Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill – Savoy Hotel, London
A new addition to the Savoy following the refurbishment, I hadn’t had the chance to eat at Kaspar’s. So I was delighted to be invited there on my recent stay. Although it lacks the formality of the old Grill, it has the kind of straightforward menu with extras that I think works particularly well in hotel restaurants. For many people, if they are dining in the hotel where they are staying it is to escape from a round of business entertaining or socialising – so, it’s always good to have a restaurant which provides perfectly prepared, light and fresh dishes. One just like Kaspar’s…
I like the decor of Kaspar’s too. There are seats at the bar (fun and remarkably comfortable once you’ve climbed up – at 5’2″ I do sometimes struggle!) and tables with leather banquettes. It’s the sort of place where you could just relax for an evening.
And, I loved the service. A welcome glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc (champagne made with 100% Chardonnay) was an excellent way to start the evening. We learnt that Ruinart is the preferred champagne at the Savoy, though there were plenty of other options by the glass including Louis Roederer Brut Premium at £18.50 and even ‘Cristal’ at £85 a glass. This blanc de blanc was creamy and citrusy – a perfect palate cleanser. As Dominik Basanek, the sommelier had already introduced himself, we asked him to pick wines for us throughout the meal rather than choosing a bottle. And we were delighted by his inspired choices. Refreshingly, all the wines on the main list are available by the glass, while there’s an extended wine list for those who want to indulge a little more, you may not feel that you need anything more than a Chateau Lafite Rothschild.
My Scottish Salmon Tartar with Keta Caviar and Creme Fraiche came with a fresh lemony dressing and a garnish of chives and sea vegetables. A delicious start to the meal, it was paired for me with an Astrolab Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, a medium-bodied wine with hints of lemon grass and gooseberry.
Meanwhile, my companion had picked the rather indulgent sounding Braised Shallot Tart with Pan-fried FoieGrass and truffle flavoured chicken jus.
It looked heavenly, a kind of shallot tart tatin with a large portion of foie gras on top, all dressed with a sticky chicken jus.
His wine pairing was Stag’s Leap Karia Chardonnay, from the Napa Valley, a buttery, full-bodied white which he was very happy with, a way to lighten the rich start to his meal.
I was still trying my best to eat lighter options but didn’t want to detract from the luxury of the experience. Lobster seemed an obvious choice and I really wasn’t disappointed with my grilled half an Isle of Skye lobster. It was a good size and came with a delicious (and obviously calorie-free) Lemon Hollandaise on the side, together with a pretty muslin wrapped half lemon. It was so healthy I thought I could excuse myself a side order of fries and one of sauteed spinach to share with my companion. The lobster itself was well prepared and had a light char, though the flesh was perfectly cooked.
All washed down with a Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Chevenevottes’ . Again, I was really happy with the pairing, a lovely full bodied soft vanilla wine.
My companion picked Kaspar’s catch of the day, priced at £25. I THINK it was pan fried sea bass on a bed of baby heritage beets with a watercress puree, but since I didn’t actually make a note I can’t really do more than guess, based on the rather lovely plate below
That will teach me to drink champagne before I eat!
His pairing was an unusual Lebanese wine, Massaya Rose from the Bekka valley. I suspect the sommelier had realised that my companion has a better nose for wine than me. And, they seemed to be enjoying discussing the options for pairing a fish and beetroot dish.
He mentioned how much he liked Lebanese red wines, so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that the cheese selection he ordered came with a glass of Chateau Musar 2004, one of my own favourite Lebanese wines – a medium bodied, ripe blackberry and earthy wine that I’ve served myself on New Year’s Eve with a venison casserole.
Meanwhile, I’d abandoned all intentions of eating the healthy option and picked the Apple Tart Tatin, with Granny Smith Coulis and Armagnac ice-cream which was paired for me with Domaine du Tariquet Derniere Grives, a Cote de Gascogne 2013 sweet wine produced by harvesting late (before the thrushes or ‘grives’ get to them) giving the grapes time on the vine to over ripen and shrivel, undergoing a process called passerillage. Delicious.
It only remained to have a cup of coffee and final petit four in the shape of a truffle lollipop. And make my way upstairs to my charming room, safe in the knowledge that breakfast would be available all morning the next day.
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London, WC2R 0EU