3 stars wonder
|Brittary pigeon, greengage, garlic, wasabi|
The last time I dined at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, it was in 2020 when the UK was slowly coming out from lockdown. It was my 8th visit and also the best meal I have had from Helene. It was since promoted to a 3 Michelin stars restaurant in 2021, a remarkable achievement. Fast forward to 2023, I have decided to head back to see what has changed. The tasting menu is now at £215 per person, and I could see some classic dishes are still on the menu, such as the baba.
|Tuna, hazelnut, melon, dashi|
|Sardine, tomato, lemon thyme|
|Lobster, carrot, tandoori spices|
The roasted lobster was a replacement of Helene's classic XXL scallop which came with the same grainishes. The spices and carrot mix was as good as I recalled it, and the lobster was so moist and sweet, just wished it was served hotter as it was only lukewarm by the time it arrived. The hero dish of the night was easily the Brittany pigeon, the gooseberries' sweet and sour profile matched the earthy taste of the pigeon really well. The meat itself was so tender with no trace of bitterness at all. Everything on the plate was so enjoyable and I got nothing but love for it.
|John dory, olive, courgette|
Overall, I found the meal was as good as my last visit 3 years ago, with the same level of quality and service, which for me was a solid 2 stars level, but not 3 stars. For a state-of-the-art, peak dining experience, I didn't feel Helene was there yet, as it lacked sophistication in its serving and the food presentation itself. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the occasion, but it was just not a 3 star level. When you forget about that element, it was good quality French cuisine in an iconic hotel which I wouldn't mind returning to again.
Average cost without drinks and services:
Carlos Pl, London W1K 2AL