LET the view be the show and the food an excellent companion of a unique night!
First, to set the scene, there is the view.
The one everybody is talking about. The one that turns the sightseeing buses into kids toys. From the viewing gallery of Paramount, London offers its visitors a new face. A face of a city which has evolved through the years and the centuries, a face made of secrets rooftops, buildings and unknown shapes.
Paramount gives you the feeling that, for the time of a drink or a meal, the city is yours. Just like Mary Poppins climbing the roofs of London after her escape through the fireplace.
Throughout the meal, we watched the city was dress for the evening, covering itself in shadows and bright lights. The lights in the restaurant became more subtle and let you enjoy the night show at its best.
Then, there is the food.
The head chef, Colin Layfield, seems to be a big fan of plate selection, giving the costumers the opportunity to enjoy different bits of a themed dish such as the Paramount Selfish Plate with Crab, Lobster, Scallop and Mussel. It offers a delicate and fine selection of seafood, but the concept may not have achieved its final glory yet.
On the other hand the Smoked Haddock and Lentil Chowder with Lemon Oil was remarkable. Each mouthful would have given the rat in ratatouille a firework of culinary pleasures. The smokiness of the haddock brought a strong and powerful kick to the dish, balanced with the smoothness of the cream and the lentils.
Moving on to the main. Eating The Five Spice Monkfish with Saffron Risotto & Crab Spring Roll while looking at the amazing view is a good expression of what London is about. A cosmopolitan English city that brings you to Thailand at every street corner. The dish is a modern European approach of traditional Asian cuisine: the risotto was creamy and gentle with a sudden taste of saffron; the fish added a deep crunchiness, creating a good texture balance with a nice sweet twist.
The Sea Bass with Potato Gnocchi, Asparagus, Samphire and Caviar cream is a classic on London restaurant menus and this one was particularly well cooked and seasoned. The dish was made a beautiful connection between earth and sea, enhanced by the fish, gnocchi and asparagus. The sauce was smoky and mixed very well with the caviar.
Time to go back to the plate concept with a selection of Valrhona Chocolate puddings for dessert. Despite high expectations, based on my love of chocolate and the name of the well-known chocolatier, the different puddings were too dry and the chocolate was too strong and bitter to be fully appreciated.
The Walnut Tart, Cider Sorbet, Pink Lady Apple Strudel with Ginger Custard, however, was a brilliant combination of flavours, all of which added its own personality to the dish.
Some of the Paramount’s dishes were truly admirable in their mix of flavours and textures. Other’s, though, would gain by being brought up to the next level to become a success, even though the plating was a pleasure to behold.
101-103 New Oxford Street
London WC1A 1DD