Lunch at The Capital
‘It was a young man’s dream to build, own and manage his own hotel in London.
So in 1971 the dream came true and The Capital was born.’
The Capital Hotel was established in 1971 by David Levin: a man with a dream. He bought one building on Basil Street and as the business prospered the hotel grew. Mr Levin is still the owner but now works alongside his daughter Kate Levin. The Capital is a 5 star hotel in a 5 star location that ‘remains true to classic British design’.
This weekend I was in London and decided to try lunch at The Capital Restaurant. The Capital is on Basil Street and is sandwiched between Harrods and Harvey Nichols the perfect spot for a shopping break! As soon as you pass through The Capital’s doors you are in a haven of understated unpretentious luxury.
We immediately noticed that we had come on a quiet day and initially were the only people in the restaurant. However, although it was quiet it was neither awkward nor uncomfortable. The staff made us feel at ease and were attentive without being intrusive.
On seating we were offered the wine list from which, the sommelier noted the wines from Mr Levin’s vineyard in France. Prior to coming to The Capital I was recommended the Sauvignon Blanc therefore, this was the obvious choice of wine to accompany our meal. Although I know my Chianti from my Shiraz I do not profess to be a wine expert however, the Levin Sauvingnon Blanc is one of the nicest to pass my lips.
The set menu had a respectable 3 starter options as well as 3 main courses. My cousin, Gemma, chose the Pumpkin Soup with Tortellini whereas I decided (after much deliberation) to go for the Asian Style King Prawn Salad with Toasted Almonds. If I were to judge the dishes purely on presentation Gemma’s had the ‘WOW Factor’, it came to the table with a large glass dome shaped lid which was removed on serving releasing a beautiful aroma.
What my Salad lacked in appearance it gained in taste. It was fantastically fresh and the flavours, although subtle, complimented each other perfectly; I particularly loved the toasted almonds. What a great twist to the dish!
I also sampled some of Gemma’s soup; it was rich, full of flavour and smelt as good as it tasted: perfectly autumnal.
Our main courses were once again seasonal and flavoursome. I chose the roast lamb which was carved for me at the table: Fantastic. Some people find silver service dated, I am not one of those people. I find it a real treat. The lamb was faultless, it melted in the mouth and there was the perfect ratio of sauce to meat. The potatoes were cooked beautifully with mushrooms and butter.
Gemma went for the poached salmon which was served with French beans, tender stem broccoli, a thick horseradish foam and baby beetroot: such a beautiful combination of flavours. Although all the elements of this dish were seasonal it tasted like spring: sweet, light and fresh.
If you have met me you will know that I always veer towards a chocolate based dessert; this weekend I decided to break the habit of a lifetime and try The Capital Restaurant Apple Tarte Tatin which was served with brown sugar ice cream. I was not disappointed, it was divine. The ice cream and sugar crisp were the perfect accompaniments to the Tarte in both texture and flavour. Gemma described it as ‘tres bon’ and it really was.
The Perfect Finish
We finished our lovely meal with coffee and petit fours these consisted of homemade coffee macaroons and homemade chocolates. Even though we were both so very full but still managed to find space for a few sweet treats.
I would highly recommend The Capital Restaurant to anyone, it’s simple food well done. The service is faultless and the food delicious. Priced at £35 for a set lunch it won’t break the bank either and will suit any occasion. I cannot wait to return and am planning a visit closer to christmas to try their afternoon tea. It’s a haven of understated unpretentious luxury minutes away from the hustle and bustle of one of London’s most famous shopping districts.
22-24 Basil St, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1AT
Tel: +44 (0)20 7589 5171
NB. I honestly could ‘[hannah]ramble on’ about my lunch for hours… I would love to go into detail about the homemade bread, thick froth on my cappuccino and the perfect pastry in my Tarte Tatin. However,I have gone a good couple of hundred words over my self imposed word limit so, you will just have to find out about all those little things yourself when you go and visit.