gone for ever are the wonderful staff, who demonstrated that wearing a wing collar didn't necessarily make you stuffy (and who did an absolutely wonderful party trick of rolling out a new table cloth for dessert, without disturbing anything). Nowadays we have cool, youngish Frenchmen (mainly): perfectly pleasant, but one somehow senses not here for the long haul.


Our food started off well. The amuse-bouche - foie gras crème brûlée, apple sorbet and peanut emulsion - was an absolute corker, and the other pre-meal folderols were all pretty good too, as was the bread.


During the meal proper, however, dishes came and went, largely without comment, except how there was nothing really to say about them. This was quite an achievement, considering the elaboration of the descriptions. "Les chipirons de ligne sautéed with chorizo and confit tomatoes black and creamy '2006 Vintage' Carnaroli Acquarello rice, Reggiano parmesan foam", for example, might have been rendered in Anglo-Saxon as "OK risotto with chewy squid, and quite nice cheesy foam".


"Turbot de ligne roasted in foie gras oil, fennel, compote and confit, green apple reduction with Taggiasca olives" might more pithily be rendered as "an insult to the fish" - dry and uninteresting, its richness had been all but destroyed. Salmon - presented, as if a peasant dish, in a bowl - was really just rather horrible.


Then came cheese. A groaning tray, with intriguing selections of the best of the 365 selections that La Belle France can allegedly offer? Not a bit of it, but rather a pre-plated selection of three cheeses. How basic an absurdity is that? This is simply not the sort of thing you go to Mayfair for to spend, most likely, £125+ a head on. And the quince jelly offered with it - a bizarre accompaniment to the mainly soft cheeses served - tasted of almost nothing.


And then a fruit 'n' sorbet pudding. (Do not adjust your monitor. We thought that was the sort of thing you went to to an ice cream parlour for too.) And this particular effort - described as 'La Fraise (yes, just one) Mara des Bois on a bay leaf pannacotta, lemon jelly, fresh strawberry sorbet, almond crumble' - was a truly pathetic conclusion to a supposedly memorable meal; a total non-event. (It was absolutely trounced, incidentally, by a rather similar creation recently consumed at the excellent new City spot, L'Anima, which has the excuse of being Italian, and where prices are about half what they are here.)


Some fine coffee came accompanied by some horrible great chunks of chocolate which would gladden the hearts of lorry-drivers everywhere. Can ace Parisian pâtissier/chocolatier Pierre Hermé really have been responsible?


So - one of our most expensive meals ever in London, and one of the worst. Come back the ancien régime.


Ah no, it was destroyed for ever.


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Carlos Pl, London, W1K 2AL
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Opening hours
MondayCLOSED
Tuesday12 pm‑2 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:30 pm
Wednesday12 pm‑2 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:30 pm
Thursday12 pm‑2 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:30 pm
Friday12 pm‑2 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:30 pm
Saturday12 pm‑2 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:30 pm
SundayCLOSED

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