What: Luxury Westminster hotel Corinthia London has re-opened its pandemic-born outdoor dining concept The Garden. The space traded all to briefly at the tail-end of last year as an Alpine-inspired restaurant offering hearty dishes designed to stave off the cold including luxury takes on mac ’n’ cheese, but is now offering a Mediterranean-inspired menu with decor to match.
Who: As before, The Garden is being overseen by the hotel’s executive chef André Garrett, who is perhaps best known for long, Michelin star acquiring/retaining stints as head chef at Orrery and Galvin at Windows. The hotel’s managing director Thomas Kochs was keeping an eye on the front of house team on our visit. Tom Kerridge’s eponymous restaurant at the hotel has also opened an alfresco spin-off, which is located just above The Garden on a roof terrace.
The vibe: As you’d expect from a hotel of this level, there’s no shivering over your dinner here. The well-sheltered space is more than a match for this unseasonably cold April thanks to its high-tech patio heaters (blankets are also on hand if needed). Rain isn't much of an issue either. Corinthia London has installed a brace of pricey-looking retractable canopies that keep diners dry but can be fully retracted when the Mediterranean weather (hopefully) kicks in next month.
The food: Dishes from the small plates and starters section include red prawn crudo; grilled squid with tomato, fennel and pickled shallot; and baked Romano pepper with freekeh and ricotta. Largely served in satisfyingly-hefty Staub cast iron pans, mains include lobster linguine with lemon, cherry tomato and basil; rosemary and lemon-rubbed spatchcock poussin with tomato, olive and capers; and baked gnocchi with cime di rapa, hazelnuts and Parmesan. A breakfast menu is also available, including lobster Arnold Bennett; chorizo baked eggs; and scrambled tofu with piperade, spinach and sourdough.
And another thing: Garrett says that the success of The Garden has led him and Kochs to totally rethink their approach to outdoor dining. Prior to the pandemic, the space was only used occasionally but is now likely to trade as a standalone restaurant through most of the year. The only problem? Garrett is now faced with running two restaurants from a kitchen originally designed only for one. Crack on chef!