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Blakes Hotel for Lime & Tonic:
A blast from the past, Blakes Hotel was for many years on my mother’s unrequited wish-list. She and my father traveled regularly overseas and usually stayed at a very nice hotel just up the road near Gloucester Road tube station. But, my mother loved a touch of glamour and romance. Blakes, designed by Anoushka Hempel, was ‘THE’ hotel to stay at in London at the time – to see and be seen. Film Star styled rooms, luxury and immaculate service. It never happened. I don’t think she even managed to eat there so, in a way I was just fulfilling her dream by going along the other evening.
The lovely folk at Lime & Tonic asked me if I’d like to preview the restaurant as their guest. They are planning a gourmet food and wine dinner, five courses with matched wines so, I was invited to go along, hotel-inspector style to check that what was on offer would live up to their standards. And, as it’s really not far from home for me, I jumped at the chance.
When we arrived the manager explained that the five course tasting menu wasn’t available yet, but that it would be based on the a la carte menu. A glass of champagne in hand, in the elegant if slightly dated bar, I was more than happy with the idea that we would eat from the a la carte. The restaurant and bar are the last part of the hotel that will be refurbished, so the general effect is of a rather grand dining room from the turn of the century.
The menu is divided into Small Plates and Large Plates. There’s a strong Asian influence with dishes like the Soft Shell Crab with birds eye chilli, lime, toasted almond and coriander that I enjoyed.
Now, I have to say, the crab was lovely and the accompaniment of micro coriander really pleasant, but I found the frothy wasabi dip a little strange. Perhaps I was just expecting something a little hotter? Not unpleasant though, just unexpectedly mild.
My companion’s Salmon Tartare looked wonderful and for the most part was pronounced delicious although an unexpected bite of chilli took him by suprise!
I’m really trying to be healthy at the moment and actually the Blakes menu lends itself to the sort of eating that will help you stay a size 8!
Miso black cod was fabulous. I had a side order of sauteed wild spinach to go with it and really enjoyed the perfect fish with it’s delicate coating of miso
I’m trying to eat a ‘heart friendly diet’ at the moment. Not so easy for a dyed in the wool carnivore like me. But for that, I’d have chosen my companion’s grilled 65 aged beef entrecote with wasabi mousseline and wild mushroom truffle which looked immaculate. I tasted a tiny mouthful and it was that kind of melting full flavoured beef that you only get from good basic ingredients and great butchery.
Now at this stage I should probably have stopped. But the idea of a 70% gran cru chocolate fondant…with raspberry….with nutella icecream. It’s a little cruel Blakes to have a menu that keeps those of us trying to fit into our Dior and Chanel again on the straight and narrow…and then add that at the very end! and I have to say it was definitely worth it.
My companion by comparison picked the sensible option of a plate of award winning cheeses which arrived beautifully presented with a spoon of quince jelly to accompany it.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Blakes. Any minor misgivings about the starters were put to rights by two fabulous main courses, immaculate service and a great amount of flair and style. And of course, a chocolate fondant to die for…
Why not register with Lime and Tonic now so that you get to hear about the five-course tasting menu as soon as it is available.
33 Roland Gardens,
London SW7 3PF