A stone’s throw away from Harrods, The Capital is one of London’s most charming luxury hotels. It’s also home to Nathan Outlaw’s Michelin starred Outlaw’s at The Capital, his only London restaurant. Nathan’s 2 Michelin starred Cornish restaurant has just been awarded a perfect 10 out of 10 by the Waitrose Good Food Guide. We were therefore delighted to be invited to experience his London outpost and to review their set lunch menu.
Paul was relaxing in the stylish bar area when I arrived.
We stayed in the bar to sample what I thought at first was champagne…which was actually a sparkling wine from Cornwall’s largest vineyard.
Camel Valley 2013 ‘Cornwall’ Brut is a fruity delight that shows how far British wine has improved in recent years.
We then moved through to the light and airy dining room where a window table awaited us. Before our first course, our friendly waiter brought us some homemade bread which tasted delicious. It’s known as Doom Bar Beer Bread and is one of Nathan’s signature recipes and also widely available in Cornish bakeries. Made with beer, fermented peach juice and topped with Cheddar cheese and rosemary, it was hard not to eat it all in one go!
We also enjoyed a complimentary appetizer, a very moreish cod’s roe dip which opened our appetite nicely…not that mine ever needs any encouragement ;-). Head Chef Tom Brown works closely with Nathan, who spends time each week in London with him.
The owner of The Capital Hotel, David Levin, has a vineyard in the Loire Valley of France which produces his own private label wines for his hotels and restaurants. Having lived in this area, I know that it produces some really fine wines. David and his Australian wife Lynne have introduced new viticulture techniques, by shipping a whole winery over from Australia to France. Levin Wines have won many awards for their organic Sauvignon Blanc.
My starter of smoked mackerel was served with a tasty mix of well seasoned cucumber, dill, capers and oyster mayonnaise. Sometimes, mackerel can be rather overpowering in taste but this was delicate and the skin was perfectly crispy.
Paul went for the special of the day, a risotto with fresh crab. Nathan is particularly well known for his seafood and this certainly didn’t disappoint. Portion size is generous here, you won’t go away feeling hungry but then again, you don’t feel overloaded either.
For my main, I chose a hearty dish of duck with an accompaniment of pink grapefruit, pistachio and chicory tart. I’ve always enjoyed the combination of duck with a citrus or red fruit but never tried it with grapefruit before. It works really well and the meat was very tender. Normally I’d discard the skin but this was too good to miss and not at all fatty.
Paul was tempted by the hake with a distinctive curry sauce, accompanied by cabbage and shallots. The flavour of the vegetables really shone through and the curry made a great change from the usual sauces.
Our sommelier recommended an unusual Elysium Black Muscat 2014 to go with our dessert. This Californian wine is made from one of the rare black-skinned Muscats by Andrew Quady and deserves to be better known.
As you can see, it has a stunning blackish-red colour and the taste is rich and velvety with notes of red fruits.
For dessert, great minds thought alike as we both opted for the passion fruit ice cream sandwich. The tuile sandwich gave it a satisfying crunch, contrasting nicely with the unctuous ice cream. Topped with fresh coconut sorbet and drizzled with a passion fruit coulis, it was a fantastic finale to our meal.
We found lunch to be very reasonable for the quality of food at £24 for two courses and £29 for three courses. If you want to reproduce Nathan’s cooking at home, you can also purchase his cookbook, Nathan Outlaw’s Everyday Seafood. I’ve been drooling at all the delicious recipes! Alternatively, head to Dubai where Nathan’s new restaurant at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Al Mahara means Oyster Shell in Arabic and it’s set to be as big a success as his Port Isaac and London restaurants.
Outlaw’s at The Capital, 22-24 Basil Street, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1AT