My buddy G and I found ourselves at Hyde Park Corner and decided to catch up over drinks at The Wellesley’s Crystal Bar. Feeling all glam and part of the drinking revolution, we learned that the hotel itself is a converted 1920s townhouse with a nod to art deco and literally, all that jazz.
Photo c/o The Wellesley
Cocktails led to some hunger games and we decided to dine at the hotel’s Oval Restaurant, a beautiful room which looked like a wing from Jay Gatsby’s mansion.
In real life though, the purplish-blue lighting made it looked more new money than Great Gatsby.
Forgive the purple-tinted photos from hereon. My Lightroom/Photoshop skills are limited and can’t save these shots.
Complimentary things were brought to the table, a decent bread basket and a strange amuse bouche of cheese log with some sort of coulis. It didn’t really amuse my bouche but I hoped for better things to come.
G’s starter of lentil soup with beetroot and burrata cream wasn’t particularly the best looking in terms of presentation (much worse has been said than “This doesn’t look appetising”). After a bit of nose scrunching, G had a spoonful and pushed the soup bowl towards me. I didn’t not like it as the earthy flavour was quite balanced but the claggy texture was just quite off-putting.
My starter of mackerel with frisée and red pepper sauce reminded me of a butterfly about to take off. I quite liked the balanced flavours especially with the mackerel being fresh and the sauce being absolutely spot on. However, the fish was quite overcooked which was such a shame.
G’s seabass with aubergine and smoked cheese sauce was confusing. In place of the aubergine was a montage of, er, vegetables. It looked like a normal homemade plate of food which was nothing to write home about. I did, however, pinch the crispy fish skin off G’s plate.
My main was the better of the two, burrata ravioli with truffle and porcini sauce. I quite liked the ravioli itself, I thought the pasta was well-made and the burrata filling was light. I love truffle and mushroom together but the flavour of the sauce was a little underwhelming and it just didn’t quite tie in the dish together.
Dessert was the best part of the meal although admittedly we weren’t expecting much at that point. Quite rightly, G’s assortment of artisan ice creams and sorbet came exactly as it said on the tin. Nothing really exciting here, I’m afraid.
My warm apple and grape crumble was the clear winner of the courses with the crumble having a good mix of crunch and chew, and the filling a nice balance of sweet and tangy. The cinnamon ice cream picked up nicely and was absolutely delicious. I would actually go back to have this and only this, but I just don’t know when.
We got choccy petit fours with our coffee.
And a cheeky selfie c/o the camera shy (but gorgeous) G.
Service was pretty decent, with the maitre’d and servers knowledgeable beyond the menu. However, The Oval Restaurant’s issue is at the very core of its food and execution. I reckon with a bit of tweaking and refinement the menu can be so much better and, dare I say, live up to the prettiness of the hotel itself.