Kerridge's Bar and Grill: hmm!
A FRIEND told me that if they could only have one cookbook on a desert island, it would be one written by Tom Kerridge. Imagine my excitement then when I was invited to dine at his Bar and Grill inside the grand Corinthia luxury hotel on Northumberland Avenue, London.
The building was built in 1883 and briefly occupied by the Ministry of Defence during both World Wars. It has now been transformed into a grand, destination hotel.
The hotel's centrepiece is the Lobby Lounge with its shaped Baccarat crystal chandelier which is stunning. We went for a pre-dinner drink in the grand Northall Bar on arrival. The beautiful interior was everything that you would expect and more, but sadly that's where the plaudits stop.
It took ages to get served and even longer to receive our drinks. Even though they were lovely and we were sitting in grand surroundings, what was terrible was my friend telling me about the waiter grabbing the ice for our Negroni, with his hands right out of the freezer after dishing up the olives. I was not happy, and I would have said something if I had seen it for myself.
Anyway, we made our way to Tom Kerridge's Bar & Grill. Unlike the Northall bar, the setting was an 5 star pub and a little too open if you want an intimate dining experience. Unbelievably history repeated itself. Our drinks took so long that the waiter said he would comp them.
Now onto my meal. I had a prawn scotch egg with a lobster satay sauce. The egg was cooked perfectly and the texture and sauce was lovely; the trouble was that it was very salty.
My high expectations were dwindling by the minute. It was becoming a mediocre experience, not what you would expect from a Michelin restaurant. I was looking forward to the main course most: a South Coast Day Boat Turbot. When people talk about the noblest fish in the sea, the turbot and the Dover sole are the ones.
So, imagine my disappointment when my first bite was bland, rubbery and lacking flavour for a piece of fish that could have bought me my weekly shopping. I know seafood is one of the most challenging things to cook because it's so unforgiving. But this is a Michellin star eatery! We usually share bites of our food but it was so bad my friend said it was all mine and they finished off their own food.
Usually, I would never leave food on my plate, but this was an exception to the rule. You may ask why I didn't send it back? The short answer is I didn't want to eat a chef special!!!
The only plus side to my meal was the seeded bread and my side dish, a garlic roasted cabbage. We didn't stay for dessert for fear of more disappointment.