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The Capital


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I think it depends on how you think your parents will react. Even if the service and room appealed to them, Chavot's food is fundamentally involved - sometimes 3 or 4 presentation on the same plate, a sauce here, a smear there, a powder, a foam. Perhaps they would prefer something a little more straight ahead - in which case they might enjoy somewhere like Chez Bruce. If they're adventurous though, they might find Capital fun. Also, depending on how you feel about it, it might not be a bad idea to call the chef beforehand and have a word. It's a challenge that many chefs face - educating their parents in what haute cuisine can be. Chavot might understand, and help you out.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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No foams or smears, powders, air, jelly, exploding bon-bons or anything on my recent visit. Very straight forward cuisine. As you say there are sometimes several elements on the plate but not overwhelmingly so. I would suggest, based on my last visit, that it would be a good place to go if you were unadventurous. The room is miserable IMO, small and corridor like, better than it used to be but still not a great atmosphere to eat in.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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I think its a top tip for lunch (notable also cos they also do it on Sun)

The cheapo lunch menu (I guess around thirty quid... I'd imagine prices tend to creep up a bit though) is an excellent deal which offers much better choice (about five dishes each course) than comparable prixe fixed offers in town... note however I don't think they offer the full a la carte at lunch; though probably a good thing.

I find the room intimate (Matt might say pokey) but comfortable (haven't been since they refurbed though). The food is more good * than solid ** - but NB I've never gone alc. Although bacon does tend to be a recurring theme.

I would definitely go.

J

EDIT and if you didn't want to, just piss across the road to foliage - similar mod-french, a touch safer, great execution, a touch pricier. alternately try schlepping round to laduree at harrods - they have a decent twenty-fivish quid lunch and i obviously cakes to die for (I am currently rating their pastry second best in town after sketch)

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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I think Capital is fine for lunch. I've only been there twice (once for lunch, once for dinner), and on both occasions was good. The lunch wasn't quite as good as the evening meal, but I'm not a discerning enough foodie to be able to tell you why :-). Although the room isn't big, I didn't feel that it was too small, if anything it was nice to eat somewhere that didn't feel like it had 100s of people to cater for. Service was very friendly. I didn't pay too much attention to the other diners, and so can't comment on any snobbishness of other patrons.

I'd also agree with the suggestion for Foliage. It's a better space, and the hotel bar is fun for a drink beforehand. If you can, get a table with good view of the park (there are a couple of windows that are set lower down, the tables in front of those are the best).

Both are restaurants that I would go back to. Although they don't have the suprise & wow factor of places like the fat duck, there were many items on the menu that I'd like to try on future visits.

-- Harry

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i'm sorry to hear the bad comments about the capital. i really love it and think it's a great lunch spot. the service could certainly be more relaxed but i always have a terrific time there and find it good fun. in my experience it's always been full, quite jolly and with a nice mixed crowd, from v posh hotel residents to children.

the only place i prefer (in the open-at-weekends-and-offering-a-set-lunch category) is the connaught. the food there might be more accessible plus the room's cosier.

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I am taking my parents for lunch at the Capital in March and am worried i have made a bad choice reading some of the comments. It will be their first time in a 2* and only the second time in a starred restaurant (they are dining where i work the night before). I want them to have a relaxed, friendly and tasty experience at lunch menu prices any other ideas ? or is The Capital a good idea?

Incidentally we are going for lunch on the day of the Roux Scholarship final, anyone have any plans to be there in the evening?

For Lunch, try Foliage: absolutely superb.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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For Lunch, try Foliage: absolutely superb.

The set lunch with a couple of glasses of wine used to be brilliant value. I'd heard that it had been really pared down with only a couple of choices per course and thus have not been for a while.

A lovely dining room, especially if you have a view of the park.

What is the deal now?

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For Lunch, try Foliage: absolutely superb.

The set lunch with a couple of glasses of wine used to be brilliant value. I'd heard that it had been really pared down with only a couple of choices per course and thus have not been for a while.

A lovely dining room, especially if you have a view of the park.

What is the deal now?

Same.

anyone who complains about £7 for 2 large glasses of wine (choice of 3 white / 3 red / 1 sweet) is simply insane. £3.50 for a decent glass of wine, that's as much as a weatherspoons, and here in a place of this standing?? brilliant value.

in short £32 for 3 courses, with amuse, inc 2 glasses of wine.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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For Lunch, try Foliage: absolutely superb.

The set lunch with a couple of glasses of wine used to be brilliant value. I'd heard that it had been really pared down with only a couple of choices per course and thus have not been for a while.

A lovely dining room, especially if you have a view of the park.

What is the deal now?

Same.

anyone who complains about £7 for 2 large glasses of wine (choice of 3 white / 3 red / 1 sweet) is simply insane. £3.50 for a decent glass of wine, that's as much as a weatherspoons, and here in a place of this standing?? brilliant value.

in short £32 for 3 courses, with amuse, inc 2 glasses of wine.

Sorry - I think you may vave mis-understood - I meant how many choices of courses for the food are there now. It went from about 7 per course to 3 - I was just wondering what the deal was nowdays.

Are they still trying the old VAT trick?

I'm really not insane. :wink:

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For Lunch, try Foliage: absolutely superb.

The set lunch with a couple of glasses of wine used to be brilliant value. I'd heard that it had been really pared down with only a couple of choices per course and thus have not been for a while.

A lovely dining room, especially if you have a view of the park.

What is the deal now?

Same.

anyone who complains about £7 for 2 large glasses of wine (choice of 3 white / 3 red / 1 sweet) is simply insane. £3.50 for a decent glass of wine, that's as much as a weatherspoons, and here in a place of this standing?? brilliant value.

in short £32 for 3 courses, with amuse, inc 2 glasses of wine.

Sorry - I think you may vave mis-understood - I meant how many choices of courses for the food are there now. It went from about 7 per course to 3 - I was just wondering what the deal was nowdays.

Are they still trying the old VAT trick?

I'm really not insane. :wink:

lol, I thought you'd "heard" it wasn't as good, I had figured in the voices in yoour head :laugh: just kidding.

but yes I did misunderstand you, I thought you meant the wine choices. the food is still 3 choices, and there is certainly no VAT trick in the 3 or 4 years I've been going. 7 choices per course for a prix fixe lunch doesn't like anything I've ever heard of. not in this context. are you sure you're not confusing the ala carte available at lunch time, with the set menu?

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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T the food is still 3 choices, and there is certainly no VAT trick in the 3 or 4 years I've been going.  7 choices per course for a prix fixe lunch doesn't like anything I've ever heard of.  not in this context.  are you sure you're not confusing the ala carte available at lunch time, with the set menu?

Back in 2002-3 there were a minimum of 7 choices per course (trust me - I have the menus. :wink: )

In 2003-4 they changed it to 3 or so courses, and drastically dropped the ingredients. (Foie 4 ways became Foie 1 way).

To keep things on track here is a link to the Foliage thread Foliage. (Where I've just realised this has already been discussed. :rolleyes: )

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  • 1 month later...
I am taking my parents for lunch at the Capital in March and am worried i have made a bad choice reading some of the comments. It will be their first time in a 2* and only the second time in a starred restaurant (they are dining where i work the night before). I want them to have a relaxed, friendly and tasty experience at lunch menu prices any other ideas ? or is The Capital a good idea?

Incidentally we are going for lunch on the day of the Roux Scholarship final, anyone have any plans to be there in the evening?

How was your lunch? I went yesterday, and I'll post my review in a second.

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I had lunch here yesterday with the ball and chain (Zoe). It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I have always found the food to be exceptional, and the lunch menu is a great option. As has been stated above, there are 5 choices per course, as there is no full priced a la carte available at lunch. As a man on a budget, this is great news; it means I'm never lulled into taking on the luxuries of the carte by an uninspiring two choice per course lunch. And as a hotel kitchen, it is open for service every day. I can't think of many restaurants of this level open for weekend lunch, let alone Sunday, and I can't think of many better places to be, even if Chavot has his feet up elsewhere.

The amuse was a roast potato gratin, with onions, parma ham, melted pecorino and truffle cream. The aroma of the truffles announced the arrival of this dish, and the elements worked very well. Excellent texture - rich and creamy - and I was content in the knowledge that a few spoons of the stuff would do very bad things to my insides.

I had the scallop with sauce vierge as a starter. A single plump scallop arrived on a tomato olive oil sauce, with a lemon foam on the side. A thin crouton adorned with a tiny olive tapenade quenelle sat on top. The components gelled exceptionally well. It was light, sweet and slightly spicy all at once. Zoe had the celeriac veloute with truffle tortellini. This was similar to the white onion veloute described by Matt above, which I also had the pleasure of sampling last month. Three tortellini sat on mounds of confit onion, and tiny fried shallot slices lay scattered on the bowl, before the waitress poured on the veloute. Very good again. On both starters, the combination of textures was effective; the crunch of the tiny shallots and the crouton added to the excitement of both dishes.

I took on the assiette of pork for main. This was essentially the same dish that Scott had for dinner upthread, so I was impressed that it had become available on the lower priced lunch menu. Again, 3 preparations were belly - braised, rolled and roasted, roasted and caramelised with 5 spice - and then a loin. The 5 spice preparation was by far my favourite; wonderful sticky texture and sweet yielding meat. Maitre d' Cristophe apparently shared my preference. If I went back, I'd ask for 3 pieces of this, and probably the braised belly. For crackling lovers, the rolled preparation came with a wonderfully crispy piece. The loin was the least interesting. The Granny Smith puree which accompanied was vivid green and sweet, but retained the familiar zing of the apple itself. A tiny copper pot of creamed cabbage and carrot was nicely flavoured with garlic and bacon. I think some trotter or cheek would make things a little more interesting, but I really enjoyed this dish. Zoe had breast of chicken with watercress mousse and puree, wild mushrooms and macaroni. I didn't have much of this, but she found it a little dry.

Zoe is a cheese lover, so I was excited to introduce her to Bernard Anthony's specimens for the first time. However, they weren't in great condition - the comte and other hard cheeses were sweating and the soft cheeses we tried were past their best. What a shame.

Desserts were back on form though. To have cheese instead of dessert commanded a £7.50 supplement, but this only increased to £10 if you had it as well as dessert. Zoe only wanted cheese, so I convinced her to get a second dessert for me, effectively for the bargain price of £2.50. I had apple babas with apple sorbet and calvados jelly. Very light, tangy and refreshing, with enough hit from the tiny boozy babas. Then Zoe decided she liked the look of the raspberry and rhubarb shortbread with vanilla yoghurt and ginger ice cream. And quaffed the lot. I managed to steal a spoonful though, and it was excellent. Again, light and tart; the perfect finish to our meal.

We passed on the £5 coffees, but to my delight, they still brought petit fours and a chocolate tray. Mini passion fruit tartlet and pistachio macaroons were good. The waitress could see I was struggling to choose a chocolate. So she gave me three. Awesome.

Service was charming and unobtrusive. As always, I had tap water. This was delivered with a smile, and whenever our glasses were half empty, or the ice had melted, they would be whisked away and replaced with a fresh glass. And this has happened in the past even when I wasn't drinking any wine. It's the little things that make the difference.

All in all, a great lunch. I'll be back soon.

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  • 2 months later...

Very good first lunch at the Capital. Started with excellent bloody marys in the bar, with pistachios. chilli olives, mixed nuts and cherries in alcohol. We were fans of the '20s ocean liner look of the place. Amuse was a zingy melon soup with champagne and mint, while we both had a starter of asparagus fricasee with jersey royals and a poached egg. This was tasty, but probably the weakest course. We both enjoyed spooning up the sauce at the end. The breads were really top-notch; not only was there a huge selection, but there was a great variety between them: I had tomato bread and then a really good plum and brazil nut roll, whilst Becky had paprika and cheese and then olive bread. A doggy bag of bread would make for some nice lunches...

For a main we had a millefeuille of vegetables, which was a really well thought out dish, with a series of ingredients cooked in contrasting styles: char-grilled mushroom, blanched asparagus, dressed baby carrots and herb gnocchi, set between layers of pastry made with cheese (parmesan?) and grain mustard, plus a salad. It may sound a bit much when written down, but it tasted great and was a really interesting dish. We shared a plate of cheese, the highlights of which were a fluffily light roquefort and a chaource.

For pudding I had a rum baba with olive oil and peanut ice cream - on the basis that the weirdest sounding puddings are often the best - while Becky had apple and blackberry iced yoghurt crumble. Both were very good. The rum baba was exceptionally boozy...

Service was good throughout and the only downsides were the prices of everything beyond the lunch deal (£9 for a bloody mary, £29 for one of the cheapest wines), though, as Andy Fenn, says, they are good with tap water and the prices were not unusually high for a restaurant of that type.

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  • 10 months later...
Anyone been here recently??

No, but I am going for Sunday lunch in a few weeks, were I hope to have the tasting menu (if they do it???). Will report back.

They don't normally do the tasting at lunch (although in compensation the set lunch has extensive choice). Haven't been for a while now so dunno if that's changed.

If you're keen why not ring ahead a req a tasting (dunno if thats possible... presume the mise en place/stuff in the larder will be diff Sun versus Sat nite. but worth a shot)

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Cheers for that Jon, it seems to say on their website under lunch menu, that the 'Menu degustation' is available for £48, which seems a good price. Will take your advice and phone them though, especially if it being a Sunday makes any difference.

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RDB, that also caught my eye and was the actual reason I posted but forgot to mention that point!! Look forward to hearing your report back... :wink:

I went into a French restaraunt and asked the waiter, 'Have you got frog's legs?' He said, 'Yes,' so I said, 'Well hop into the kitchen and get me a cheese sandwich.'

Tommy Cooper

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Cheers for that Jon, it seems to say on their website under lunch menu, that the 'Menu degustation' is available for £48, which seems a good price. Will take your advice and phone them though, especially if it being a Sunday makes any difference.

aha! good spot yes if that is the gig sounds well worth it. and if you're not full up remember to slip across the road to laduree for cakes later (the macarons are rip-off but the cakes are nice)

website probably needs a spring cleaning though (I'm sure Marcus Wareing would agree with me):

"The Capital Restaurant is legendary. Located in Basil Street, in the heart of Knightsbridge, it is currently the only London restaurant situated within a hotel to hold two coveted Michelin Stars."

:raz:

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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I ate here last september 06, and was quite frankly one of the the best meals ive eaten in any restaurant.

I was there for lunch and had the tasting menu with a fantastic wine selection.

The foie gras with cherries paired with a fantastic Reisling, Mmmm i can still taste it.

Sorry got carried away, i did pre enquire about the taster at lunch but they were more than happy to oblidge.

Try , Try , Try.

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I last ate at The Capital in November. Went for dinner and it was faultless. Some of the best cooking in London. The service was utterly immaculate and nicely balanced between formal and friendly. I also think it helps that the dining room is not too large so the number of covers is limited.

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  • 7 months later...

had a very good lunch here on new year's eve -- it seemed to be one of the few places open, and although this mightn't be the most propitious day and (not wishing to enter the recent debate) monsieur chavot wasn't in the kitchen, I enjoyed an excellent and pretty much faultless lunch, all for under £30 a head before drinks etc. (a fair selection by the glass albeit not cheap). a bit of a bargain for this level of cooking and a reasonable choice at each course (4 or so); degustation was also still available at £48.

amuse fairly simple and very good, a light and not unduly frothy shellfish soup/veloute sort of affair with langoustine tortellini (x1) and a very subtle touch of slightly spiced oil -- put me in mind of The Square and stood the comparison very well, a great improvement over the grilled cheese and bacon they were doing last time I was here. The starter was of similar construction (no bad thing) with some fine pasta on the foie gras tortellini; my unsibilant other pronounced the liquorice-cured salmon and soft shell crab also excellent. A strikingly presented main of monkfish, served in three neat, lightly spice crusted cylinders each with a portion of amazingly powerful, bitter-and-treacle caramelised endive, was pleasingly bold without overcomplication, and the assiette of pork has been on the menu for ages here I think, still good if rather lacking in vegetation for my tastes. Desserts were very nice but not the high point; mine was a rather unusual combination of a sweet, cold almond soup with a dark red fruit-based sorbet (forget which), and some jelly lurking in the depths -- a healthier and rather more mediterranean take on trifle? perhaps not dairy-free but conceptually could have been... would certainly make a nice change if so.

service was flawless, good wine recommendations, and I would suggest trying a champagne other than the house as this was not particularly good and there are some others offered by the glass. overall a great lunch and standards still seeming very high.

Ian

I go to bakeries, all day long.

There's a lack of sweetness in my life...

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