Hélène Darroze at The Connaught
“Innovative French cooking in an iconic location” - AA Inspector
LONDON W1, LONDON POSTAL DISTRICTS
Our Inspector's view
Four generations, including Hélène herself, have worked in the Darroze family restaurant in Acquitaine. After graduating, she worked for top chef Alain Ducasse in Monaco, before opening her own restaurant in Paris, then joining The Connaught. She now shuttles weekly between the two capitals to keep a close eye on both. Her French culinary craft is showcased amid the splendour of Iranian designer India Mahdavi’s sophisticated interior, with Damien Hirst artworks on the wall, and glass cloches displaying the visual appeal of the ingredients found in her cooking. With places to sip champagne, tuck into a magnificent afternoon tea, or dine pretty much any time of the day, it's a truly high-class location. Menus reveal the source of each dish's main element, thus a weekday lunch lobster hails from St Ives in Cornwall; the lamb from the Rhug Estate in Corwen, north Wales; and a dessert's rhubarb is grown in West Yorkshire's famous Rhubarb Triangle. Looking more closely at a couple of dishes reveals the full extent – apart from the actual eating – of her approach: lobster is served with highly prized Pertuis green asparagus, morel and vin jaune d’Arbois; and the highest grade (A5) of Wagyu beef with parsnip, arabica coffee and sansho pepper. Unlike some places, vegetarians are no mere afterthought, with dedicated menus offering, for example, Italian acquerello rice with white asparagus, seaweed and lemon; and beetroot with capers and balsamic vinegar. Pre-ordained wine flights may be added at a price, or you can select your own, maybe with the help of one of the team of sommeliers, who will advise on whether to select a Left or Right Bank Bordeaux, or talk you through the whites from the Weingut Keller Collection, one of Germany's truly great estates. Service at every stage strikes a pleasing balance between slick professionalism and relaxed confidence.
Awards, accolades and Welcome Schemes
Facilities – at a glance
- Seats: 60
- Private dining available
- Wheelchair accessible
- Accessible toilets
- Assist dogs welcome
- Open all year
- Days Closed: Sunday and Monday
- Lunch served from: 12pm
- Lunch served until: 2pm
- Dinner served from: 6.30pm
- Dinner served until: 9.30pm
- Wines over £30:
- Wines by the glass: 45
- Cuisine style: French
- Vegetarian menu
Also in the area
About The area
The UK's capital was founded by the Romans shortly after they invaded in 43AD. Since then it’s evolved into one of the greatest cities on earth. From a bloody, squalid history to the vanguard of fashion in the Swinging 1960s to the buzzing metropolis it is today, London has something for everyone. There are very British pursuits like the Oxford and Cambridge boat race, changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and an impressive collection of traditional English pubs. And that’s not to mention world-renowned arts venues, galleries and museums, award-winning theatre and unrivalled shopping – all found within a few Tube stops of each other.
London’s royal history is not to be missed. Visitors can roam around one of Britain’s finest medieval castles and royal prison, and learn about the final days of Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London or, for the less bloodthirsty, visit the Queen’s London home, Buckingham Palace. Don’t miss out on exploring the capital’s Royal Parks – from St James’ Park and Hyde Park in the centre to the majestic Hampton Court and wilderness of Richmond Park in the southwest.
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