I couldn’t call myself a great frequenter to casinos. I don’t gamble, lacking the skill and the discipline, and my visits have been limited to a family trip to Vegas and a 4am visit to the London Hippodrome which I ran into to use the toilet once. However, nothing lures me faster than the promise of a good meal and so when I was invited down to try the restaurant at The Colony Club Casino, Mayfair, I stilleto’d up and trotted on down
I expected luxury but not necessarily excellence. The menu described itself as serving ‘international cuisine’ which always sets alarm bells ringing with me- how can flair be developed in a menu spanning European, Oriental, Eastern & Asian – including a teriyaki bar?! Pick one and be done with it. However, I’ll admit it – I’ll bend the rules slightly for this place. Being in a casino means that the restaurant must cater to the varied tastes of its varied customers….24 hours a day. If you’re spending £10k on a hand of poker, you expect the best when you break to eat and sometimes you won’t just fancy French cuisine. Despite the breadth of the menu, the restaurant manager told us that the kitchen frequently get off menu orders which they always oblige. This restaurant has different customers with different expectations than others…okay, I get it. Just this once.
The site is elegant – the dining room is modern and bright, with a teriyaki bar off to the side. The service stands out – as per my above point on expectations, the staff couldn’t bend over backwards more to make your experience a good one. Service is silver, with wine decanted at the table and sauces drizzled for you.
What about the food? First up, a starter to make Epicurus faint of seared duck foie gras with truffle, fig, date and gingerbread. Heart stopping. I’m not sure it needed the truffle jus at all, but the duck liver was cooked perfect and did that naughty melting thing you look for in foie gras. I enjoyed more the other starter of smoked tuna tartar with avocado and puffed rice stacked on top. The tuna was fatty and cool and the puffed rice added a pleasing texture.
Mains came with a hearty fillet of beef with bone marrow jus. I ordered this dish because of the jus (I love bone marrow) and wasn’t disappointed – deep, beefy and rich. The beef was cooked properly (rare) and they’d tried to jazz up the sides of baby vegetables by smoking them – it didn’t add much but at least they’d made the effort.
We headed East with our next main and ordered a sushi platter. This arrived with a wow, atop of a glass ball spurting dry ice smoke like some sort of Blumenthal-esque volcano.
Desserts were mostly Western – panna cotta, lemon tarts – except for baklava which I zeroed in on and promptly demolished.
I was pleasantly surprised by The Colony Club restaurant. I was expecting mediocrity geared towards captive, soused casino guests but had missed the threshold set by these very folk. I was expecting luxury and sure, there was that, but there was also real skill and care applied to this food. The service is totally excellent and the whole place has an exclusive vibe, like restaurants at members clubs do. I'd return, certainly, perhaps if entertaining a party I wanted to impress.
24 Hertford St, London W1J 7SA
020 7495 5000