Review on Hélène Darroze at The Connaught
Following a major refit that began way back in March 2007, The Connaught is now back in business with refurbished bedrooms, a new conservatory and a new kitchen. It also has a new queen of the stoves. Following the departure of Angela Hartnett to pastures new, charismatic Hélène Darroze breezed into town from Paris, where she holds two Michelin stars on the city's Left Bank.
Appropriately, her self-named venture opened its doors on Bastille Day (14 July) and great things are anticipated. The setting for her exquisite gastronomic wizardry is an equally exquisite dining room designed by ace Parisian stylist India Mahdavi: here the original walnut panelling is cleverly offset by soft neutral colours and trappings.
Darroze takes inspiration and ingredients from her native Landes for a menu that is as refined as they come. The classic Landaise 'poulet jaune' appears with consommé 'Retour d'Hanoi', baby squid and Thai basil, while the region's famous duck foie gras appears as a duo with mild spices, sweet Bigarreau cherries and Muscat grapes. Signature dishes such as caviar d'Aquitaine with Gillardeau oyster tartare and a velouté of haricots mais rub shoulder with new inventions including roast rack of wild Irish salmon with Puy lentils and an emulsion of smoked bacon.
Desserts are pure decadent indulgence in the form of say '100% Chocolate' (Venezuelan Carupano cream flavoured with lavender praline, bitter chocolate sorbet and hot chocolate sauce) or seasonal red fruits set in hibiscus jelly with coconut ice cream, marshmallow and crispy blackcurrant cannelloni. The wine list is a majestic Gallic tome, with special leanings towards the south-west.
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught is also featured in: Michelin Guide, Good Food Guide, AA GuideRate this Restaurant
Restaurant Opening Times
Lunch: 12.00 - 2.30pm Tue-Fri (11.00am - 3.00pm Sat Brunch)
Dinner: 6.30 - 10.30pm Tue-Sat
Accepted credit cards
Visa, Master Card, American Express