Goring Hotel and the Almeida


Two long-established London restaurants have hired outstanding new head chefs. The venerable Goring Hotel lies just around the corner from Buckingham Palace and has been owned by the same family for more than a century. At the helm of the kitchen is Shay Cooper, who has hot-footed it over the Thames from the more modish Bingham hotel in Richmond, where he won a Michelin star.

Despite the refined, traditional surroundings he hasn’t been distracted from his brief of serving Great British ingredients in a contemporary style. My eggs Drumkilbo starter – a Goring classic – is now a daintier combination of egg, salmon and crisp vegetables with the addition of tomato, consommé jelly and caviar. Another salad – a moreish combination of cauliflower and onion with a Montgomery’s cheddar custard – arrived as a between-courses freebie and was also delicious.

Cooper’s light touch continued with a succulent piece of roast Cornish cod wrapped in Ibérico ham and served with asparagus, pea shoots, broad beans and cockles, which allowed room for a dessert of lemon and yuzu curd with toasted meringue and pink grapefruit sorbet – quite possibly the best pudding I’ve eaten so far this year.

Another new arrival, Tommy Boland, is making a big impression at the Almeida restaurant opposite the eponymous theatre in Islington, north London – a firm favourite with liberal luvvies and theatrical types. Boland’s youthful looks belie years of experience in some of the best kitchens in London and Paris.

There’s a lightness to his menu, which is so fresh and seasonal you can almost smell the earth and sea if you shut your eyes. Eye-popping green was the strong colour that dominated during an amuse-bouche of pea velouté and a plate of English asparagus with scallops and courgette ribbons.

A richer, sweeter main course of duck, apricot chutney, baby turnips and duck liver crumble followed before a mouth-watering dessert of macaron- style meringue, which was split and sandwiched with a mango cream and passionfruit sauce.


Helena Lang is editor of Sainsbury’s magazine. Email Helena by clicking here

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About author

Helena Lang

Helena Lang

Helena has been the restaurant columnist for Director magazine since June 2012 and is a Food and Beverage consultant. In addition she is Editor-in-chief of Sainsbury’s magazine, the most widely read glossy monthly paid-for magazine on the British newsstand. Always a lifestyle journalist Helena has worked within the fashion and features departments of some of the UK’s top lifestyle titles including Cosmopolitan, Red and Psychologies magazines.

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