Tel: +44 (0)20 7589 5171
Address: Basil Street, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1AT
Cuisine Type: modern European
Just moments away from the bustle of Brompton Street, Michelin-starred The Capital transports you to another age. A doorman greets you as you enter the foyer of the building, liveried receptionists and porters whisk your coats and bags away whilst the maitre d’ offers you a drink at the bar (to relieve the stress of shopping at Harvey Nicks and Harrods, sweetie).
The dining room itself is intimate, furnished like a set out of a Merchant Ivory film – crystal chandeliers, William Morris-esque patterned fabrics, heavy floor-length table cloths. But though the décor seems rather dated, the food is anything but. And unlike so many other restaurants, the surroundings do not compete with the food. Which is just as well, because this is cooking that deserves undivided attention.
From the amuse bouche, a tiny gratin of potatoes and prosciutto ham topped with deep-fried herbs, to the selection of ten different petit fours to round off your meal, not a single detail had been overlooked, or could be faulted. You are even asked whether you want salted or unsalted butter with the superb range of bread – which is great, as I have a definite preference for the former.
Starters include seared tiger prawns and squid, with noodle stir fry and prawn toast, or white truffle risotto, or smoked haddock carpaccio with mustard dressing, green beans, potato salad and a poached quail egg, but both the Bloke and I opted for the caramelised honey pork belly with Morteaux sausage, apple remoulade and horseradish. The pork came prepared three ways – a sticky honey-lacquered slab, a surprisingly tender cube encased in a feather-light batter, and tiny dice topped with disks of wafer thin sausage – a contrast of textures reinforced by the sharp, cold, crispness of the horseradish. A truly remarkable starter that gave ensuing courses a lot to live up to.
Roasted monkfish tail wrapped in prosciutto or potato gnocchi with ceps and spinach fricassee, parmesan and quail egg sounded enticing, but unfortunately, we had to limit our choice to one main course each. Slow-cooked daube of beef was as melting as meat can get, whilst braised fillet of brill was cooked to perfection.
It is said that the proof is in the pudding, and ours did not disappoint. An individual spiced bread savarin was complemented by a tangy apple sorbet, while a delicate bitter-sweet chocolate tart with caramelised pears was also satisfying (though that didn’t stop us gazing longingly at our neighbour’s choice of pineapple brochette with an intriguing basil sorbet).
At £27.50 for the three course set lunch (£6.50 supplement for the cheese board), the food is a bargain. With a bottle of mineral water, three glasses of wine from the vast wine list and service, our bill came to £90 for two. We didn’t grudge a penny spent though, for the memorable dining experience and exceptional service. Dinner is a more costly affair: £18 for starters, £26 for main courses, £65 for the menu degustation, plus £45 for matching wines with each course.