Restaurant Review: Hotel Chantelle London
Recently opened on Orchard Street, conveniently near to Selfridges, is Hotel Chantelle London. With the owners’ first branch proving a great success in New York, this is their first international opening.
Hotel Chantelle London (not actually a hotel) is named after a World War II safe house and is much like the rooftop dining space that Chantelle occupies in New York. The menu is French/American-inspired and can only be described as a gastronomic marvel, offering an innovative and surprising twist on a range of classics.
After locating the rather inconspicuous entrance, we headed up several dark flights of stairs and into the restaurant area. Upon entering, we were greeted by attentive (and extremely beautiful) staff in a space that screamed New York chic. Being devotees of the City that Never Sleeps, we immediately decided this was our kind of place.
To start, it was cocktails at the bar while taking in our surroundings: dimly lit with an airy, spacious feel. We noticed the elegant, covered outdoor dining area, which would be great for a special occasion in the summer months. The cocktail menu is extensive and includes all the classics plus some original creations by the venue’s master mixologist.
We finished our drinks and were seated at one of the tables at the back, not only comfortable but excellent for people-watching. The menu may be a little difficult for some to interpret (with choices like the Tuna Tartare Cigar – sushi-grade chopped tuna served inside a crisp “cigar” shell – and the Chicken and Waffles – waffle-crusted chicken bits with maple syrup floss and cola chilli reduced drizzle), but our server put us completely at ease. He advised us that all the plates were designed for sharing, so we followed his recommendations and went for the tuna and the chicken plus a token healthy option of the Summer Watermelon Salad, which featured heirloom tomato, oregano compressed charred cucumber, feta snow, olive gelee, red onion crisp and olive oil powder, and packed a real punch in flavour.
The tuna, looking exactly like a cigar, was certainly a standout dish, with the incredibly delicate fish being complemented beautifully by the crisp shell. Our only disappoint was that we hadn’t ordered two. The chicken and waffles were equally impressive, served on lollipop sticks and wrapped in candy floss. This took the concept of sweet and savoury to a whole new level.
We then opted to share a large plate, the Nori Ash Monkfish, pan-seared with roasted fennel, vine tomatoes, ginger and lemongrass veloute, accompanied by Truffle Mac ’n’ Cheese and Grilled Asparagus Madame. These were all insanely delicious, but the mac and cheese was in a league of its own.
We were feeling pretty full when it came to dessert, wishing we had saved enough room for the Fill Your Own Donuts: mini-brioches served warm and coated in cinnamon sugar, filled with a selection of different sauces such as salted caramel. Instead we opted for the White Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse and the Chocolate Peanut Molten Cake, which were perfectly sized and ideal to cap off the night after eating some of the tastiest and most creative food this side of the pond.
With so many restaurants in London to choose from it can be tricky to find one that truly stands out, but we think we’ve discovered something pretty unforgettable here. As a date location, Hotel Chantelle can’t fail to impress!