Located in London’s prestigious area of Knightsbridge is The Lanesborough, a five-star luxury hotel by the Oetker Collection. The building exudes the grandeur of the regency period and has undergone many changes since it was built in 1719. It wasn’t until 30th December 1991 that The Lanesborough hotel opened its doors and since then it has welcomed an array of distinguished individuals and celebrities which has contributed to the hotel’s renowned reputation. The hotel is also known as a premier food and drink destination, therefore a visit to their Michelin starred restaurant Céleste has been on my list. After an unexpected closure due to Covid restrictions, Céleste again opened its doors on the 17th September and luckily for me I was in London on that very date.
From the moment you walk through The Lanesborough’s doors you experience the hospitality that this hotel is renowned for. You are greeted with numerous friendly staff who immediately making you feel so welcome as they guide you through the hotel. Walking past the magnificent Belgravia Room and along its grand hallways adorned with antique furniture and fresh flowers, you arrive at the entrance to the beautiful Celeste restaurant.
As you enter the restaurant you instantly realise why it is such a popular dining destination. Its interior is simply breathtaking and immediately reminds me of the grandeur of Paris. The expansive room is embellished in calming hues of blue and white, the dark furniture providing a perfect contrast. Elegant pillars line the restaurant leading your eye up to its staggering domed glass roof where elaborate chandeliers hang above the guests casting their shimmering light below.
Head Chef Darcio Henriques has created a fantastic and varied menu which honours British heritage whilst incorporating a modern European twist. I opted to dine from Menu de Jour (Menu of the day) a set 3-course menu priced at an amazingly reasonable £42.00 per person. A wine pairing can also be added to the meal for a supplement of £40.00 per person. I was a tad dubious to try the Menu de Jour as my previous experience in other restaurants have left me rather hungry after I have dined, however I was pleasantly surprised.
After an uplifting glass of Rose Moet, whilst listening to the tranquil notes from the live piano, it was time for the starter. For the first course, I decided on a fresh Baby Beetroot Salad. The dish was beautifully presented in a crescent manner, delicately garnished with a delicious scattering of creamy goat’s cheese and perfectly cooked quail eggs. The beetroot was thinly sliced and was sweet and crunchy, this sweetness was counteracted with the herbaceous flavours of the lovage pesto. The starter was superbly balanced with flavour and this along with its array of textures and vibrant colours made it the perfect light dish, to begin with.
I opted for fish for my main course and chose the Pan-fried Stone Bass which I have never tried before. The main was of a substantial size which again was a pleasant surprise for a Michelin starred restaurant. The fish was satisfyingly flaky with a delicate taste and a crispy skin. Accompanying it was a smooth cauliflower puree, which combined with a selection of mushrooms added an almost nutty, earthy sweetness. The whole dish lay on a delectable swirl of fish jus which provided additional depth and rich flavour, it was safe to say that I finished every last morsel.
I first tried an Almond Pave whilst visiting France and its one of my favourite desserts due to its delicate texture and flavour, so of course, I had to try Celeste’s version of it. In true Celeste fashion, it came out like a little work of art, so much so that I didn’t want to ruin it with my fork, but I couldn’t let it go to waste, could I? The strip of Almond Pave was strewn with the warm colours of apricot and orange which not only brightens up the dish but added a flavour injection which completely complemented the cake. The sliced preserved apricots provided chewy honey-like texture and along with the fresh citrusy slant of the juicy orange pieces, it was just so fresh and uplifting. The small addition of thyme helped to bring out the undertones and sweetness of the dish and balance all of the flavours.
I was extremely impressed with my first visit to Celeste and was very satisfied with the Menu de Jour. The dishes were varied, plentiful and full of flavour which for the price I was pleasantly surprised. Throughout my whole meal, the service from the staff was second to none, from the attentive waiting staff to the friendly Head Sommelier Paul and restaurant manager Thomas who ran the first reopening night with ease and professionalism. From the surroundings, the ambience, the staff and food it is no wonder that Céleste is a highly regarded fine dining experience.
*Please note that this visit took place before recent 10pm hospitality restrictions. Please visit their website for any updated changes.