One of the most iconic (and Instagrammable) spots in the UK capital, The Landmark London is renowned for its grand décor, lush rooms and mouth-watering dining options. We visit the hotel’s Winter Garden Restaurant, our restaurant of the week, to see if the food tastes as good as it looks (spoiler: it does).
Restaurant Review: The Winter Garden Restaurant at The Landmark London
Industrial glamour comes in spades at The Landmark London. The five-star hotel has been an iconic resident of Marylebone Road since 1899, when it was known as the Hotel Grand Central, and is home to a wealth of history. A Victorian era railway hotel, The Landmark London is just a short walk from Marylebone station, making it an ideal destination for a city weekender (or, if you’re a local, a fabulous post-work dinner).
While the hotel is renowned for its excellent rooms and relaxing spa, our sights were set on dinner: that’s where the Winter Garden Restaurant comes in.
Stepping up the marble steps leading to the Winter Garden Restaurant, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d left London entirely for the Mediterranean. Set in an eight storey glass atrium, the open-plan restaurant is home to soaring pine trees and a view of the open sky (in the middle of winter this is exclusively shades of silver, charcoal and navy, but by summer this is lit up in glimmering blues, oranges and purples). Chill jazz music softly escapes from the grand set near the centre of the room, where a pianist spends the night creating melodies for hungry guests.
While now the home of an AA Rosette restaurant, the Winter Garden was once the site of the hotel’s courtyard, where guests were delivered by horse and carriage directly inside the hotel. The original roof only covered the ground floor, but was taken up in the 1920s to create a ‘winter garden’. The rise of the motor car, however, led the hotel to fall out of use for a few decades, during which the roof was removed by the British Railway. The shining glass roof we see today, the very same that was put in place nearly a century ago, was put back on in 1991. Creating a light and airy atmosphere, this roof is perhaps the crowning glory of the Winter Garden.
We say ‘perhaps’, because the architecture is only rivalled by the delicious food on offer. The menu is a brilliant example of modern European dining, specialising in a combination of British and Mediterranean-inspired dishes. We’d recommend starting things off with a bottle of wine and a selection of breads and butters (which are excellent for munching while perusing the full menu). Guests can choose from either the set menu, priced at a reasonable £68, or picks and choose from the a la carte offering. Can’t choose? Check in with one of the staff on hand, who give excellent recommendations according to your taste.
The Winter Garden’s appetisers begin our tour of Europe – starting on our home turf. The star ingredients for these dishes are sourced from multiple corners of the UK, including Cornish crab meat served with pickled cucumber, as well as Gressingham duck breast doused in an apple and celeriac remoulade. The menu ventures further south of the continent with its aubergine cannelloni, a vegan dish plated up with pine kernels, creamy (vegan) feta and a tangy red pepper gazpacho.
There’s also a huge choice to choose when it comes to mains. Think native lobster thermidor, wild sea bass served with a dash of red wine sauce, roast chicken with truffle and gnocchi, and a zesty linguine pasta decked out with seasonal wild mushrooms – and if those don’t tickle your fancy, we’re sure the extensive charcoal grill most certainly will (special occasions call for the fillet steak in particular), served with fries, shallots, mushrooms, tomatoes and your choice of sauce.
We’re back on home soil when it comes to the final course. A paradise for British dessert lovers, highlights on the menu include a rich sticky toffee pudding, served warm with lashings of toffee sauce and a side of ice cream, as well as a hearty apple crumble that comes with custard and vanilla ice cream, and a generous selection of British cheeses presented with chutneys, pastes and crisp breads. These are dishes that, come the end of the meal, are guaranteed to leave you feeling on a high.
The Winter Garden Restaurant is both a slice of European sun and the home of British industrial charm, sequestered away in one of the city’s most famed (and sought-after) hotels. Whether you choose to just pop in for a luxurious dinner or set up camp for the weekend, the excellent service, relaxed atmosphere and delicious food will linger in your memory long after you’ve left it all behind.
Images courtesy of The Landmark London