Two michelin-starred chef, Nathan Outlaw, has recently very recently, only two weeks ago in fact – opened an eponymous restaurant in the Capital Hotel, tucked behind the big, shiny lights of Harrods.
2 MICHELIN STARRED chef, Nathan Outlaw, has recently — very recently, only two weeks ago in fact — opened an eponymous restaurant in the Capital Hotel, tucked behind the big, shiny lights of Harrods.
Expectations were high, given the pedigree of the chef whose name flies on the flag outside the hotel. Despite putting his name to the restaurant, Outlaw is not the primary chef here, rather he’s coming up once a week to consult with the kitchen team at the Capital. Understandable given that London to Cornwall is not a manageable commute unless you’re superman.Or you own a helicopter.
Sat next to us this week was a party of eight, which included Rick Stein and Brian Turner. Stein has written the introduction to Outlaw’s cookery book, piles of which can be found in the reception, their bright blue jackets adding a splash of vivid colour.
They all seemed to be having a wonderful evening, champagne flowing, cameras out and repeated visits to the kitchen observed through a letterbox window which allows the chefs to peer out and the punters to press their faces eagerly against the glass.
As you’d expect the menu is predominately seafood, though my vegetarian friend had the black pudding starter. She’s a very strict vegetarian. The black pudding was very good: soft, flavoursome and beautifully rich. Served with hazelnut and apple, it could have done with a little splash of greenery from a presentation perspective.
I had the scampi, which isn’t as you’d expect scampi-in-a-basket-style scampi but rather the langoustine split down the middle, cooked simply with a roasted garlic mayo and grilled lime – good, but it could have done with just a little more kick.
Mains roll in at the pricey end, averaging out at around £30. The warm shellfish platter suffered a little from varying temperatures of shellfish and the dressing was almost entirely lost in the seaweed base, though the individual components were all well cooked.
The signature monkfish and duck with barbecue sauce failed to excite unfortunately, though the potato and anchovy gratin was a beautiful little thing – golden brown with a lovely sheen.
The puddings were a good end to the meal. We chose a deep, ginger-bready treacle tart (it tasted like Christmas) served simply with clotted cream and a chocolate mousse with pear puree and good old-fashioned tooth destroying honeycomb. Both delicious and very – probably too – easy to scoff.
Overall, there are a few things that need to be ironed out in the kitchen as the food does not currently live up to the two Michelin star expectation that Nathan Outlaw’s name conjures up.
This is not to say the meal was not enjoyable. It was and the staff were lovely. It’s just not up there yet. I’d be intrigued to go back in a few months once the kitchen has found its rhythm to see if Outlaw can make this outpost a success.
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