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A Mexican restaurant at the Intercontinental Park Lane Hotel.
On my visit, all the waitresses at this upscale Mexican restaurant were wearing flowery, Frida Kahlo-esque headbands. The headbands were cute – everyone who works at Ella Canta is both beautiful and beautifully turned out – but cartoonish, and curiously cheesy for a place where the average main course costs £26. That’s symptomatic of this restaurant, which feels a bit confused. Set on the ground floor of the Intercontinental Park Lane hotel, the decor is luscious, with dusky pink walls, spiked mirrors and lots of fat, green cacti. But still, Ella Canta can’t escape the hotel vibes: the room is awkwardly shaped, with windows that look out on to busy Park lane, along which the occasional tour bus trundles. There’s a playlist of what can only be described as Mexican lounge music. And those headbands.
Just like the space, the food was Mexican-by-way-of-fancy-London-hotel. Take the ceviche vampiro, a beautiful piece of fish spoiled by being topped by a Michelin-baiting scoop of sorbet. Black cod was photogenic, and sprinkled with teeny, delicate oyster leaves, but was actually over-salted, served on a bed of greasy ‘burnt mayonnaise’. Octopus came on a plate dotted with chi-chi little blobs of alternately smoky, then creamy sauce. That sauce was delicious – why put it in a blob?
Tellingly, the best dish was a plate of Ella Canta’s round, thick, wonderfully plain tortilla chips. This restaurant is going for sensuous magical realism; sometimes that works, like when they bring the bill in a tiny wooden ferris wheel, but too often, you wish they’d left well enough alone. The ingredients here are all quality, it’s just that this menu – which, by the way, comes emblazoned with a truly weird picture of a woman unzipping her pants – could do with de-frilling.
InterContinental Park Lane
1 Hamilton Place
|Transport:||Tube: Hyde Park Corner|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £120.|
|Do you own this business?|