I remain a fan of our grand cafes in town, chiefly the Corbin & King stalwarts of Wolseley and its unbeatably reasonable cousin that is Brasserie Zedel. HDR’s lustrous retro galore is of a similar mould, albeit with a classic cuisine that’s closer to home than Vienna. And it is a massive restaurant that must take at least 100 covers (at a guess) and is the main restaurant of the gleamy Rosewood hotel.
The similarities in interior design is probably no coincidence, since it was Des McDonald originally put this all together. The gargantuan room was once the banking hall of the Pearl Assurance building, of which in between the time period, was Jun Tanaka’s ambitious Pearl Restaurant. As you will already know, Jun was snubbed by the bib during Pearl days, and it must seem ironic to him, that the bib (this week) decided to hand him a star for his Ninth (which I love), a decidedly casual restaurant in comparison. Well done to Jun nonetheless, in what is yet another baffling year for the ageing red guide. But I digress.
I now turn your attention to Calum Franklin. He’s the point man at HDR and it is likely you will have already marveled at his handiwork across the social channels. This Chef comes across as a consummate professional with a passion for proper old-fashioned cookery, of which he is rather open about on his IG. Obsessive testing and tweaking, conscientious about sourcing, observing the seasons, respect for classic recipes – all the right qualities.
He seems a wizard with puff pastry, his grouse dish had already taken down large parts of the webz at the start of game season. I could only find time relatively deep into grouse season (in early October) to try, but was so glad I managed it. So I suppose we should start here before all else.