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Rhodes W1 | Restaurant Review of Gary Rhodes' latest West End Restaurant

Rhodes W1
Great Cumberland Place
London W1
Tel: 020 7479 3737

If you like to eat fine French and modern British cuisine in a grand style with plenty of attentive service in a theatrical setting then Rhodes W1 will not disappoint. It is an impressive experience from start to finish and certainly a place in which a sense of occasion and formality is the order of the day. The modern and spacious dining room is dominated by glittering Swarovski chandeliers, elegant antique French chairs and lavish mirrors in sensual dark fabrics. It is dramatic in every sense of the word, making it the ultimate intimate backdrop for a perfect night of romance. The service here is very French and formal, the staff understanding the balance of treating their clients with discretion and without intrusion. This is celebrated chef Gary Rhodes’ most recent venture, situated just adjacent to The Cumberland Hotel and where he has also operates Rhodes W1 Brasserie. In the kitchen is Head Chef Brian Hughson who previously worked in the private and exclusive dining rooms at 30 St Mary Axe, (or as it is better known), ‘the Gherkin‘, and The Savoy Grill. There are several menus to choose between, depending on your palate and appetite, and, if you so wish, it is possible to build your own menu from the selection of Small Tasting Dishes Menu.

We decided to go the whole hog and have the a la carte, with three courses at a reasonable £45.00. To begin, there was a choice of eight starters, most of which I wanted to try, making it a very difficult decision. Eventually I decided on double oyster ragout with samphire and fresh herbs; this was an rapturous combination of chicken oysters and traditional marine oysters. Each mouthful was fresh, the flavours blending well together on the palate with the strong infused flavour of the ocean mixed into the herby jus. My guest began with a melange of warm scallops and langoustines served with a caviar hollandaise. The sauce was creamy whilst the seafood was perfectly cooked, making it all round a superb combination to savour. The comprehensive wine list is expensive but there are bargains to be had. We shared a bottle of white burgundy, a 2004 Rully from Vincent Dureuil-Janthial which had flinty overtones with depth of character and a clean finish on the palate.

For the main course there is a choice of eight dishes. There are one or two choices for vegetarians, although I think this is a place best left for carnivores to enjoy. My guest tried the red mullet which came served with a bisque sauce, creamed potatoes and shrimps. It was exquisite in presentation and flavour - better than he had eaten in France from where he had just returned from a gastronomic tour. My choice of poached Cornish lobster with summer vegetables was, again, pretty as a picture. Presented out of its shell it was tender but still had texture, partnered with beautifully cooked vegetables and a light and fragrant lobster bisque sauce.

To conclude there was a choice of seven desserts including a spectacular chariot de fromage with a choice of thirty French and English cheeses, stunningly presented and served in the proper gallic tradition. I tried a hot raspberry soufflé which was light, slightly tart in flavour and a comforting finish on the palate. This came served with a delicate raspberry sauce. My guest chose an iced lemon chiboust served with fresh raspberries and a raspberry coulis. It was a smooth, silky and light lemon mousse, a chilled and refreshing end to the meal.

This is definitely an occasion restaurant, somewhere to come and be indulged and pampered. Rhodes W1 is somewhere not just to eat but to savour the experience for many months afterwards.

Louise Elgin June 2007.

A meal with wine and water and service is about £160.00.

A la carte lunch or dinner - 2 courses £39.50 / 3 courses £45.00

Set lunch menu - 2 courses £22.00 / 3 courses £28.00

Small Tasting Dishes - from £8 -£15.00

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