A Lime and Tonic Experience – 1901 at Andaz
I’ve known the people at Lime and Tonic ever since they started operating in the UK. Offering an exclusive range of member experiences, while you might not find the price is heavily discounted, they tend to offer experiences that you simply can’t get as a normal customer. The offer at 1901 is a good example, where the regular set menu is £30, through Lime and Tonic you can have the same menu for £1 less and with a free glass of champagne. Any offer of a free glass of fizz is good for me, so I was very happy to pop along to review the menu and took Adrian from ‘The-Hedonist’ along with me to see what he made of the venue.
We have both been there before, when the hotel had a different life as the Great Eastern. And in an way, that makes this review quite tough because in it’s time the Great Eastern was probably one of the first destination hotels to open in London as it went through its culinary phoenix period during the late 1990s. My insight was that a friend from the States used to stay there regularly and we’d meet for dinner in one of the restaurants, but The-Hedonist who is a professional musician used to supply the music to the room we ate in – and his memory is quite piquant.
We’d anticipated grand surroundings and the ultimate luxury. It IS a grand venue but, the contemporary fixtures and fittings don’t sit altogether comfortably for me in this listed building. The-Hedonist was more critical, remembering with rose tinted spectacles the old venue. I am guessing if you’d never been there you’d actually be more impressed and it was certainly very comfortable. That is, with the exclusion of the music which seemed particularly inappropriate to us and in the half filled dining room reverberated a little. That is all about personal taste though.
Food was much more to our liking, starting with an amuse bouche of salmon tartare and a glass of Veuve Cliquot. The bread was prettily presented and fresh enough to have been made in house.
The set menu offers three options each with one vegetarian dish at each stage. My choice of stuffed courgette flower was partly driven from having just returned from Puglia where they were often served as part of the antipasti. Here though, a finer version with a beautifully crisp batter on a tangy fresh tomato tartare. I didn’t notice the apricots but the courgette puree made a good light sauce for the dish.
The-Hedonist was less impressed with his smoked salmon wrapped goats cheese with pickled beetroot and a whole assortment of other garnishes. I suspect I would have agreed that goats cheese is generally a little too robust as a filling for smoked salmon and will tend to overwhelm the dish.
His main of hake with saffron potato, samphire, marinated beetroot and curried fish cream though was considerably more successful and looked splendid on the plate.
Meanwhile, I’d picked the corn fed chicken breast which was a lovely light, early summer dish, served with potato fondant, baby broccoli, grilled spring onion and black garlic puree. Nothing out of place on this dish with perfectly cooked morsels of broccoli complementing the nicely moist (I’m sure there’s a better synonym) chicken.
If I’m honest, I might have skipped dessert had we not been reviewing. But the three course meal includes a choice of two desserts and ice-cream or sorbet, so I picked the delicate honey castella cake which came with violet jelly, lavender sugar, chantilly cream and lemon sorbet.
On the taste stakes I think I won again, the Vanilla blancmange had just slightly too thick a base to be 100% successful, though it looked very pretty.
We were served petit fours with our coffee and ended up feeling that this particular Lime and Tonic offer was excellent value. The wine list DOES have some reasonably priced options (not always the case with hotel restaurants), so you could easily dine here for £40-50 a head.
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1901 at Andaz
Andaz Liverpool Street,
40 Liverpool St,
London EC2M 7QN