Jean-Georges At The Connaught
Time Out says
Michelin-decorated Frenchie Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of those chefs that gets upmarket food fans all a flutter. Much interest, therefore, was stirred when JG announced a ‘casual’, ‘neighbourhood-style’ joint at Mayfair’s super-luxe Connaught hotel. Do not be deceived: while Jean-Georges at The Connaught (that’s the rather prosaic name) is located in a light-filled conservatory/lounge space, filled with jazzy light fittings and low tables better suited to high tea or cocktail hour than proper dining, this is still hifalutin – and wallet-snappingly pricey – stuff.
Unfortunately, it’s also not much cop. A shame, as it didn’t have to be this way: every dish had flashes of promise, but they were kiboshed by easily fixable oversights in the kitchen and bizarro execution.
Par example: It’s a shame that a plate of ‘crispy sushi’ paired decent sashimi with a miniature hash brown that tasted exactly like a Wheat Crunchy (good thing) but warmed the fish into tepid sweatiness (bad thing). It’s another shame that lofty piles of white crab meat, strung with zesty lemon aioli, were served on thick wodges of untoasted sourdough instead of the promised thin, crisp crostini.
And it was a shame, again, that a JG signature starter of tuna tartare was served as a disc of textureless mush (albeit covered with an excellent soy and ginger sauce). At a punchy £24, it was food for geriatric oligarchs to suck through their teeth. Finally, it’s a shame that the decent meat in a cheeseburger was totally overpowered by the truffle on top and the yuzu pickles beneath (I liked the unusual addition of brie; my lunchmate did not). Things improved with the puddings – particularly with a sweet-bitter grapefruit and Campari sorbet, flecked with candied rose and hidden in a giant cloud of candyfloss – but you get the picture.
What’s more, service was attentive at first but non-existent by the time we got the bill (massively irritating), which was giant – around £65 a head for three courses, with water. I don’t doubt JG will do quite nicely in this moneyed part of town, but the rest of us should save our cash and go elsewhere.
|Transport:||Tube: Bond Street|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £195.|
|Do you own this business?|
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World-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten who runs restaurants in eleven countries, opened his latest venture in July at The Connaught Hotel in Mayfair.
His menu reflects his farm-to-table cooking style with his signature south-east Asian flavours as well as his individual take on British classics influenced by his earlier working life in London.
After a warm reception from the waitress, my companion and I sat near the entrance of an informal dining room in a contemporary setting.
For starters we shared the Warm Shrimp Salad and the Fresh Crab Crostini. The salad was powerful and punchy, oozing with freshness, and the crab had a generous flavouring of lemon aioli with distinctive dill seasoning.
For mains we shared the Basil-Pistachio Taglietelle, which has an unusual addition of waxbeans and sweet-tasting tomatoes, and The Three Cheese Mushroom Pizza was flavoursome with a luxurious farm egg yolk running through it.
The final flourish was when the dessert arrived and the waiter reduced a mountain of peach candy floss to virtually nothing by pouring a red currant ginger sauce over it. It was a real showstopper!
Starters are between £15-£25 and mains £18-£45. A rather pricey menu but if you are after a sophisticated mealor even perhaps a ‘posh’ pizza with a side of trendy, it might be well worth trying.
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