A stone’s throw from the designer juggernauts on Old Bond Street is Charlie’s in the grand Brown’s Hotel, one of the jewels of the Rocco Forte empire. A retreat for royalty and presidents since 1837, we had a delightful dinner in Charlie’s, named after Lord Charles Forte.
Arriving at Charlie’s immediately cleansed away the hectic life of London. We are welcomed so warmly by a real legend of the Mayfair and London dining scene – Jesus Adorno. Jesus joined as Director of Hospitality in September and brings utter joy to the dining room as well as one of the best black books in the business.
We popped into the glamorous Donovan Bar before dinner, a wood-panelled room decorated with celebrity photographs. Two celebrity-inspired cocktails completed the scene and the hospitality of Maurizio Palermo made a great start to the evening. Expertly crafted cocktails we sampled included a Vesper martini and Cosmopolitan, classics done very well. We also LOVE the bar snacks in the bar – massive chunks of mature parmesan cheese and olives.
Charlie’s exudes sophistication. The wallpaper frescoes, purposefully worn fabric on the seating and exotic bone china (try not taking a photo of the bottom of a plate!) gave an antique, homely feeling to the room. Table 16 is great as we we were in a semi-circular booth with a view of the whole restaurant allowed us to preview which dishes we might like to try.
A quintessential British menu is on offer, developed by chef Adam Byatt who is at the forefront of the innovative British cooking scene and there are Italian, French and Spanish influences too. A veteran of the kitchens at Claridge’s, The Berkeley and The Square, he also has his own successful London restaurants.
A shiny silver trolley whizzed past making its rounds, where the team were filleting and slicing today’s trolley dish of the day. This is such a nice addition to a restaurant’s service and reminded me of fine dining restaurants on a transatlantic cruise.
Our starters looked like little works of art on the plate. A generous quenelle of Cornish crab salad was rich and refreshing, served with some remoulade. The seared tuna salad bowl had some Asian touches to it with a delicate white miso dressing.
For our main courses, a grilled Dover sole was fresh, fragrant, and so full of flavour, filleted expertly. The highlight was a Beef Wellington from the trolley. Sliced tableside, the fillet was cooked a happy medium with a delicate mushroom spiked pastry adding so many textures and flavours. The freshness of the ingredients was evident throughout the entire dinner even down to the lemon I squeezed over my fish. Our attentive Scottish sommelier ensured that we had awesome wine pairings with all our dishes.
We rounded off our experience with the creamiest crème brulée and a plum fool which was accompanied by the sweetest crunchiest shortbread. Salted shards of dark chocolate brought our evening to a close. This is the kind of place you want to linger in the whole afternoon into the evening, surrounded by the changing offering from silver trolleys and Jesus Adorno’s utterly charming silver service.
To discover more, visit roccofortehotels.com
Imagery courtesy of Rocco Forte Hotels.
View this post on Instagram