Taking inspiration from some of London’s key historical figures and local history; Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill is a hotel just full of stories. The Montagu, the hotel’s more casual restaurant, was built originally as the home of London socialite Elizabeth Montagu and her husband Edward, the grandson of the Earl of Sandwich. Elizabeth Montagu was the ‘Queen of the Blue Stockings’ and would host large literary evenings for the leading politicians, artists and writers of the day as well as nurturing rising intellectuals. Today the space is a gorgeous modern restaurant with a view over Portman Square, a bustling open kitchen and fantastic menu show-casing fresh produce.
With dramatic hanging chandeliers, a grand piano for live music and soaring ceilings it’s the perfect chic retreat from shopping in busy, nearby Oxford Street. The ‘Thoughtfully Sourced, Carefully Served’ menu changes frequently as the chef uses only the finest seasonal ingredients and produce that has been sourced from local British farms and fisheries. Seeing several of my favourites on the menu, I was excited to be sampling the new summer offering at The Montagu – bring on that fresh asparagus!
The menu certainly lives up to the title ‘carefully served’ as my starter was beautifully presented; a glass cloche filled with smoke was removed with a flourish.
Allowing whiskey-infused wisps of smoke to billow out, the scent whetting my appetite for my starter.
I loved everything about this dish, the silky salmon sourced from Loch Fyne on the West Coast of Scotland, cured in-house by the chefs using Laphroaig Whiskey and smoked with Applewood chips. Accompaniments of horseradish cream, capers and pickled vegetables were the perfect additions and the finished dish wasn’t overly salty.
One of my companions chose a generous portion of mussels delivered fresh from Shetland and cooked in 2013 Sharpham White Wine from Dart Valley. Even the cooking wine was locally sourced and there was plenty of it to mop up with the side of crusty sourdough bread.
There’s something so wonderful about my other companion’s dish; to me its posh, grown-up dippy eggs and soldiers a brilliantly comforting yet sophisticated dish. On the plate were perfectly grilled asparagus spears from the Wye valley, coupled with a crispy and runny hen’s egg from Rookery Farm and then topped with a light bacon and lovage dressing. I think it’s fantastic that the menu details so precisely the provenance of the ingredients and indicates the importance of working with local producers.
My main course was orange crusted English Channel monkfish with Shetland Mussels, Jersey Royals, spinach and white wine sauce. I love the slightly meaty texture of monkfish and the dish was perfectly cooked and seasoned, my only criticism was I would have liked a little bit more as it was a very small portion on the plate.
One of my dining companions also chose fish and she very much enjoyed the pan-fried Atlantic hake and particularly loved the fregolla and chorizo risotto which added extra flavour and spice to the dish.
My other dining companion clearly feels the same as me about asparagus, as her main course also included the vegetable sourced from the Wye Valley. Her pan-seared chicken breast was succulent and came with a creamy swede purée and pearl onion jus.
Side dishes of vibrant greens made the perfect accompaniments.
They take desserts pretty seriously at The Montagu too…the chocolate melting pudding has become a trend in London but there’s a twist on this one.
Green & Blacks Organic White chocolate is drizzled over the ball…
And inside is more chocolate! What I particularly like about this version was the added tart flavour of the raspberries.
I didn’t expect to enjoy our other dessert as much as I did. A pistachio and olive oil cake made with The London Honey Company’s Bell Heather Comb, like all the ingredients on the menu, the honey is sourced locally and directly from the trees, parks and gardens in London. I loved the cool creamy topping and the delicious sweet figs resting on top of the cake.
After our lunch I popped in to take a look at The Churchill Bar and Terrace which was designed with Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine in mind. Memorabilia has been donated by Churchill’s family and photography and artwork commemorates his life and love of travel and the shelves are lined with books, hand-picked to reflect Churchill and Clementine’s interests, which are available for the guests to read.
The cocktail list is unique and there is a story behind each drink and many feature the bar’s bespoke London gin including the signature Churchill Martini.
There’s a plush modern interior and outside there’s a terrace, currently themed on Churchill’s love of Marrakesh, with exotic cocktails to fit the surroundings.
I very much enjoyed my lunch at The Montagu and the sense of history at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, I think I’ll have to return to try their afternoon tea inspired by Churchill and Clementine’s beloved rose garden.
PIN FOR LATER:
Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill
30 Portman Square
020 7299 2037
I dined as a guest of The Montagu