Kindly Submitted by Rod MacClancy
Nobody can say that Knightsbridge is currently attractive as it is blighted by roadworks, traffic jams, major redevelopments and an ever reducing local population – not a pretty place. Oysters thrive in such environments, and need the flaws on which to cultivate their pearls and thus one comes across Restaurant 101. If approached with an open mind and ignoring the kitsch of Knightsbridge, one will find this fabulous pearl and an amazing dining experience.
Restaurant 101, predominantly fish and seafood, is the brainchild of Breton MasterChef Pascal Proyart. The restaurant opened 14 years ago in the Park Tower hotel close to Lowndes Square. One suspects they may be in for a special treat as in 2015 it was placed third best restaurant in London by The Sunday Times best restaurant review, topped only by Araki and The Ledbury.
On arrival the decor is perhaps a little bare but this is quickly overcome by the quality of the food. We were greeted by Lajos who, along with the rest of his team, was professional, knowledgeable and attentive. Whilst contemplating the menu my dining companion had a glass of Moet Champagne and I the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc de Touraine. A refreshing wine infused with flavours of pears, apples and gooseberries, perfect for accompanying seafood. Fresh rye and plain bread were served with both unsalted and a Breton made seaweed butter, which is so good that one regular customer buys boxes of it to take home! A very light Amuse-Bouche based on a tomato gazpacho with king crab basil and bacon was excellent and very refreshing.
As a starter my companion had the grilled red King crab legs and shoulder, fresh from the Barents sea, one of Pascal’s signature dishes and deservedly so. I had the taster Terre et Mer menu, which at £75 is very good value, and started with the Yellowfin tuna tartar with sushi and tobiko caviar, crab tempura, wasabi and foam seaweed, altogether a serious pleasure. The next course was followed by scallops, very fresh but a smidgen tough, with foie gras, wild mushrooms sea spinach and an exceptional vermouth foam.
For the main course, my companion enjoyed a Dover sole which was served off the bone at her request and beautifully tender, accompanied by a stunning oyster béarnaise. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Chef Pascal’s, white halibut with abalone, sunshokas, wild garlic and hazelnuts – a truly fabulous dish. The final dish of this seafood triumph served was Sea bass with olives, baby artichokes, capers, basil barigoule sauce and a mouth exploding “lemon button”.
There wasn’t room for dessert, but thinking of our duty to you our readers we finished with the truly decadent Manjari chocolate pave (oh so rich!) with pistachio ice cream. A fitting end to a fabulous meal.
My companion a Dorset coast girl who knows her fish confirmed it was the best and freshest fish she had tasted in London, Restaurant 101 is a pearl worth diving for in the depths of Knightsbridge.
101 Knightsbridge SW1X 7RN