Amaranto boasts of a very spacious dining room that extends to a conservatory overlooking Park Lane. The decor has a kitschy sort of opulence I kinda liked. There’s a hint of Asian in red velvet sofas and dark marbled tables, but there are playful Italian touches such as Fornasetti wall plates galore. My favourite feature though, has to be the display of all the finest champagnes you can think of, aka “the wall of bubbles”.
We started with aperitifs at the bar lounge area. Aftab went for a watermelon and basil cocktail, Binny opted for her usual mojito, Maggie’s choice was a blackberry and marshmallow concoction and I ordered my staple negroni. I think it goes without saying our drinks went down a treat and conversations started flowing at ease.
Then we were escorted to our table for our meal. But first…
A few glasses of Veuve Cliquot to toast to this awesome meet up.
We were served an amuse bouche of baked polenta topped with caramelised onions and their homemade bread basket.
Aftab, Maggie and I ordered maltagliati for starters. The pasta itself was cooked beautifully and each bite had good depth of flavours and textures. Cooked with wild mushroom, speck from Tirolo, an easy butter sauce and herbs, this was great testament to simplicity at its finest. It was also a big portion, a nod to Italian generosity.
Aftab doesn’t eat pork but they were happy to substitute the speck with a hefty amount of chicken.
Binny opted for the beetroot salad with breaded Tomino cheese with truffle. It was a stunner of a dish, with cox apple dressing, although she said she couldn’t particularly taste the truffle in the cheese.
Binny’s main was a vibrant plate of barley risotto. Served with pumpkin, cured shallots and raschera cheese, it looked like a bowl of creamy comfort.
Aftab surprised everyone by choosing a seafood dish. His cod, I heard, was beautifully roasted and married with a nice artichoke puree. The candied celery garnish sounded great and I wanted to re-create this.
I was too busy snapping away other people’s food that I forgot to photograph my own. So here’s Aftab’s photo of my (and Maggie’s) dish:My braised beef was deliciously tender. Can you describe flavour as masculine? Because this was what I thought at first bite. It was earthy, strong and potent with flavour. But then the creamy sweet potato puree, balsamic glazed onions and blueberries gave the dish a sweetness that made feel all sorts of… fuzzy. It was beautifully comforting.
Aftab, Binny and I chose affogato for dessert. The simplicity of this dish may be its death, because bad produce can ruin anything. However, I have to admit the vanilla ice cream was some of the best I’ve had and the espresso was definitely on point.
Maggie’s dish came later, because “the plating wasn’t quite right”. Our apologetic server named Giuseppe (how Italian can you get?) smiled at us sheepishly as we started digging into our ice creams.
A few minutes later and countless stories involving spiders and near-death-experiences (#youhadtobethere), Maggie’s dessert of red wine poached figs came. I immediately had food envy. The dish sparkled with candied orange zest, dark chocolate cremeux and stracciatella ice cream.
That envy didn’t last long, because we were served another round of affogato simply “for waiting”. An array of captions came to mind:
“There’s no other way to say sorry than a bowl of ice cream.” “It’s never too late to apologise… if you come with ice cream.” “All you need in life is ice cream.”
Or simply, #sorrynotsorry.
Bellies full and conversations rounded, we munched on Italian petit fours as we laughed the night away.
Verdict for Amaranto Four Seasons
Let me tell you one thing: I can never fault Four Seasons establishments for their service. Each staff – from the doormen and bellboys, to the hotel concierge, to the maitre d’, to the bar staff – gave warm smiles and polite nods even just as they passed by. God knows how much I hate snooty service and I have to say the staff at Four Seasons exemplify great hospitality to its very core.
The restaurant itself was pretty good. Food was delicious but is it the best Italian? Not quite. However, it’s great for wining and dining with friends or if you want to impress, bring a date. Service is impeccable and friendly, particularly our server Giuseppe who made our night hassle free and bubbly.
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Have you been to Amaranto?