What: A glitzy French Mediterranean restaurant within the recently opened The Londoner Hotel on Leicester Square. Named after the street to the west of the tourist-packed West End square, Whitcomb’s offers a luxurious menu that mixes small plates with a selection of more substantial dishes. It’s one of no less than six separate F&B concepts at the 350-bedroom property, which is being billed as the world’s first ‘super boutique hotel’.
Who: The Londoner Hotel’s flagship restaurant is being overseen by chef Shailesh Deshmukh, who was most recently at The Leela Palaces Mumbai. The wine list, meanwhile, has been penned by sommelier twins Augusto and Alberto Gherardi. The Londoner is part of Edwardian Hotels London, which also operates The May Fair Hotel and the Radisson Blu Edwardian brand. F&B at the £300m project is being headed by former Nobu events and private dining manager Amir Jati.
The vibe: The space has a smart, international feel with a large grey marble plinth in the middle of the space piled high with seasonal produce and a ‘whimsical’ ceiling-mounted metal sculpture by artist Shida Salehi. The design at Whitcomb’s has been overseen by the North America-based Yabu Pushelberg (as has the rest of the hotel).
The food: ‘Petites assiettes’ include tuna tartare with confit egg yolk and Oscietra caviar; baked snails, white wine, garlic and n’duja lemon butter; and burrata with Seville orange, coriander seeds and mānuka honey. Prices for this first section of the menu average out at £16 for non-vegetarian dishes but dishes are on the petit side. For unclear reasons, mains are split into two sections: a small line-up of pasta and risotto dishes followed by a more comprehensive selection of ‘plats de signature’. The latter includes the likes of fillet of turbot with roasted garlic, dried chilli and white wine emulsion (£42); and herb-crusted French-trimmed lamb cutlets (£30). Mains are served without any accompaniments, with guests encouraged to select from a small number of sides including steamed kale with chilli salt and lemon (£6); and deep-fried potato galette (£5).
To drink: As you’d expect, Augusto and Alberto’s wine list skews heavily toward France. The press release highlights a £40 bottle of rather humble Muscadet Sèvre et Maine as one of the pair’s more accessible selections, which gives some clue as to the content and pricing policy elsewhere on the list. Cocktails, meanwhile, come with suggested food matches. For example the Arrivée (Lillet Blanc, Noilly Prat, elderflower and white melon cordial and orange bitters topped with prosecco) is best paired with the burrata dish.
And another thing: Other F&B options include rooftop izakaya lounge 8 at The Londoner; and ‘neighbourhood-style’ pub and gin bar Joshua’s Tavern, which is inspired by 18th century painter and one-time Leicester Square resident Joshua Reynolds.