Sunday, 21 April 2013

Helene Darroze at The Connaught

Not your average brunch

This is my third visit to the double Michelin starred Helene Darroze at The Connaught, I had the excellent value lunch ( One of the best lunch deal in London) and the smashing 9 courses signature menu (Can barely walk afterwards!) in my previous two visits, this time I headed for their Saturday brunch on a lovely sunny afternoon. Along with Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley and The Ledbury, these are my three favourite London restaurants so I had high expectation for the brunch as it has been something I wanted to do for a while now.
The Connaught Hotel

We were kept in the Coburg Bar next door while they were setting up our table, I ordered a glass of Don the Beachcomber's Mai Tai while I was waiting, it was nicely mixed as expected, in fact I thought it was done better than the Connaught bar when I was there last Christmas, which was bit of a surprise consider The Connaught bar is regards as one of the best cocktail bar in London. The orgeat syrup and lime level was spot on, a really solid Mai Tai!
Coburg Bar
 Mai Tai

So, on to the food! Basically, you can pick one main course and have as much starters and desserts as you like from the buffet tables. At the starters table, there were bit of everything, from chorizo, wild boar salami, smoke salmon, halibut to seasonal green, cheese, scramble eggs and terrine. I shouldn't really but I had a bit of almost everything, I was in love with the scramble eggs, it was brilliantly done and I yet taste scramble eggs at such an exquisite level. The cured meat and smoked fish were also at very high quality, I can't fault it. All the salads was fresh and crisp, really top quality ingredients and all the dressing were wonderfully blended, this just make such a massive different to your everyday salads. If all my lunch time salads are like that then 5 a day will never be a problem for me....
Starters table 1
Starters table 2

I had the egg benedict with York ham and black truffle for my main. Beautifully presented, it was very refine, the egg and sauces were at the right temperature, creamy and smooth, the black truffle worked nicely with the lovely muffins base and the sweet, tender ham. I am glad I didn't order the burger as after a little taste from my friend's, I was not impress as I thought the ox cheek was over seasoned and far too salty.
 Egg benedict with York ham and black truffle
Ox cheek foie gras burger

Had a tiny bit of cheese before the desserts, some very nice cheese were on show but the mango cheese cake and the lime pie were the stars, some great works from the pastry chef, not overly sweet and great flavours and freshness from the fruit. There were a lot of different desserts on the buffet table such as cupcakes and waffles but I just simply didn't had any space left! 
Cheese board
Desserts table

To finish the meal, I had a glass of restaurant's special: Darroze Armagnac, Helene Darroze's family brand. I had a 1985 vintage (older than me lol) single cask and cask strength, it was packed with tobacco, oily and leather notes, complex in taste and a very long & satisfying finish, a very good Armagnac. I really enjoy the single distill style from Armagnac as if it is skilfully done, you retain a lot of flavours and aromas which can sometime gone in double distillation (Cognac). Good Armagnac is well worth trying for any seasonal cognac or single malt drinkers.
My kind of trolley
Darroze 1985 vintage

Overall it was a lovely brunch, I think for £55 it is pretty good value consider all the ingredients were top notch and it does offer a rather unique brunch experience in a wonderful and relax setting. Service was smart and friendly as usual, I will return in the future and maybe next time it will be at the Sommelier’s Table.... time to save up!

Food 4/5

Executive chef: 
Helene Darroze

What I paid: 
£85 per head with 2 drinks

Average cost without drinks and services :
Brunch menu: £55

Carlos Pl  London W1K 2AL

Hélène Darroze at the Connaught on Urbanspoon

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