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MaLO

Alyn Williams

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Dined here last week. It was very good.

We took the excellent value tasting menu, adding an extra course and substituting one tasting menu plate for langoustine from the alc.

Highlights for me were the Devon beef and the truffle / egg / celeriac.

Service was excellent. The booze was decent value too.

I will add more soon.


Martin

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Looking forward to your review.

This place was added to my must visit list a couple of months ago, but we never got around to it.

Given the location (The Westbury, Bond St) the pricing is very user friendly. Bet the price goes up once more people realise he is Marcus Wareing's ex head chef.

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Had good dinner there just after opening, alyn offered to cook for us so seemed churlish to refuse, some very good and intricate cooking. I'm sure you'd like it david.


you don't win friends with salad

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I went to Alyn Williams a couple of weeks after opening.

Lovely room, very reminiscent of the Berkeley actually. Absolutely stunning service - they let us sub in any ALC dishes (including a langoustine starter) or any vegetarian tasting menu dishes into the main tasting menu.

At the moment they are running what I can only assume is introductory prices, £55 for a 7-course+ tasting menu must be the best value fayn dayning in London at the moment.

I was consciously not taking notes but some excellent dishes: crab, ox cheek with a cold onion consomme in a martini glass, then my girlfriend had a langoustine and apple dish while I had scallops with celeriac, oyster and caviar. Then dorset snails.

A red mullet with malt and vegetables was ever so slightly undercooked but would have been the standout dish otherwise. Then the classic rib of beef sous-vided to perfection.

We got an extra vegetarian gnocci dish, which was stunning and actually the highlight.

Very generous cheese plate, brilliant pre-dessert of granite and custard and a seventh course I've forgotten.

Overall it was a superb experience, one of those head: 9/10 heart 7/10 ones. Service flawless apart from mild upselling on the wine.

The cooking is also very-nearly-almost flawless and at the price point is basically ridiculous value.

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Last Friday night we were wondering what we should do with the weekend, on the spur of the moment, we decided a trip to London was in order. So we booked a hotel, had a quick trawl of where we would like to go to eat, we settled on Alyn Williams, made reservations got packed, had a kip, then hit the road early.

It was a nice day in London last Saturday. We did a bit of shopping, had lunch (more of this another time) some drinks, the usual stuff, killing time before we could go and eat.

Mooching about done, we arrived a little early. The hotel is quite nice. Door man greeting guests and a couple of staff in the lobby directing people to bars, parties and restaurants.

The restaurant is newly opened and renovated and by the look of it at some expense. It is quite a large space, comfortable. It’s a nice place to spend a few hours.

Seated and greeted, the menus arrived. There is an alc at £45. A tasting at £55 and vegetarian tasting also at £55. Add a wine pairing and it works out at £115.

So we took the tasting menu. It was explained that we could more or less swap and add items as we saw fit. So we did. We added an extra course from the vegetarian menu and swapped a cod dish for a langoustine plate.

First of the food to arrive was a little smoked haddock and spinach pasty. It may not have been called a pasty at the time, I cant remember, but that is what it was. It was good. With this came a dish of Fourme d'Ambert gougeres. These were very delicious.

First course was French onion consommé / Crab / Gruyere / Potato wafer. Served in a cocktail glass the crab was topped with fine sliced beef cheek (I think) with the consommé added at the table. The potato wafers with came separately. It was perhaps a bit tiny but was very enjoyable. I really like crab and would have happily eaten double or more.

French onion consomme, Crab, Gruyere, Potato wafer.jpg

Next course was Orkney /Mersea / Aquitaine. In a glass bowl came oyster, there was a lightly seared, sliced scallop the scallop was topped with a little caviar. It being so expensive the caviar was not plentiful. There was enough to add its flavour, but not enough to be as luxurious as it might have been. It was a nice little concoction none the less.

Orkney, Mersea, Aquitaine.jpg

Smoked egg / Celeriac / Apple / Truffle soldiers came next. This was an additional course taken from the vegetarian menu. This was really very good. Good flavours, looked nice on the plate, ate very well.

Smoked egg, truffle, celeriac.jpg

Foie Gras semi fredo / Lime /Frozen yoghurt / Liquorice was also good. The citrusy sourness of the yoghurt offset the cool, rich liver. There was also some gooseberry to add another sweet sour note.

Foie gras semi fredo.jpg

The next course on the menu was Cod / Seaweed butter / Beach vegetables / Cockles. We subbed this for Langoustines / Morcilla / Cider apple / Chestnut. A pair of langoustines came with a slash of morcilla and a couple of fried breaded morcilla nuggets. I like black pudding and I like langoustines. I think I enjoyed this more than I would have liked the cod. I am not that keen on seaweed, samphire etc so it was a good choice.

Langoustines and morcilla.jpg

The final savoury course was a choice between Cotswold white chicken / Girolles / Smoked egg / Charred leek or Devon red beef sirloin / Red wine / Turnip / Oxtail Croutons. We both went for the beef. Another good choice. Nicely rare meat. A well flavoured sauce. Oxtail adding an extra beefy hit and a little vegetable garnish. Quite simple, but done well and very tasty.

Devon red beef sirloin, oxtail croutons.jpg

We did contemplate cheese but on this occasion passed. It did look like a decent selection though. It was quite amusing watching the staff trying to heave the chariot across the deep carpet. A keep fit cheese trolley!

First dessert was Crème Catalan / Pear granite / Pine sugar. Another quite simple preparation. Another empty dish.

Creme Catalan, Pear granita, Pine sugar.JPG

The final course was Chocolate mousse / Caramel / Peanut butter. The chocolate part was something like a Twix, only better. Peanut butter ice cream went down nicely too.

Chocolate mousse, Caramel, Peanut butter.jpg

I enjoyed it. The food was good. Service was very good. The booze was quite reasonably priced. The front page of the list was called something like “this month’s highlights” and had options from £20 a bottle. We didn’t have coffee as we had wine to polish off but we were given a box of nice chocolates to take with us. The prices are very reasonable for the quality of the food. There are restaurants nearby charging twice as much so I presume the prices will eventually increase. The restaurant was busy; I only noticed one empty table. Not bad business for the middle of January.


Martin

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We ate here last night.

All in all, a cracking meal and well worth the recommendations on this site. We both had the tasting menu (Jo substituting-in the "veggie" option of smoked egg with truffled soldiers, in place of the for-her-uneatable oysters. We accompanied this with a bottle of Lynch-Bages Blanc (with was an 'upsell' of £10 over the stated budget but one which was instantly forgiven because it was so clearly driven by enthusiasm for the recently purchased packet of wine, rather than any mercenary angle). Besdies, the sommelier had already scored marks by politely asking the kind of budget we had in mind (why don't more places do this, instead of all that dance-round-your-handbags hints and nudges nonsense?). Indeed we enjoyed our meal all the more because of the consistently good service from all the staff which was attentive but relaxed, pitched right to be 'proper' and personable without getting either over friendly or too stuffy.

Since MaLO has already described the menu in detail (with requisite food-porn pics!) I won't go over the same ground, except to report (and I'm sorry to do this to you MaLO...) that, for me, it was the cod that was the outstanding dish of the night: poached in a seaweed butter, with sea-purslane and other seashore foraged-y type things then finished with truffle matchsticks. Unctious fish and buttery sauce which still retained the tang of the seaweed and the bitter hint of the herbs. The only fault was that I had to ask for the spoon to slurp it all up, rather than this need being anticipated! For Jo the standout dish was the "Twix and Snickers ice cream" described by MaLO. I watched her eat it and resolved to have words with the Pastry Chef: no other man should be able to do that to my girlfriend!

Before we go completely over the top, this wasn't perfection. The mains (chicken with leek puree (me) and sirloin tagliata (Jo)) seemed a little underwhelming - these were dishes that should be comfort food, but served in a tasting menu that doesn't permit portions large enough to deliver that promise; they were a little too correct, a little too insipid. Similarly, one or two dishes (the scallop, the fois gras perhaps) were either too small or too 'frou frou' to really get going on all the many flavour elements they promised. I think the next time I go I shall choose a la carte and see if the larger portions per course enable the flavour to move up a gear in terms of sustained intensity.

But I don't want to cavil. This was very accomplished cooking and a really, really enjoyable evening. And it represents the kind of value London hasn't seen for quite a while!

Several of the staff asked where we heard about the restaurant. I got the impression it's been quieter than they would like since it opened. A shame; we had a quick tour of the kitchens and said hello - and "thank you" - to Alyn Williams, who was just as nice and caring about us having had a good time as his staff had been. Here's somewhere - and someone - who deserves to succeed; we'll be back soon.

Gareth

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Had dinner last week at the Westbury.Lovely meal and got to meet Alyn also...nice guy. Current tasting menu priced at £55...best value tasting menu in London right now.Well selected wines on the wine flight as well but resisted the £35k bottle of DP 1996 Rose....Ohhhh dear. :shock:

Amuse Bouche

Cauliflower Pannacotta , Acorn , Cream cheese wafers.

Smoked Egg , Perigord Truffle soldiers.

French Onion Consomme , Crab , Lyonaisse.

Lobster , Fennel custard skin , Eel.

Foie Gras semi fredo , Liquorice , Lime , Frozen yoghurt.

Foie Gras semi fredo , Liquorice , Sand Carrot.

Beef Tartare , Catalonia , Gribiche.

Snails , Soil , Pickled Onion , Scarlet Elf cap.

Chicken wings , Perigord Truffle , Lemon , Ramsons.

Grilled Plaice , Ink , Cuttlefish , Ricotta , Puntarella , Mojamo , Lardo.

Cod cheeks , Snouts , Tongue , Beach vegetables , Cockles.

Venison , Acorn , Cima di rape , Rosehip vinegar , Mandarin.

Pear creme catalana , Pear , Pine.

Cows curd cheesecake , Passion fruit , Honey , Flapjack.

Blood Orange , Crystal Malt ice cream , Dried Milk , Toasted white

Chocolate.

Chocolate mousse , Caramel , Peanut butter.

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CumbriafoodieCumbriafoodie

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Absolutely David...£55 for the tasting and £45 alc....Erm...maybe he got a little carried away though...and i think i broke his record for the most courses.Certainly wasn`t complaining though,the guy is a superhero....i would have carried on if he hadnt stopped. I shall return.


CumbriafoodieCumbriafoodie

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Looking good Alan, your catching me up with those piccies :wink::smile:

Value for money? Surely he can't do all of that food for £55?

He might make up for it by selling, e.g., Barbera Gallina La Spinetta 2007, a wine that retails at about £30 in the UK, at £145.

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Looking good Alan, your catching me up with those piccies :wink::smile:

Value for money? Surely he can't do all of that food for £55?

He might make up for it by selling, e.g., Barbera Gallina La Spinetta 2007, a wine that retails at about £30 in the UK, at £145.

So I went for lunch today. To be fair, the rest of the list is not as extortionate as La Spinetta.

I really don't know what to think of this place. I confess I struggle to associate the room, the atmosphere and the food with the gaiety that transpires from previous comments.

Yet I ask myself: did I like everything? And the answer is yes. Not one poor dish (and by poor I mean Michelin-star standard poor). Was anything banal? You're joking.

And were we well-treated? Extremely.

What was memorable? Honestly, only the nibbles, notably the gougeres with Fourme d'Ambert (with a quite incredible, airy yet substantial texture, and strong flavour), and the bread. All the rest was clever, ingenious and very cleanly presented, the desserts especially (a 'walnut whip' and a Lapsang infused banana) showed exquisite technique, but for me most flavours were simply too polite. Even the temperatures were too timid (we asked regarding a langoustine in its bisque, and that's the way AW likes it). Admirable, yes; memorable, no.

Only negative of the service (clearly overstaffed) was a young and clueless waitress who, when asked about the cooking of a venison, spent about ten seconds muttering 'the venison...the venison...let me think...' and then struck by a sudden inspiration came out with: 'I think it's finished sous vide'. Now that's an idea.

I declined the kind offer of a kitchen tour for no other reason that I see less and less meaning in these routines (though Woman has a closer interest in inspecting the kitchen equipment).

There were several empty tables and only about 12-14 customers, suggesting, in view of the relatively low prices, that something is not going quite as it should.

We feel we should return to try other appealing dishes (the menu is a pleasure to read), and also to get to the bottom of why such well-crafted dishes failed to elicit screams of pleasure from us. Sometimes it happens that one only 'gets' it the second time, especially when the cooking is as subtle as this.

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I read that Eric Chavot is to re emerge at the Westbury. Presumably not in place of Alyn Williams.

I had a very nice bit of lunch once in the Capital hotel when Eric Chavot was chef.

I suppose that it may be a bit like a Bistro Bruno type place - although I have no real idea. Anyone else heard anything?


Martin

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I read that Eric Chavot is to re emerge at the Westbury. Presumably not in place of Alyn Williams.

I had a very nice bit of lunch once in the Capital hotel when Eric Chavot was chef.

I suppose that it may be a bit like a Bistro Bruno type place - although I have no real idea. Anyone else heard anything?

By strange coincidence we dined here today and spoke to Alyn Williams after our meal.

Had I have been asked the question before, I would have asked for some clarification.

I for one would like to eat Chavot's food again. He is an excellent chef. Did he not state that he was not interested in cooking Michelin style food again?

IMG_2898.JPG

.

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I will be interested in the review (and pics!) David. At £60 the tastng menu always sounds good value for money and reads well. It is one of the few places where the food on the tasting menu is not more than the matching flights of wine.

Andrew

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