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A New Chef at the Capital Hotel, Knightsbridge.
Adam Simmonds steps into propitious shoes taking up the role of Executive Chef at the Capital Hotel. His predecessors, Nathan Outlaw and before that Eric Chavot both held Michelin stars for the Capital, one for Nathan and two for Eric. But, Adam himself has already been recognised by Michelin with a star when he was a Ynyshir Hall in Wales (2006) and when he was at Danesfield House in Marlow. We went along to try his new menu and to meet the man himself. It’s about more than Michelin of course…
The newly re-opened restaurant offers a balanced menu with meat, fish and vegetarian dishes and focusses on fresh traditional ingredients. While we checked out what was on offer, we enjoyed a glass of Anna’s Anniversary sparkling English wine from Camel Valley. It’s the wine which Prince Harry chose for his wedding and, I suspect a bit of a kickback to Nathan’s days at the Capital. With a lovely mousse, this wine was dry and delicate, the perfect aperitif.
At lunch-time, The Capital offers two menus. There’s a set lunch menu with two courses for £33 or three for £39. Or, the full seasonal menu at £55 for two courses and £69 for three. Each menu has vegetarian and pescatarian options and minor details can be adapted (to remove the meat elements from a fish dish if necessary). The concept is light, modern, English food with simple yet subtle dishes based on traditional ingredients and contemporary cooking techniques.
We started with amuse-bouche and I have to confess a moment of jealousy when my pescatarian companion was served a seaweed crisp with a scallop while I had a tender mouthful of buttermilk chicken with black truffle and vinegar jelly. We both enjoyed crisp, light arancini and nibbled on brown and white sourdough bread with butter.
My companion does have a habit of ordering smoked eel whenever he sees it on the menu. Here, served with tomato consommé, heritage tomatoes, oyster mayonnaise and marigold it was a delicate light dish though he felt the eel was slightly masked by the piquant tomato consommé.
A dish of scallop with baby white asparagus, mushrooms, fresh walnut and beef fat was utterly delicious with a slight sweetness from a few nuggets of lychee. The beef fat was light and nicely browned, tasting more like a deep stock reduction than ‘fat’ and the scallops were beautifully seared but tender and lightly cooked.
For my main course, a delicate portion of John Dory fillet with curd, cuttlefish, kohlrabi and caviar. There were distinct aniseed notes from the leaves garnishing the dish and the fish itself was immaculate, cooked sous vide, then torched and served on fine ribbons of cuttlefish and curd with nutty cubes of kohlrabi adding vegetal depth and texture.
My companion’s brill with octopus, celeriac and truffle was served with a personalised pescatarian ‘master stock’. While I won out on plating just look at the truffle topping on his brill.
We agreed to share a British cheese plate and a dessert.
The dark chocolate mousse with cocoa nib and vanilla ice-cream was stylish, light and perfectly executed.
But, it was the British cheese plate which impressed us the most. Three types of homemade biscuits were designed to pair perfectly with the cheeses, each of which came with their own garnish.
Double barrel-aged Cheddar came with barbecued pineapple and one-year-old walnut. Mayhill green was served with a delicate topping of baby onion and fennel pollen while Oxford blue came with peach, dill and almond.
Throughout the meal, we enjoyed a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc Warwick Estate 2018 First Lady from Stellenbosch which was minerally and creamy providing a perfect foil for our fish dishes.
Altogether a delightful, light and beautifully executed lunch with dishes that I suspect will go a long way to helping Adam Simmonds regain a Michelin star for the Capital Hotel. And, just around the corner from Harrods and Harvey Nichols, the menu is the kind to appeal to those elegant ladies who lunch. There again, light, seasonal and perfectly cooked dishes might just appeal to most people.
Adam Simmonds at the Capital Hotel
22-24 Basil St, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1AT
Phone:020 7589 5171
Looking for something a little more casual? We like the 5th Floor Cafe at Harvey Nichols
Disclosure: We were invited to meet Adam and try his new menu by the Capital Hotel. All content is editorially given.