The Bloomsbury Hotel – 16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London, United Kingdom WC1B 3NN
Price: £45-50 (per person, drinks excluded)
The risk of visiting such an elegant hotel such as the Bloombsbury Hotel in London and its restaurant, is that you might end up never really relaxing. However, at the Landseer restaurant, I felt exactly the opposite, thanks to exquisite food and excellent staff.
I later found out that the Bloombsbury Hotel is owned by a family-based Irish chain – named the Doyle Collection – and I wonder if this is the secret behind their relaxing atmosphere and good food.
When we arrived at the Landseer restaurant we were welcomed by a smiling attendant, really smiling, not uptight-fake-smiling as in most luxury hotels. Throughout the evening the service has been impeccable and very attentive. We were always asked if we enjoyed our entree when we were quiet , which meant we were not interrupted while eating and chatting by unwanted ‘Is everything okay with your meal?’. An element that I happened to notice was how comfortable the chairs were. For some reason I felt I could really sit back and relax, which is what everybody wants on a Friday night.
The atmosphere was relaxing, with dim lights and good jazz music on the background. The menu is incredibly appealing, offering traditional British, Italian, Asian and grilled food. I admit we ordered as much as our stomach could bear, but in general the meal was fish-oriented.
Burrata Mozzarella with cherry tomatoes and basil oil: If you have been following my blog, you already know I am a picky customer, an Italian picky customer – to make matters worse. So i have to pin point that this was not a burrata. Burrata is an extremely soft mozzarella type that it basically melts on the plate. This was not the case here, however, I was still very pleased by eating a real, fresh, tasty mozzarella. The basil oil was a very gentle and apt detail on the plate.
Beef fillet carpaccio with grilled artichoke, celeriac croquette and rocket parmesan: Very very thin carpaccio, nice and light. Fortunately without any inappropriate sauce on it, but only with well deserved lemon juice – exactly how it is supposed to be. The grilled artichoke was a very pleasant variable to the plate.
Roasted sea scallops with pan fried haggis and shallot cream: I have a very good Italian friend who cannot believe in the power of surf and turf, such as scallops and black pudding…I wonder what she is going to say when I will mention scallops with haggis! I absolutely loved it, it brought surf and turf to the next level for me. The haggis must have been very good quality as its delicacy allowed it to support the scallops without overshadowing them.
Cornish chilli crab and crayfish linguini with cherry tomatoes: Seafood pasta served to an Italian picky person from Naples is a hard test for a restaurant. Although I cannot say the Landseer passed the test with distinction, I can say it is the best attempt to seafood pasta I tried in England this last year. Don’t get me wrong, the Brits and the Irish can do great things with fish. Delicious scallops, juicy mussels, unforgettable salmon. But as soon as they add this to pasta, something goes irremediably wrong. In this case, the pasta was not really linguini (which by the way should be spelt ‘linguine’) but still it was fresh made spaghetti. The amount of pepper was too generous and the plate slightly dry, but I have to say the crab was fresh and full of flavour. Thankfully, the plate was not served with tomato sauce (it should never never happen!) but with few cherry tomatoes, exactly like you might find it in Italy. The difficulty of a plate like this is that you have very few basic ingredients, therefore you really cannot hide any mistake. Given the fresh pasta, crab and cherry tomatoes, this was an absolute fair attempt that did not distort the original recipe for the sake of foreign palates.
Grilled salmon with lobster butter, with tomato and lime fondue: It’s a shame you couldn’t really taste the lobster butter, however the salmon was cooked to perfection: crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Another very simple dish, very well made.
Fries: not much to say obviously.
Butter spinach and roast pine nuts: this was the only disappointing note of the evening as the little plate actually had no pine nuts.
London tower of chocolate: A delight to the eyes! A scoop of strawberry ice cream and a scoop of chocolate mousse were served within a tower of melted white chocolate = yummy!
Almonds, pear and cocoa tart with honey and ginger ice cream: Served warm, the tart was soft and moist. Unfortunately the dried slices of pear were not as tasty as expected, hence its flavour ended up being covered by the cocoa.. Still, it was very well done and very welcomed on a cold evening in London.