In April last year I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful sky-high restaurant Searcys at The Gherkin to enjoy a delicious 3 course meal and accompanying cocktail which I booked through one of my favourite sites bookatable*. It was at this point, as I sat at my table on the 39th floor of one of the Capital’s most iconic buildings looking out at the breathtaking views across the city, that I realised just how lucky I was to live in such an amazing place. This was the day on which I decided to share my experiences with the world and start London City Calling.
*Bookatable are currently offering a 4 course Sunday brunch with a glass of Champagne for £49, a 3 course lunch for £42 and a 3 course dinner for £47pp (including a gin cocktail) at Searcys at The Gherkin
Now, one year on, London City Calling has come so far and become such a major part of my life, and so to celebrate I headed to another top contender on London’s luxury restaurant scene; Céleste at The Lanesborough Hotel.
The 5 star Knightsbridge hotel is located on Hyde Park Corner and recently underwent an £80 million renovation. With a double room incl. breakfast and spa entry coming in at £700+ per night it has been labelled London’s most expensive hotel (right, who’s taking me?). It’s flagship restaurant Céleste has been awarded a Michelin star in the 2017 Michelin guide and holds 3 AA Rosettes. It’s Michelin starred Executive Chef Florian Favario is the protégé of Chef Patron Eric Frechon – who holds five Michelin stars. That’s a lot of Michelin stars all round!
As we entered the hotel we were immediately greeted by a concierge who took us into the hotel bar to enjoy a drink before our meal (due to the fact we arrived half an hour early). The Library Bar is a charming and grand room with walls lined with old books and a large bar which includes Cognacs dating back to the 1770s. We were sat at a table not far from the bar and ordered a couple of glasses of wine. Despite the fairly hefty price tag on the wine (£9+ for the cheapest glass), we were brought a large complimentary selection of olives, nuts and corn kernels to accompany the drinks. Being a massive fan of all of these it was pretty difficult not to fill myself up before dinner had even started.
Céleste itself is a Venetian-style dining room with large chandeliers, ornate wall carvings and beautiful bespoke furniture. Arriving at 7pm we were lucky enough to see the restaurant both with the daylight pouring in through the domed glass ceiling and after dark when the room is dimly lit by the chandeliers and lamps, making for a very romantic setting.
After dropping our bags in the cloakroom we were guided to our table by an extremely polite and accommodating waiter who talked us through the menu and asked for any dietary requirements. We had booked a deal with Bookatable’s ‘Feast on London’ which allowed us 3 courses and a glass of champagne for £38 per person.
There was also an option to upgrade this and get a wine pairing with each course for £68. We eventually decided to go for one regular menu and one wine pairing menu as we were both planning to order the same dishes and therefore could sample each wine between us.
As the champagne was brought to our table we were also given a small plate of complimentary hors-d’oeuvres – truffle wrapped in pastry, crispy mackerel tails topped with a mackerel rillette and wafer-thin fried potato. A lovely surprise and a tasty way to start the evening.
Next arrived a plate of warm freshly cooked bread. At this point, it was taking a considerable amount of self-restraint not to completely fill myself up before the starters even made it to the table.
So finally after the bar snacks, hors-d’oeuvres and bread we made it to the meal itself…
Starters – Burford Brown Egg
A crispy hens egg, chicken and lardo di Colonnata farce with black truffle mayonnaise, which basically means a very fancy scotch egg. However, this is definitely not a bad thing as this dish was full of unbelievable flavours and probably my favourite of the three courses.
Main – Home County Lamb
Flammed lamb with eggplant and green olive coulis. Both tasty and filling – the lamb was excellently cooked to our individual preferences and the sides complemented the meat nicely.
Dessert – Paris-Brest
Balls of pastry filled with hazelnut praline cream served with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. This has to be the most extravagant dessert I have ever seen; beautifully presented and garnished with little specks of gold. Sweet but not too heavy making it the perfect way to round off a fantastic meal. Also, it tasted liked Ferrero Rocher so a big thumbs up from me. Having mentioned we were coming for a special occasion (the 1 year anniversary of LCC) we were presented with a lovely chocolate written note alongside our desserts.
Aside from the undoubtedly Michelin star worthy food, the level of service and attention to detail is what made our experience at Céleste so extraordinary. Every dish was brought out covered by a cloche and only revealed as it was placed on the table, with the sauce drizzled over the meal in front of us, ensuring each tiny detail on the exquisitely presented plates remained perfect. The champagne was brought out as soon as we sat down, and each paired glass of wine was placed on the table just before the food arrived. Our water glasses were kept constantly filled, and when we finished the bread we were brought another roll straight away. We never had to inquire about where the food was, but at the same time, we didn’t feel like we were being rushed. The waiting staff at Céleste are professional and meticulous, yet charming and welcoming at the same time. With the way in which we were escorted around and doted on for the entire evening, I have never felt more like royalty in my life.
Everything about Céleste just screams luxury; the decor, the food, the staff, the atmosphere. But with a price tag of just £38 for a 3 course dinner and glass of champagne (plus a few complimentary extras) through bookatable, it is affordable and great value for money.
I would recommend making the most of this offer whilst it’s still available… find out more and book it here.
*This post was sponsored by Bookatable but all views are entirely my own