What:Westminster luxury hotel Corinthia London has reopened its pandemic open-air dining concept, The Garden. The space briefly traded everything late last year as an Alpine-inspired restaurant with hearty dishes designed to ward off the cold, including luxurious versions of mac and cheese, but now offers a menu of Mediterranean inspiration with matching decor.
Who:As before, The Garden is overseen by the hotel’s executive chef, André Garrett, who has perhaps been better known for a long time, with a Michelin star gaining / retaining positions as chef de cuisine at Orrery and Galvin at Windows. The general manager of the hotel, Thomas Kochs, kept an eye on the reception team during our visit. Tom Kerridge’s eponymous restaurant at the hotel also opened an outdoor spin-off, located just above the garden on a rooftop terrace.
The atmosphere:As you would expect from a hotel of this standard, there is no thrill during your dinner here. The well-sheltered space is more than a game for this unusually cold April thanks to its high-tech patio heaters (blankets are also on hand if needed). Rain isn’t much of a problem either. Corinthia London installed a pair of expensive looking retractable awnings that keep diners dry but can be fully retracted when Mediterranean weather (hopefully) kicks in next month.
The food:Dishes in the Small Plates and Starters section include a red shrimp crudo; Grilled squid with tomato, fennel and marinated shallot; and baked Romano pepper with freekeh and ricotta. Served widely in sufficiently heavy Staub cast iron casseroles, main courses include lobster linguine with lemon, cherry tomatoes and basil; rosemary and lemon spatchcock chick, tomato, olive and capers; and baked gnocchi with top of di rapa, hazelnuts and parmesan. A breakfast menu is also available, including Arnold Bennett Lobster; baked eggs with chorizo; and scrambled tofu with piperade, spinach and sourdough.
And something else:Garrett says the success of The Garden has caused him and Kochs to totally rethink their approach to al fresco dining. Before the pandemic, the space was only used occasionally, but it is now likely to be marketed as a stand-alone restaurant for most of the year. The only problem? Garrett is now faced with running two restaurants from a kitchen originally designed for one. Fall for the chef!