By happy coincident I found myself up in leafy Bayswater this week after an early finishing meeting, just around cocktail hour. Never one to waste an opportunity I gave in to my growing curiosity to check out the latest incarnation of minimalist boutique hotel chic by famed British designer Anoushka Hempel.
This blog has already covered the inclusion of La Suite West to the Design Restaurants club here . It spoke of the stunning entrance lobby with the soaring front door which is so truly Alice In Wonderland I had to photograph it again for you here!
On stepping inside it really does echo the very Japanese zen and clean lines of the original Hempel Hotel – but somehow seemed younger and less temple like. The restaurant is as simple and serene as the other public areas and has a small bar at which I refreshed myself. There are a good variety of wines by the glass but I chose the hotels own LSW (La Suite West) Cocktail, rose wine, martini bianco and lychee juice with basil seeds, whilst studying with intrigue the quirky and fresh menu. Executive Chef team of Victor Garvey and Marcello Kaminski have created a menu of ‘social, sharing food with theatre and a conversational element’.
Joined by the perfect partner for this type of experience, the delightfully chatty and wholly vegetarian Ms S, I found myself in completely foreign territory. For the first time she was the one umming and ahhing over the menu (usually she has one maybe two veg choices) which contained six vegetarian starter choices versus four meat/fish dishes! Fortunately as we were being encouraged to try out and share the dishes by the knowledgeable and ever helpful Supida, who was serving us, we indulged. A lot. Infact we had five ‘small plates’ in total so here goes!
The Four Cheese Stuffed Tempura Courgette Flower was crispy and punchy with a spicy tomato sauce and was chased around the plate. The Aubergine and Pesto Rolls were beautifully balanced with feta and pine nuts and a generous portion. Chicken Lollypops served on a small chicken bone are one of the chef’s recommendations and came with a wonderful spicy hit of tandoori mustard. I wasn’t too keen on the chicken bone though which seemed slightly at odds with the vegetarian nature of the rest of the dishes.
Speaking of vegetarians, The Beetroot and Quinoa Falafel had Ms S comparing it to long past memories of bacon – summoned by the blast of smoked basil and sesame!
The surprise hit however was the exquisite Beetroot Salad which both looked enticing and delivered the most delicate flavours along with a piquant goat cheese and finished off perfectly with almonds – the kind of dish one might honestly see in a Michelin star establishment.
Now ready for the large plates we settled back with a glass of buttery white Spanish Albarei from Galicia.
Ms S once again went into a total flat spin over the amount of choice her veggy palate was allowed and opted eventually for the Pear Stilton Salad, perfectly lovely although without the twists of the starter plates, and the Roasted Aubergine which was by now just starting to defeat her but subtley balanced with tahini and sumac, she gave it a good attempt.
For me, the Seared Tuna Salad had me at ‘White Miso and Ginger Dressing’ – but the fact that Filet Mignon was on the menu I felt a responsibility to also try it out for the carnivores amongst us. The salad won it – I could have continued to graze all night. The filet with caramelised brie seemed a little heavy in comparison to the lightness of the dishes that had gone before but the walnuts were a total hit and the potato cake was a real treat.
I guess in the end red meat is a much heavier choice when the majority of the menu is a veritable seasonal vegetable garden. It does mean there is an option though for Mr R who will not be swayed from meat and two veg.
With the myriad of flavours we were both now dealing with we decided to forego the Desserts (although White Miso Cheesecake was mulled over for several minutes) and instead opted for some cleansing jasmine tea. This was served with tiny truffles, incredible bullets of dark chocolatey heaven, that was all we needed to finish our fragrant and full flavoured food journey.
I must now pay homage to Natasha Corrett who is the chef that advised the La Suite team on certain dishes (which are marked on the menu with HH – Honestly Healthy). Famed for being the writer of Victoria Beckham’s favourite Cook Book, Natasha – who is Sienna Miller’s step-sister – now runs the Honestly Healthy food company with her godmother, nutritionist Vicki Edgson, delivering home-cooked alkaline meals to celebrities including Robbie Williams, Kelly Holmes, and Lisa Snowdon.
Briefly her doctrine is that 70% of your diet should be made up of ‘alkaline’ food which promotes better balance in your body and therefore makes you healthier – and slimmer.
Well Ms S and I thoroughly agree with Robbie Williams comment that her food is ‘healthy yet ridiculously delicious’ and if it’s also going to make us slimmer we could become regulars…
‘Good food at a good price that goes beyond a sense of taste’ is how La Suite West sums up its restaurant offering. I would also like to add ‘good service’ to that epithet as we were charmingly looked after. The terrace will come into its own once the weather gets into gear, and when news spreads amongst the ‘in-crowd’ that Tash Corretts dishes are being cooked there, La Suite West could well become a destination restaurant.
Design Restaurant Club Members dine complimentary ALL meal periods at La Suite West when joined by one full paying guest.
Not a member? Join here for excellent dining benefits and inspiring lifestyle offers.
Review by Mrs Robinson
La Suite West
41-51 Inverness Terrace
London W2 3JN
020 7313 8484