A big thank you to my friend Hilary who treated me to a slap up pre-birthday dinner here at Apsleys. Knowing that I'm a bit of a foodie, she was pleased and I was impressed that she came up with a Michelin starred restaurant, which wasn't on my radar
The brainchild of Heinz Beck, who runs the 3 Michelin starred La Pergola in Rome, Apsleys is based in the Lanesborough Hotel. Obviously a classy establishment, the Lanesborough has a home away from home feel in the lobby with tables replacing the check in counter and china vases everywhere
The dining room is stunning and Venetian inspired with a high glass roof, 3 huge chandeliers and plush seating. The Italian waiting staff were however very friendly and Hilary and I appreciated the professionally casual and non-overbearing feel to the service
A generous tray of different breads was served with an extra virgin olive oil and sea salt to dip them in. Our favourite was the poppy seed bread. Onto the tasting menu
1. Amuse bouche
We heard it as quail egg but was in fact a quail leg, which was served as a lollipop and fried in thin batter. Served hot, it was a great single bite to start the meal on the right note
2. Tuna & veal
Wow!! Our favourite dish of the evening. Seared loin of tuna with veal jelly containing sharp accents within it and tuna snow. What may have seemed initially like strange bedfellows were perfect companions. Clean flavours
3. Scallops, liquorice, smoked potatoes puree, fennel and pink grapefruit
The scallop was big and juicy with a perfect sear on the outside but the accompaniments were a little too similar for me. Would have appreciated maybe another flavour like citrus in there or perhaps a different texture
4. Fagottelli carbonara
One of Chef Beck's signature dishes, the fagottelli are llittle pillows of thin pasta encasing a molten mix of carbonara flavours. Wonderfully intense flavours and the word pillow is apt as they're so light
5. Wild seabass in fine herbs crust with sweet red pepper and "S.Marzano"
The star of this dish was in fact the sweet red pepper and S.Marzano tomato sauce - you could almost taste the sunshine stored up in those vegetables
6. Wild mushroom infusion with balsamic roasted goose foie gras
OK, with me and foie gras, you can't really go wrong, except for serving me too little foie gras! They didn't make that mistake here with a large slab of seared foie gras in a broth of fresh wild mushrooms.
7. Organic "Rhug" saddle of lamb with Mediterranean flavours
Nice tender sous vide lamb was the star of the plate
8. Milk chocolate, coconut and pineapple sorbets
An OK dessert, most of which was repeated on a special happy birthday plate from the kitchen
We had some nice petit fours to finish off the meal. A good start to the birthday celebration season
Afternoon tea in The Conservatory at the Lanesborough Hotel is a lovely experience. A gorgeous room, piano music, and attentive staff are enhanced by the delightful tea sandwiches, freshly baked scones, rich clotted cream, tangy-sweet lemon curd, and delicious fruit preserves. The variety of food is remarkable, and it's easy to understand why the UK Tea Council awarded Best Afternoon Tea in London to Lanesborough Conservatory in April, 2008.
I chose from an assortment of wonderful teas, but must say that after the first cup, my tea was always lukewarm. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the meal in this beautiful setting.
Went there for dinner with a large group, ate upstairs as they had had a flood. Superb amuse bouche, Lobster medallions (slow cooked) did not work for me. Pasta dish simply outstanding and memorable-fagotelli carbonnara, veal with artichoke slightly over salted but very tasty, venison again slow cooked and had an almost pate texture, quite tasty but not 100% my liking, pre dessert outstanding and main dessert creamy cheesecake & lemon ice cream subdued but scoffed. I did not get to choose the wines, but they were acceptable. So Very good and very relaxing. Outstanding pasta. Again- 3 for dinner this time. What a lovely room. Friendly but slightly distracted service.
Very good food. Wine list a bit of a challenge as I have not won the lottery, but some approachable bottles.
Will return for the Lunch special.
The perfect way to celebrate a summer's afternoon and a friend's birthday was with an Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough. Having been to The Ritz and Claridges already my expectations for The Lanesborough were very high. Not as glam as The Ritz and not as formal as Claridges The Lanesborough was still an experience.
We went with the Champagne Afternoon Tea which entitled us to, in addition to the usual courses, a glass of champagne and a bowl of beautiful strawberries.
This opening course was followed up by the traditional three-tiers which had sandwiches on the lower level, mini-loaves on the second and pastries and cakes. As a bonus we were also served some small quiches. Lovely. But dare I say that it was almost too much! To finish it off we were served some scones and toasted fruit buns. The sandwiches at The Lanesborough are the best I've had to date. The smoke salmon was served interestingly in a sweet bun, the egg mayonnaise was nice without being too eggy, the tuna was fresh tasting and even the cheese and pickles was very tasty (loved that one.) The twist on the traditional chicken sandwich was serving coronation chicken in raisin bread. Delish!
Although the tea menu offered quite a variety of teas strangely enough the first tea offered to us was the Lanesborough special. To me this translated to a tea that doesn't have such a great taste and therefore we have to sell it as The Lanesborough special. It didn't take long for Caroline and I to switch teas. Disappointingly we weren't given individual little tea pots which meant having to be waited on if we wanted refills so I was often drinking luke warm team. Still I could understand why they didn't give us individual tea pots - no room on the table with all the food!
If there was anywhere The Lanesborough was let down it was in the service. Though friendly it was a little slow. It probably didn't help that our non-English waiter was thrown by Mike asking for a Rum and Coke (I get the feeling not too many people at Afternoon Tea ask for such a drink!) But our waitress was very sweet and seemed to thankfully know what she was doing though she was often off busy serving other tables.
Had afternoon tea here witha group of about 10 ladies.
Of all the afternoon teas I have enjoyed, this one had the most amount of food (choice and volume!).
In addition to the usual scones, cakes and sandwiches, we were offered fresh strawberries and cream, crumpets and toasted tea cakes - yummy!
Cost was around £35 - about average for afternoon tea in London.
This is a good venue to go to in the summer - firstly because you are in a huge conservatory so you get tons of natural daylight flooding in, and secondly because its right opposite the park so you can stroll off some of those calories!
Really a hidden gem.
The atmosphere and attentive staff have already been mentioned.
I loved the 5 course menu and thought it was excellent value at 59 pounds, having been warned to be careful with going for the wine sampling menu though which aparently involves 5 glasses of wine (small i.e. 175 each)!
Apsley's has a beautiful decor - as to be expected of a 5 Star hotel like The Lanesborough.
Service is impeccable the waiters were attentive and diligent.
However, food was a tad disappointing I've had better Italian cuisine at restaurants less posh, and while our meal wasn't exorbitantly expensive, it was a let down because we had had higher expectations for such an establishment.
The chef probably meant for my pasta starter to be al dente - but instead, the bits in the middle were quite hard. My friend and I were debating and agreed that another minute in the pot would have done the trick! ;)
The main course of pork belly I had was reasonable and tasty, but it didn't wow either of us, because we've had better elsewhere.
As for desserts, they were probably the strongest of the 3 courses the portions were generous, and the presentation was beautiful.
I think, the most impressive thing about Apsley's is their free flow servings of bread - freshly baked, they serve some of the best breads in restaurants, and the olive oil/vinegar mix is superior to all others. Added with a dash of parmesan cheese, you have perfection in your mouth with every bite the waiters will attentively replace your bread tray when they see it running low. And they will obligingly serve you with an extra refill of olive oil/vinegar of which, both my friend and I were very grateful for (we were full before the arrival of our main course!)...
I probably will not rush back to Apsley's for the food alone, but it is a restaurant I will not mind going back to in the future when I run dry of ideas of where to go.
Full post and photos @ thecattylife.com
Having also won awards every single year, the Lanesborough Afternoon Tea did not disappoint. Situated in the Conservatory, you can imagine how a mid-summer tea would be profoundly different, the curved glass ceiling illuminating the room with the brilliance of natural light. What did we have? Gloom.
Upon being seated, the tea sommelier unleashed upon us his vast knowledge of tea, the show off, and recommended a special Christmas blend, created uniquely for The Lanesborough. A black tea, it's infused with cinnamon and berries, which sounded just like Christmas to me. I drank it by the gallon and became a little too acquainted with the ladies'.
So. Should I start talking about food or something? I mean, there's a reason you're reading this and I'm assured it's not because I love to wax philosophical about I don't even remember what I was talking about.
Ok, well, one awesomeness thing about tea at The Lanesborough, which I've not experienced in my semi-limited Afternoon Tea experience, is that they serve not one, but two little amuse bouche (dude, is there a plural to that?).
We started with a plate of fresh strawberries, swimming in a deliciously light cream. Being the unsophisticated grub that I am, I probably would have enjoyed it more if it had been served with a scoop of ye olde vanilla ice cream, but hey, one must also enjoy the finer things in life and guess what? I totally forgot to start with cutlery from the outside in. God, I am a neanderthal.
A teeny tiny shot glass of something followed the strawberries ~ a layering of vanilla jelly and milk chocolate mousse topped with pistacio croutons. Pistachio. Croutons. Need I say more?
After enjoying the little freebies we got to the real kahuna. Savoury pastries and sandwiches. The bottom layer of our tiered serving tray was littered with the usual suspects ~ cucumber sandwiches, tuna, turkey, beef and tarts, my favourites being the brioche with smoked salmon, goats cheese tart and the scrumptious beef with blue cheese & caramelised onion.
The beef sandwiches were hands down my very most favourite and in the name of getting our money's worth, I ordered seconds. Yeah.
Upon wrapping up our second serving of savouries, the penguin clad waiters brought out the scones ~ one plain, one fruit and one already cut open and generously drenched with butter.
The spreads were the usual clotted cream, strawberry jam and lemon curd mmm lemon curd. I had a mini dejavu of Bea's of Bloombury's lemon curd pavlova which imprinted on my brain the day we fell in love at first bite months and months ago.
And finally there were the sweets. I was actually completely bewildered by the pastries because aside from the additional but very normal course of Christmas cake, mince pies and lemon cake, the actual sweets course was just bizarre.
I mean, look at them. Macaroon with hazelnut cream which I endearingly coined the hazelnut brains, and the blueberry macaroon with lemon meringue & white chocolate, all served on the most delicate meringue shell, and perched above a slice of ginger bread. Weird!
You know what it totally reminded me of? I know this is going off at a tangent but does anyone read Terry Pratchett's Disc World series? You know the flat earth? The one that sits atop four elephants and rides through space on the back of a giant turtle? OMG this dessert totally reminded me of that.
Wild imagination aside, the bizarre desserts, along with a very ordinary but supremely delicious dark chocolate slice tasted amazing. Too small, but isn't everything that is delicious?
So. After gorging on scrump-diddly-yumtious goodies for two hours, the sun had well and truly set when we went home and I pretty much crawled right into bed. Possibly the shortest day of my life, but one of the most delicious
ps: incidentally we had considered spending the previous night at the hotel but take a seat for this one ~ at £450 a pop for their standard room, I think I would rather stick needles in my eyes. or buy an iPhone. Yikes.
Many years ago, I had a lovely afternoon tea at The Savoy for my birthday (although I have no idea what it's like now), and 2 years ago I enjoyed the Fashionista afternoon tea at The Berkeley with some girlfriends (with colourful cakes shaped like handbags and shoes, how could it not be superb?). The afternoon tea at Claridges - complete with art deco finery, live tickling of the ivories on the grand piano, a constantly refreshed serve of sandwiches/cakes/scones and at least 1 major celebrity sighting - still remains hard to beat. Refuel at The Soho Hotel also offers a fun, more casual version. Not that I do this all the time...
However, on Sunday, I was off for a very la-di-dah ladies' afternoon to try out The Lanesborough for tea. I was eyeing off the furniture by the time of our 4pm sitting.
The Lanesborough won the UK Tea Council's Award of Excellence 2009 and Best Afternoon Tea in London 2008. It also lays claim to England's first tea sommelier, Karl Kessab, to guide you through your tea selection - although I didn't clap eyes on him on Sunday.
The ritzy main dining room is set off by large round chandeliers, high glass ceilings and big spacious tables, for the pleasure of young and old alike in all their Sunday finery. In contrast to my recent visits to some of London's steakhouses, the crowd is largely women. Dressing up is, of course, half the fun. Soft piano tunes tinkle away, although it's hard to see the live piano player.
I am not a huge tea connoisseur, and the only teas I like are certain green teas or Earl Grey. I opted for the Earl Grey, while my companions were more exotic in their selections. The teas came served in individual shiny silver pots, although I was a little disappointed in the flavour and aroma of my tea it tasted more like English Breakfast tea to me, missing those lovely fragrant bergamot flavours which usually hit me immediately with Earl Grey. The other teas were lovely. My only other word of caution with the tea go easy if you're not used to drinking copious cupfuls after 4pm. I had quite a few re-fills, and as a result was still wide eyed into the wee hours of Sunday night (#traps for beginners).
An amuse bouche of a light parfait with berries and chocolate kicked off proceedings. A lovely sign of things to come.
Our 3 tiered bounty of sandwiches, cakes, friands, scones and tea cakes then arrived, accompanied by a plate of heavenly Stilton and caramelised red onion tarts. The sandwiches were more hit and miss the selection included cucumber (of course); chicken and sundried tomato paste; smoked salmon; and egg filled brioche rolls. The flavours were nice enough (no amazing stand outs) but there were some questions over the freshness of the bread, which was quite dry in places.
The scones were gorgeous quite dense, and served with delicious strawberry jam, clotted cream and lemon curd. With a mere flick of the wrist, we ordered a second round. The fruity tea cakes were also quite nice.
The next tier of happiness contained some lovely friands - chocolate, carrot cake and lemon varieties. The chocolate was particularly good, although it was so decadent and rich that I could only manage a sliver (we had diplomatically sectioned everything up into quarters for sharing).
And then, at the top, the penthouse. Intricate and colourful cakey/moussey creations set off our tiered stand wonderfully, like a lady's feathery racing day hat. Very Alice in Wonderland. I really liked all of these, and a Mont Blanc style sweet with meringue and chestnut cream (the one that looks like its wearing wholemeal spaghetti) was scrumptious.
Service was formal, but helpful. Sittings can be booked at 4pm, 4.30pm or 5pm, but maximise the luxury with a 4pm sitting since service ends at 6pm regardless. (No-one wants to be booted out mid friand). We had the pleasure of the standard afternoon tea for £35 per person, although there are more expensive options if you wish to add champagne.
Frocking up for The Lanesborough's afternoon tea, on the fringes of Hyde Park, is a delightful way to spend a leisurely afternoon. I did think I may never eat again, although of course that all changed as the sun set and I found myself gorging again separate stomachs for sweet 'n savoury and all that....
For photos see Greedy Diva @ greedydiva.blogspot.com/…
The relaunch of Apsleys in the late summer of 2009 has been a real success. With chef Massimiliano Blasone at the stoves, who earned a Michelin star in Tuscany, and advice from Heinz Beck of three star Pergola in Rome, the kitchen is not short of talent.
I have now had several meals here since the re-opening, and the food is getting better with each visit. Ingredients are of high quality, such as superb venison (in this case from Allens) on my last visit. Breads are made from scratch, which very few London restaurants take the trouble to do, and are excellent.
The pasta, as one might hope, is superb, my favourite so far being a magnificent spaghetti with monkfish, the fish perfectly timed, the pasta just firm, courgettes and peppers adding additional flavour.
Sometimes desserts in an Italian restaurant can be an afterthought, but not here. The pastry chef here is superb, with complex and beautiful dishes rolling out reliably from the kitchen out at the end of the meal.
Apsleys totally deserves its recently granted Michelin star. On present form this is the most sophisticated Italian cooking in London. It is certainly not cheap, but the airy conservatory dining room is charming at lunch (if too darkly lit in the evening for me) and service is really top flight. I took a friend recently who has celiac disease and so has problems eating wheat. He naturally declined the bread, mentioning his gluten intolerance, and to our amazement a choice of gluten-free bread was delivered shortly later.
Had an amazing dinner here on a Friday evening and it was one of the most enjoyable dining experiences I have had in a while.
We were running late for our booking but a quick call in had them move our slot that bit later in order to accommodate us.
Have been here before but I am never failed to be impressed by the grandness of the Lanesborough and the art deco architecture of the restaurant itself is just beautiful, utterly so!
It has the air of discreet quietness about it that one really appreciates when spending precious time with a lover. We were well attended to but never felt like we had waiters crowding us. Nothing was too much and everything on the menu was known to them inside out so you could trust the recommendations offered.
Apsleys is also a great backdrop for small groups of friends that want to actually be able to carry on a conversation in a surrounding that is not just about the food but also ambience.
I was surprised at just how cheap the menu is, especially given the michelin star accolade. The food itself is delicious. You have to try the Rabbit ravioli, unless you are vegetarian. That would just be bad, because it taste so good it feels wrong already so imagine just how bad you would feel!
I had the fillet of beef for my main and it was exactly as I would choose to have my meat - everyday if I could - moist, tender and beyond succulent.
I didn't feel like one dessert so I had three and out of the mascarpone fondant, Milk and Souffle, I would rent out my kidney per hour for the souffle, it was that good. Next time I go back, I will be having 3 desserts again, 3 souffles that is!
The wine list, according to my OH, is a decent one and varied with it, the sommelier was only too happy to talk through suitable options and I must say the wines he recommended really did compliment courses.
The toilets were amazing and should you find yourself locked in them, you would not be hard pressed to lay your head on the floor, they were that clean! And with the added bonus of all that gorgeous architecture - love it!
The whole experience was just as I like, delightful, and for that reason, I shall be returning to Apsleys real soon, as in for Afternoon Tea later this month!
For pomp and ceremony you can't go past afternoon tea at The Lanesborough. Service is charming and the key is to book in for the 4pm sitting so you get to linger over your scones and tea until 6pm - making this two hours of unlimited eating and tea drinking (which makes the £35 charge a bit easier to bear)
Apsleys at The Lanesborough is my very favourite place for enjoying a decadent and totally delicious afternoon tea. Located in the beautiful Lanesborough Hotel, opposite Hyde Park, you can at least walk off those calories afterwards!
Both experiences of afternoon tea here have surpassed my expectations and afternoon tea is my absolute favourite thing to take part in, so for me to rate it as my No.1 place has to be saying something.
The food was exquisite, the staff were adorable and the tea sommelier was mind-bogglingly awesome. The pianist remembered us from a previous occasion (nice touch) and even remembered which song I had requested! Afternoon tea was plentiful copious amounts of food being replenished at timely intervals, yet the waiting staff were attentive yet not in-your-face.
A wonderful place: I celebrated my 40th birthday here and wouldn't hesitate to recommend anyone to go here for ANY occasion! In intend to visit again very soon, to celebrate the end of my year-long medical treatment I truly cannot think of anywhere else I'd rather visit in the world for afternoon tea.
Delicate and tasty food - Meat, fish or vegetarian. Lovely romantic massive art deco room. Staff we incredibly courteous and the set menu had nice options. Service was impeccable and food was very good. Would definitely return for a special occasion.
Loved it. Great place to enjoy the event of fine dining. The food was amazing, as were the staff
top Italian restaurant in London..... probably deserve a 2nd michelin star in 2011. Great experience, perfect service and food second to no one in London. Probably only in France you can enjoy meal like here!!!
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