Claridge’s (London) – Dec 2013 –

For Jackson’s 25th Birthday, I took him for a surprise dinner at Claridge’s. I wanted to go a little bit overboard, treat him to somewhere he had not been before and spoil him to something flamboyant, so I booked a table for the Foyer & Reading Room. It was during the Christmas season and having been in before, I knew it would be a beautifully decorated environment and have a heavily adorned Christmas tree as the centre piece of the room I had booked a table in. 

I think Jackson was slightly astounded at first. The immaculate service of well dressed waiters, beaming faces, being greeted as “sir” by the maître d’, our coats being taken to the cloak room, the foyer adorned with festive decor and so forth.

We sat under the Christmas tree and were greeted by our waiter, Paul, who explained that night’s specials and fine wines. A Japanese lady played Schubert on the Piano behind us.

The menu is very classic fine dining, serving a range of dishes from Oysters, Seabass & Lobster to Pie, Lamb & Fillet Steak. I wasn’t drinking at the time, but Jackson ordered a pale ale alongside his Chicken Pie. I ordered Scottish Halibut (image above) & Pepper French Fries.

You may question, Chicken Pie? Definitely! Simplicity is what Claridge’s is known for in it’s execution of dishes, including the use of the freshest ingredients and incredibly talented pastry chefs. The pie was served piping hot with French beans and fluffy mash potato. The pie filling melted in your mouth with a rich, creamy taste of roasted Chicken, bacon, white wine and herbs. A delicately soft boiled quail’s egg sat in the middle of the pie. The pastry itself was buttery and puffy with a brilliant baked hue on the coating – perfect.

My Halibut, although served lonely with only lemon and hollandaise to share the plate, was cooked superbly. Maybe it was a little too simple for me but I appreciated the quality of the fish and the chunks of Halibut were full and tasted exquisite. The fries were a tad too seasoned for my liking, too much pepper and salt, but they were crispy and fluffy in the centre with very little oil left on them. 

Having booked the table prior, at the end of our meal, Paul, our waiter, brought over a Birthday Pudding for Jackson (image above) which was lovely as I hadn’t asked for anything of the like in the reservation booking. It added an extra surprise to the evening. 

We enjoyed an espresso to end the night and listened to the Pianist, who was playing a soft Jazz number at the time.  

For anyone into classic fine dining and British cuisine, I highly recommend Claridge’s as a special evening treat, although their Afternoon tea is quite lovely as well. I myself want to go again for the dinner menu and try the Lobster Thermidore! 

Have a peek at what they are offering in the Foyer & Reading Room Menu –