Little has changed in the interior of this genteel hotel restaurant since Cornwall’s adopted son Nathan Outlaw took over the kitchen – a couple of silvery seahorses on the walls, vases of shells on the tables, subtle hues of seaweed and sand. The crowd is similar too, a core of designer-clad Knightsbridge locals supplemented by a few wide-eyed gastronauts who’ve seen Outlaw on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen.
It’s a clever pairing of family-run venue and chef, though not the only hotel in the area with a dining room majoring in seafood (see One-O-One). There are efforts to wave a Cornish flag (the bread basket proffers a light Cornish cheese and rosemary loaf and a brown Doom Bar number) but the overall effect is conservative, French-accented fine dining. Several menus are offered; we opted for a summer birthday ‘celebration’ purporting to showcase classic Outlaw dishes, though these were far less exciting than the food we’ve eaten at some of his previous Cornish venues.
Seafood is exquisitely fresh, as it should be, with the highlight of the meal being the scampi garnish on a main course of brill fillet with Mediterranean rich tomato and tarragon sauce. Breadcrumbed courgettes were not the best accompaniment, but were well cooked. A particularly vibrant set vanilla cream elevated a comforting bowlful of berries, strawberry sorbet and champagne jelly. There’s an encyclopedic wine list featuring reasonably priced bottles from the group’s own Loire vineyard.