In true British fashion, I’m going to start the post with the weather. As I brave the -2 degree wind chill to organise my house move and everything else that’s going on in my life, it dawns on me… it’s almost Valentine’s Day and Rúni and I have not made any plans yet! I wanted to be wrapped up somewhere cosy with my honey and a romantic candlelight dinner while the sound of smooth Jazz sets the tone and the warmth of a crackling fire provides the atmosphere. Sounds magical, right? But where could I find such a countryside style escape without having to actually escape to the country?
A little research, a glass of wine and a few phone calls later, I was soon to be dining at what is widely considered to be London’s most romantic restaurant, Clos Maggiore. A world-renowned restaurant, critically acclaimed for its French-inspired cuisine and incredibly beautiful cherry blossom conservatory.
As soon as I walked through the doors, the hustle and bustle of the city seemed to melt away and I was transported into an oasis for the senses. Luscious greenery and gorgeous bouquets guided me to my table booked in the cherry blossom conservatory dining room and my, what a room it is! Photos do not do it justice YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO! So light, airy and of course the key word here…romantic. It really does capture all the beauty of a Tuscany country garden dining experience and for an extra touch, if you wish to go alfresco, the glass roof of the conservatory is fully retractable so the warmth and air in the summer months can be let it.
The staff’s attention to detail from the servers right up to the chefs’ was immaculate. They anticipated our every need. Antonin, our very knowledgeable sommelier, made excellent suggestions that perfectly complemented our chosen dishes. Having chosen a white meat main (with the help of David, the general manager who charmingly explained the menu) I thought I would be stuck with the traditional pairing of white wine. Most of you know I am not a fan of white wine but I do have a refined taste for reds. Having informed Antonin of this I was pleasantly surprised when he suggested a 2015 Couvent des Thorins, Moulin-à-Vent Light. A medium-bodied red with supple ripe tannins and a subtle earthy bouquet, it paired exceptionally well with main.
The a la carte menu is vibrant and varied ranging from fresh and light to rich and flavoursome dishes that would warm you up even in the most frigid of winter months. To start we both had seafood dishes. I had the ‘Hand Picked Dorset Crab Mayonnaise & Smoked Salmon Roulade’ and of course I had to sample Runi’s ‘Wild Caught Spanish Octopus Salad, Lime Zest & Basil’ If I said sampling his dishes was for the purpose of this review I’d be lying, the truth is it just looked too mouth-wateringly delicious to not have a bite and there’s no shame in admitting that!
If I had to describe the mains in one word it would be sumptuous. Every mouth full was delectable. The duck liver & truffle stuffing in the roasted free range chicken leg simply melted in the mouth. Runi’s black angus short rib was so tender it easily fell apart in the thick rich sauce. The dishes maintained their consistency through to the last delicious morsel, the plates remained warm and the staff remained ever attentive yet non-intrusive.
The wait during each course was very well timed and before I knew it I was happily being handed the dessert menu. Everything looked tasty and tempting but we decided on the ‘Conference Pear Poached in Tonka Bean Syrup’ and the ‘Clos Maggiore Caramelised Valrhona Chocolate Sensation’. The conference pear was a tasty dessert but I felt it would have been better served warm which would have made an amazing contrast to the cold of the salted caramel ice cream. The real star of the desserts was the Chocolate Sensation. It truly lived up to its name, with every mouthful a new flavour, a new texture a new aftertaste emerged. My brain was in a constant state of ‘ohhhss’ and ‘ahhhs’ I would highly recommend having this dessert!
I sampled all the dishes we chose, I get the impression that there is no dish on the menu that isn’t just as delicious as another. I cannot wait to return to Clos Maggiore for another intimate & unrivalled world-class fine dining experience.