56 | squaremeal.co.uk
123 Clarendon Road, W11 4JG; 020 3321 5400 Price £58
Unashamedly glamorous, sophisticated and expensive, Casa Cruz
has already won over many hearts in the swanky end of Notting Hill
with its smoky South American-accented grills.
Both restaurant and bar bear the trademarks of the urbane owner,
Chilean-born nancier Juan Santa Cruz, who also runs high-pro le
restaurants in Buenos Aires. The entrance is manned by a bowlerhatted
doorman; inside, copper covers the handsome oval cocktail
bar and the burnished wall panels. There are dining tables on the
ground oor and many more in the restaurant upstairs, which opens
on to a large heated terrace. Oh, and don't miss the mirrored loos.
The menu is clearly designed for an international elite watching
their weight: few carbs and no bread, but masses of veg, salads,
prime protein and raw food perked up with assertive seasoning.
Raw tuna is matched with creamy avocado and a crunchy scattering
of seeds given a wasabi kick, while charred beetroot has a lovely
smoked taste enhanced by horseradish.
Main courses include whopping steaks from grass-fed beef,
top-quality French chickens and sh so fresh it's jumping on to the
Josper grill. Vegetarians could opt for spiced corn with basil, charred
broccoli with chilli and almonds, or quinoa with grilled vegetables
and seeds - it's tempting to order far too many dishes. Healthy as
that sounds, the dieter's best intentions are scotched by a dessert
menu abundant in rich dulce de leche.
The wine list contains good Burgundy and Bordeaux labels plus
the better producers from Mendoza and Salta, but cocktails are the
thing - though be prepared to wait. And that's just it: service. Yes it's
early days, the lovely sta are very busy and don't dawdle, but more
are needed. Get this right, Casa Cruz, and everyone will be happy.
The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, SW1X 7TA
020 7259 5599 Price £85
Emerging from a refurbishment that began
in 2013, The Lanesborough's transformed
high-end restaurant has a new executive chef
in Florian Favario, a protégé of Éric Fréchon of
Michelin-starred Parisian restaurant Epicure.
Favario's menu may read like a culinary
lingua franca for global luxury (lobster Caesar
salad; tandoor-spiced wild Scottish salmon),
but he excels at coaxing the essential avour
from his ingredients. Starters, in particular,
delight. Slices of tomato tasting of the very
essence of tomato orbited an intense tomato
sorbet with chunks of creamy burrata
for contrast, and a dish of the sweetest
Charentais melon was set o by mint-infused
elder ower jelly. Both set the bar high.
Too high, perhaps. We had no complaints
about a bowl of lobster conchiglioni, the
pasta bathed in deeply avoured bisque, but
it would have been at home in any of the
grand hotels hereabouts. And although the
bacon cheeseburger (encased in pastry like
beef Wellington) was a rich delight, we felt
our mains lacked the creativity of starters.
However, things picked up for pudding: an
elegantly deconstructed Eton mess involved
THE LAST WORD Glossy, expensive and fun, this ritzy new grill brings an irresistible helping
of South American glamour to swanky Notting Hill/Holland Park borders
strawberries with a startling purity of avour,
while caramelised pecan millefeuille with
bourbon vanilla ice cream kept sugar levels in
check without compromising enjoyment.
The glass-roofed room wears Georgian
fancy dress of chandeliers and bas-relief
friezes; you'd never know this was once a
hospital. It's formal dining to be sure: acres of
space between tables and we can't imagine
anyone coming here who isn't a wealthy
tourist or without a hefty expense account.
Nevertheless, the whole confection is handled
with a light touch by the charming sta ,
and the venue is perfect for afternoon tea -
brightened by one of London's best loose-leaf
selections. Two wine-tasting rooms add yet
more sheen to this highly polished operation.
THE LAST WORD The Lanesborough's reborn � agship
restaurant provides the very essence of internationally � avoured
luxury in a sweet-toothed Regency setting