| Everyday London Life

The Art of Hospitality: Evoluzione at the Hotel Xenia

In my first year of university studying English literature, I was fortunate enough to read the ancient epic poetry of Homer; while I’m proud to say I read these lengthy tomes, I can certainly say it wasn’t easy.
But I took away two important lessons:
1. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.
2. The importance of hospitality; that is showing the reciprocal kindness and respect between a guest and a host. In ancient Greek, this tradition is know as Xenia.
And it was this second lesson I had in mind as Mr Silver and I made our Odyssey all the way from SW1 to SW5 to the Hotel Xenia. Our lunch today was at the hotel’s restaurant, Evoluzione, and we prepared ourselves for some great hospitality as we walked into the hotel’s stylish lobby.

Plush and modern I instantly liked the hotel, and Mr S and I made a mental note to recommend it to our friends coming in from out of town. It’s close to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park as well as the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the shopping in Knightsbridge.
Guests were enjoying a comfortable lounge bar and the gentle tones of a perspex player piano.

We turned from the lounge into Evoluzione…

The restaurant was located in a conservatory attached to the side of the hotel…


As you can see…it was totally empty with a rather less than exciting view of the road. Still the tinkling piano sounds coming through from the neighbouring room meant that the restaurant wasn’t completely lacking in atmosphere.

We sat at our table and just like the ancient Greeks prepared for our Bacchic feast. Only this feast began with a glass of Prosecco!

Ok, Greek metaphors aside, the chef is actually Michelin star winning Italian chef Andrea Angeletti who combines a respect for traditional Italian cuisine, with fresh produce and a creative flair.

We chose a selection of small plates to share for our lunch.

Fairly standard brown and white bread were presented to us but a chorus sang when we dipped the bread in speciality olive oil by Cutera. It was so fruity and delicious…and bread is my Achilles heel… I had to reach for more.
Speaking of which, we started with a trio of mixed bruschetta:




By now I don’t think I need to tell you how much I like stuff served on bread and selection, that included aubergine, smoked salmon and chicken, was lovely.

A well seasoned beef carpaccio came next.

Dumplings with rabbit ragu wasn’t exactly photogenic but it was our favourite dish and certainly fit for a hungry Greek hero!

Passatelli with tomato and basil was a rather unusual dish and not one I’d tried before, if you’ve not heard of it’s basically pasta made out breadcrumbs, eggs and parmesan. Well, as I’m fan of all of those three things, the combo was bound to be good and I’m always keen to try something different.

Everything on the Evoluzione menu is pretty healthy and light and these salads were no exception:

Mozzarella and tomato and chicken salad. Two very simple dishes but both beautifully prepared and well dressed.

A parmiagana was a little more indulgent but the small portion size meant it wasn’t too filling.


And we ended on a veal salad with tuna sauce, a slightly bigger dish as the small plates hadn’t quite filled up Mr S.

Desserts were like a siren’s trying to seduce us with their delicious song but we resisted and just stuck to a coffee in the upstairs lounge.

The staff at Evoluzione certainly lived up to the Greek tradition of hospitality, the food was very tasty, but unfortunately the atmosphere of the restaurant let it down. I think Evoluzione really does have great potential but it needs an injection of pizzazz. Perhaps they should host a baccanal to liven things up a bit 😉

Evoluzione at the Hotel Xenia
160 Cromwell Road
020 7442 4242
Thank you to Zomato for providing us with a voucher in order to review the restaurant
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