Hélène Darroze at The Connaught is one of the most special restaurants in London… and those in the know book the exclusive Sommelier’s Table downstairs in the intimate wine cellar.
A select group of foodies gathered at noon in the hotel lobby before lunch. After a quick peek into the sophisticated dining room, we headed downstairs to the wine emporium. Champagne was served as we ogled at the beautifully set dinner table and took a seat.
The decadent four course lunch was centred around a selection of fine Pinot Noir wines selected by the Connaught’s sommelier. For each of the wines Hélène presented an immaculate recipe focussed on seasonal wild mushrooms to match the wine flavours and intensity.
The first course was a subtle veloute with pink garlic, ceps, parsley and lardo di Colonnata. The light and creamy soup was a delight on the palate, with a luxurious, oozing poached egg and earthy, lusciously juicy ceps. It was served with a glass of 2011 Pinot Noir from Terravin, Marlborough, New Zealand.
The next dish was easily my favourite of the day. A stunning leaf-shaped mini lasagne, with layers of frog leg, ricotta, and Parmigiano Reggiano. It was a beautiful assortment of flavours and textures that perfectly complemented the 2010 Pinot Noir “Barda” from Bodegas Chacra, Argentina.
We knew it was time for main course even before it arrived at the table because an irresistible scent of richly flavoured pastry wafted through the room. Waiters arrived with platters of Grouse Wellington, which tasted as regal as it looked. The game was stuffed with foie gras and cep, and was served with a caramelised sweet fig and a wonderfully aromatic whiskey jus. The 2011 Gevrey-Chambertin, Olivier Bernstein from Burgundy, France managed to majestically stand up to the bold flavours of the dish, it was a delicious match.
The Signature Savarin was a boozy dessert doused in Hélène’s brothers Armagnac. Topped with tart apple and nutty chestnuts, it was a dish that tasting like Autumn. Champagne Eric Rodez, Blanc de Noirs, Grand Cru from Ambonnay provided a light and floral finish.
Every experience of Hélène Darroze’s food is a treat, but when you try a specially crafted food and wine menu at the Sommelier’s Table, the culinary memory is unforgettable.
More information on Hélène Darroze at The Connaught and the Sommelier’s Table here.