Most of you will know that my blog is a hobby. I love experimenting in the kitchen and trying new things and then sharing those discoveries here. As many of you enjoy doing the same, it has made it possible for me to meet and learn from some amazing chefs over the years. The recipes I’ve learned from the UK’s best chefs of Indian cuisine have indeed been the most popular and shared recipes on my blog.
So when Palash Mitra, the head chef of Scarfes Bar in the Rosewood London contacted me to come try his food and learn some of his mouthwatering recipes, I almost jumped at the chance. There was only one thing that was stopping me and that was the reality that my curry blog isn’t just a passion but – that word again – a hobby. There really isn’t the budget to go jetting around the country as much as I would love to do so.
After speaking to the management of The Rosewood London, Palash invited my wife Caroline and me down to London. We were guests of the Rosewood London and let’s just say it doesn’t get much better than that!
Here I would like to walk you through our stay. From the beautiful architecture and décor of the Rosewood to the service and heavenly food. Whether you are considering staying at one of London’s most luxurious hotels or you just want to experience the Rosewood London through its wonderful restaurants and bar, you might like to hear about our experience.
Caroline and I arrived at noon so we had an hour to check into our room and get ready for the main purpose of our stay, our 1pm lunch at Scarfes Bar. Our taxi drove through the large wrought-iron gates into the Rosewood’s picture-perfect courtyard. The Grade II listed Edwardian building has only recently been painstakingly restored. It’s beautiful.
The reception staff couldn’t have been more welcoming and helpful. Their professionalism gave us a good idea of what was to follow. The day just kept getting better.
We stayed in a grand premier suite. This one bedroom residence was elegantly designed, reminiscent of a British manor house but with a more contemporary look and feel. Spread out across 85 square meters (915 sq. ft.) of living space, the suite features a large bedroom, a comfortable living area and a spacious bathroom featuring a walk in wet room style shower and a bath with a built in flat screen TV. More about this palatial dream suite will follow. It’s time to go to Scarfes Bar!
Dining At Scarfes Bar
Scarfes Bar was beautifully designed by Martin Brudnizki. When you walk into the room, you know you’re someplace special. It’s like a library in a stately home and art gallery all in one. Named after political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, the walls are decorated with many of his famous cartoon art. I made a point the following morning to return and take it all in. What a place!
Caroline and I were shown to our table. You could so easily sink into those plush seats and spend the day in front of the roaring fire. While we browsed through the menu, Giovanni Spezziga, the bar manager and cocktail god came over to introduce himself. You know that feeling you get when you meet a bar/restaurant manager who so obviously loves his work? Well that is what we got from Giovanni. He just seemed to love being there. Giovanni insisted that we try a couple of his signature cocktails. There was no way we were going to turn down that offer!
In the meantime, Palash Mitra came out to introduce himself. He explained that he had our meal all planned out for us. We knew were in for a real treat.
I’ve been following Palash on Twitter for some time so it was so nice to finally get to meet him in person. Palash Mitra is more than a chef, he’s an artist and his passion for cooking comes through in his food.
The first course was brought out shortly after he returned to the kitchen. Now I have a pretty trained palette but the food that was served to us that day blew me away. Every mouthful was a new taste adventure. This spiced raita with crisp vegetables was presented to us and it was to die for.
Next in the lineup was the spectacular melt in your mouth lamb kebab. It was like a party in your mouth. The lamb tasted like it had been put through a meat grinder at least five times and then marinated for hours in the perfect blend of spices, herbs and yogurt. I want to experience this again. Wow!
Out came the best Mallagatawny soup ever! I’m not sure how this was made. I do know that it included a small piece of perfectly cooked scallop and a piece of idli. Don’t worry about my lack of description here. Palash’s recipe will be here soon. Watch this space.
Giovanni brought us another two of his extraordinary cocktails as our friendly and attentive waitress served the next course. We were in food and drink heaven. There in front of us was a delicately spiced fillet of sea bream and the above lobster curry that we ate on its own and also spooned over the bream. Every mouthful was wonderful. That and the fact that we were beginning to feel pleasantly tipsy from Giovanni’s delicious concoctions was making this an afternoon to remember forever.
We enjoyed our cocktails in between courses and were presented with a cardamom infused sorbet sprinkled with popping candy. I have to talk Palash into giving me this recipe. Actually, I want all of his recipes.
The next course was a mildly spiced chilli pork belly that was served bunny chow style in a mini French roll. I’m not going to tell you how much I loved that one. Let’s just say it was the first dish I made for my family when we returned home. Here is Chef Palash’s gorgeous recipe.
It didn’t stop there. Out came a course of seared venison on top of perfectly cooked crudettes and a selection of raitas and chutneys and homemade naans. I’m telling you… food doesn’t get any better than this. We just didn’t want this experience to end.
Palash finished the meal in style with an Indian inspired rice pudding. You couldn’t conclude a meal like this any other way. Caroline described it as sheer bliss. I have to say I agree. If there is one thing you take away with you from this post, it’s that you owe it to yourself to try Palash’s food. I’ll be posting more of his recipes if you want to try them at home but there’s nothing like having Palash cook for you at Scarfes Bar.
After a meal like that, there was really only one thing to do. At the time my idea was sleep in the lush accommodation but Caroline unfortunately reminded me that we had planned to go for a run along the Thames. I met her half way and said we should go for a long walk instead. Thankfully, she didn’t – or couldn’t – argue.
The Rosewood Hotel is ideally situated for people wanting to explore London and also for business travellers. We made our way to Covent Garden in just five minutes and then wobbled to Leicester Square, Soho, Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace. When we first married, we lived just south of the river in SE1 so it was great to be back. We just don’t get to London enough.
We’d been walking for about an hour when I suggested we make our way back. You don’t get a room like that everyday after all. The Rosewood had booked us in for a complimentary dinner at one of their other restaurants The Holborn Dining Room and I for one needed a rest before going out. I’ll be reviewing the exceptional bistro style food at the Holborn Dining Room in a future post. If you can’t wait, just go there. You’ll love it.
For now, let’s get into that room. I want to tell you all about it.
When you enter the room, you walk through a lovely black lacquered foyer that leads to the living area on your left and the bedroom on your right. The living area was so elegantly designed. it was a nice place to sit and relax and enjoy a few drinks from the complimentary cocktail and drinks bar. As with all of the rooms, there was a large flat screen TV to watch too. Any of the home comforts you could possibly want were right there in that room but better.
Everything about this place was delightful. From the comfy king sized bed to fresh flowers that offered a dash of panache to each room. Every detail was well thought out and designed with style. There was even a flat screen TV/entertainment screen in the bath! Neither of us wanted to leave. I can assure you we will go back.
Our stay at the Rosewood Hotel couldn’t have happened at a better time. June is our 20th wedding anniversary. There is no way we could ever top our experience at the Rosewood so we’ve decided, this year at least, to make May our anniversary month.
Scarfes Bar is open for lunch daily. You can check out their menu here.
252 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EN, United Kingdom
T: +44 20 7781 8888
E: [email protected]
Disclaimer: Caroline and I were guests of the Rosewood London. You need only look at the photographs above to know that all opinions are my own. Thank you to everyone at The Rosewood Hotel who made our stay so unforgettable and special.
Friday 16th of May 2014
We stayed here recently and had fabulous time.
Our only mistake, not trying the food in the Scarves bar.
It looks fabulous. Next time we are there, will make an effort to try the restaurant.
Thanks for the blog.
Friday 30th of May 2014
Hi Mrinal. Hope you do get a chance to get there. It is really good.
Sunday 11th of May 2014
Sounds great, Dan - Palash seems to have that rare talent for successfully combining the best of old-school Indian culinary traditions with modern approaches, each adding to the other. Hope to visit soon!