The Baglioni has a covered walk way to the lobby that’s quite reminiscent of some high end apartment blocks in New York, and to reinforce that 5* style I was twice greeted at reception, then led through to the bar in case I wanted to wait for my partner there, but there was no need. She`d gone from “I might be a few minutes late” to bagging one of the best seats in the house, and already had a glass on the go. A cold beer for me started the process of going from rush hour London to unwind-and-relax, and all was beginning to be right with the world.
The interior rather reminds me of Theo Randall`s eponymous restaurant at the Intercontinental, so it’s very comfortable and soothing, if a little anonymous. M`s delightful Italian whiteis hidden discreetly around the corner, but I bag a taster glass as breads, oil and an amuse bouche are served. Advocates of not mixing your drinks take note: Moretti and a good Italian white are excellent bedfellows!
My starter of Black Truffle Risotto has exemplary bite, there’s a discernible salty tang from the aged parmesan, and, hallelujah, the truffle has a pleasing aroma and decent presence. A good white truffle is still my ultimate choice, but alas not around yet. M`s Crab and Prawn ravioli were well stuffed parcels, served scattered with courgette and spring onion and needed only a light smattering of seasoning to pull out all of the flavour.
As we had chosen the Lamb Cutlets and the Veal Milanese for mains our waiter asked us 1) if we would like to go onto a red and 2) if we would like to see the wine list. The answer was yes to both, and he approached a couple of moments later to ask what sort of thing we would like. He duly recommended something from southern Tuscany, whirled the wine list silently around in a manoeuvre reminiscent of a Toreador`s cape as the bull approaches, and turned abruptly away. Of course, technically I couldn`t fault him – we had seen the wine list, albeit only from the outside.
A faint tang of a good cigar being smoked on the terrace drifted lazily into my consciousness, along with the subdued drone of traffic as I took my first sip of the mystery wine, which we both agreed was excellent, and in my case the prefect partner for my cooked-to-perfection lamb, truffle potato and side of spinach. M`s veal covered a substantial portion of the plate, and for those with ethical doubts about veal, this could not have been from a crated infant. It had a texture and grain to the meat that needed a good squeeze from the lemon wedge, and some boldness with the salt and pepper grinders. This was like the authentic veal they serve in a Milanese trattoria, not some prissy lightweight version.
Not presenting a flawless exterior to the world for some time, I had to sample the dessert billed as “anti-ageing” and with the “calorie equivalent to 2 apples” Hazelnuts, honey, Pollen, Orange and a mousse-like ice cream have yet to make a big impact on my visage, but who knows how much worse I might look without it. M embraced the potential wrinkles that a Grappa might bring, and dam it if I didn`t potentially undermine all that good work with a coffee too. One-all on the ageing front, but no doubt there’s an App for that.
Brunello at the Baglioni, 60 Hyde Park Gate. 5* fine dining, bookings on 020 7368 5900