Overlooking Leicester Square, the centre of London’s cinema land, Whitcomb’s is the flagship restaurant at The Londoner Hotel. Offering fine contemporary French Mediterranean fare, the tradition-inspired menu is marked with a modern flair, elevating premium-grade ingredients. The restaurant indeed collaborates with top-end partners such as greengrocers Le Marchè and family butcher Aldens to secure the freshest ingredients.
We all know how busy Leicester Square can be, especially on a weekend evening – however, once you pass through The Londoner’s doors, the pace immediately changes. Straight to the right of the luxury hotel lounge, a handwritten neon light indicates the restaurant entrance. The décor is overall subtle and considered: a warm and earthy colour palette works in tandem with materials such as wood and marble chosen for the flooring. Designed by Yabu Pushelberg studio, the dining room feels spacious yet intimate. An intricate metal sculpture made by artist Shida Salehi is hanging from the ceiling, adding lightness and sophistication to the space. A sun-drenched summer terrace filled with flowers has been recently opened to enjoy al fresco cocktails. The bright and sunny corner offers a secluded spot to taste the new summer drinks menu created with St~Germain elderflower liqueur.
The feast started off with a floral touch: Arrivée, a prosecco-based before-dinner drink, prepared our palate with a blend of Lillet Blanc, Noilly Prat, elderflower, white melon cordial, and orange bitters.
It followed an exhaustive selection of petites assiettes, French small plates. An absolute must is the tuna tartare, with confit egg yolk and Oscietra caviar: the beautifully staged presentation pays homage to its mouth-watering taste, delicate yet decisive. We couldn’t have missed the chance to try escargots, one of the most famous and beloved French starters. The baked snails were served with white wine, garlic and an unexpected n’duja lemon butter accompanied by warm baguette bread. The marriage of flavours worked; however, the spiciness of the Calabrian spread felt predominant. The balance was immediately recovered with Carpaccio de boeuf, a beef fillet garnished with black truffle. Playing a major role in Mediterranean food culture, Italian influences stepped onto the menu with a fine choice of pasta and risotto. We opted for gnocchi with Gorgonzola dolce crème paired with wilted spinach. Here the smooth and milky texture of the Italian cheese is greatly combined with the bitter flavour of the greens.
Without any doubt, the dish that best summarised the Whitcomb’s menu is the turbot au piment, a fillet of turbot served with roasted garlic, dried chilli and an impressive white wine emulsion. Only a few ingredients, minimally processed and enhanced with rustic condiments. It came with layered potato chips with rosemary and sea salt.
And to end on a sweet note, we couldn’t go better than quintessentially French tarte tatin: pear and apple tart served with warm caramel and vanilla ice cream: délicieux!
Starter, main, a fish grand plats and dessert for two, £96 excluding wine.
Simple yet impactful. From the décor to the food, Whitcomb’s offers a well-balanced experience. The attentive and friendly staff, along with an elegant location, assured a sophisticated ambience, which never felt too stiff. The spotlight is definitely on the cuisine, uncomplicated but incredibly refined.