As the hotel industry witnesses a steady return to its former glory, so, it seems, are hotel restaurants. In newly-opened hotel eateries across the globe, chefs are gaining confidence and introducing more creative flair to their menus, and to the overall dining experience.
In St Tropez, France, and Stockholm, Sweden, locality and heritage inspired new menus at Pierre Gagnaire, offering cuttingedge cuisine with a Provençal touch.
Meanwhile, Europe’s largest Marriott Courtyard introduced a birch woodland to its bar and grill to create a somewhat eccentric dining experience.
Other highlights included the new A-list haunt in Abu Dhabi, and Pierre Koffman’s return to the Berkeley. And that’s before the Savoy has even laid the tables.
HMI has a round-up of the seven best new restaurants and bars in 2010 so far. Read on for our pick of the year’s latest hot shots in the food and beverage sector.
Koffman’s, The Berkeley, London, UK
Executive chef: Pierre Koffman
Open date: August 2010
Typical menu: Pig’s trotters with chicken
mousseline sweetbreads and morels, followed
by roasted rabbit and pistachio soufflé.
Need to know: Interiors are by the ubiquitous David Collins.
After closing La Tante Claire’s doors seven years ago, Pierre Koffman returns to the stove at the Berkeley. His new enterprise offers an altogether more relaxed affair, showcasing his Gascon roots with an emphasis on hearty dishes and seasonal ingredients though a daily changing menu. Classics such as braised pig’s trotter with morels and pistachio soufflé remain, however, and Koffmann’s has already been the subject of rave reviews across the UK press.
Colette, Hotel Sezz, St Tropez, France
Executive chef: Pierre Gagnaire
Open date: September 2010
Typical menu: Courgette and mint ice-cream, lobster fricassee with tomato foam and basil, followed by a lime and cucumber mojito.
Need to know: It is named after the French writer who lived nearby.
After Hotel Sezz in Paris, St Tropez is the next location for Shahé Kalaidijian’s chain. Michelin favourite Parisian Pierre Gagnaire has employed Jerome Roy in the kitchen, with menus offering a regional twist on Gagnaire’s haute cuisine. The hotel itself is inspired by Provençal village architecture. It is comprised of a collection of singlestorey buildings, designed by architect Jean-Jacques Ory. The minimalist interior design is the work of furniture designer Christophe Pillet, but minimalist design doesn’t have to mean puritanical dining. Colette sits next door to the hotel’s Dom Perignon bar where signature champagne cocktails are served as aperitifs in Pillet’s chic glassware.
Hakkasan, The Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Head chef: Lee Kok Hua
Open date: June 2010
Typical menu: Jasmine-infused chicken followed by chocolat fondant.
Need to know: Alcohol is off the menu, so stick to 50-year-old vintage tea.
Chinese restaurant du choix has launched its third outpost. Head chef Lee Kok Hua trained under Tong Chee Hwee at the London branch for five years and cooks many of the same Cantonese dishes that earned the British Hakkasan its Michelin star. The Abu Dhabi restaurant endeavours to use local ingredients such as blue fish crab and hammour, but imports other ingredients for quality. Gilles & Boissier have designed all Hakkasan’s international franchises but this one incorporates touches of Middle-Eastern design with materials like blue glass and white marble, and Arabesque-Cantonese-style carvings. The restaurant covers an impressive 1,200ft², but low lamp light and the use of wooden screens creates privacy for diners, whether they are courting the paparazzi or not.
The Grill, The Savoy, London, UK
Chef patron: Stuart Gillies
Open date: November 2010
Typical menu: Prawn cocktail, grilled Chateaubriand with pommes soufflés, followed by iced Peach Melba.
Need to know: In a nod to the restaurant’s heyday, the original seating plan has been reinstated.
Fairmont is calling it the most ambitious hotel restoration in British history. Certainly, after the Savoy’s three-year renovation, diners are keen to get back inside the venue’s restaurants and bars. Stuart Gillies, formerly of the Boxwood Café, will be chef patron throughout the hotel for Gordon Ramsay Holdings. The Grill, now run by head chef Andy Cook, has previously entertained diners ranging from the late Queen Mother and Winston Churchill to Oscar Wilde and Frank Sinatra. The menu takes inspiration from its former chef Auguste Escoffier, who created now classic dishes such as Peach Melba. Bar and dining facilities at the Savoy include the reopened River restaurant and the Beaufort Bar, both restored in an Art Deco style, in keeping with the American Bar.
Veronica, the Sheraton Batumi, Georgia
Head chef: Adnan Nababteh
Typical menu: Georgia cheeses, aubergine and walnuts, followed by grilled sturgeon fillets and bittersweet chocolate cake.
Need to know: The restaurant capitalises on panoramic views of the Black Sea.
Batumi is Georgia’s hottest new seaside resort, and the Sheraton has rushed there to meet the crowds. It’s the chain’s second hotel in Georgia, and its first in the port town. Former Starwood executive chef, Nababteh, cooks up a Georgian feast using local vegetables, walnuts and sulguni cheese, but given the city’s subtropical climate guests might be more tempted by the seafood and Greek-style salads he has designed. The restaurant comes into its own at night when the views of the city are at their most impressive.
Château de Mery, Mery-sur Oise, France
Head chef: Franck Reisser
Typical menu: Tuna tartare, veal and pommes Dauphinoises followed by fruit sablé
Need to know: French kings Charles V, Francis and Henry IV have all stayed at Mery.
This refurbished chateau is just 30 minutes out of Paris by train, making it the perfect weekend getaway for tired urbanites. Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet oversaw the contemporary design and bright décor for the hotel’s refit. The restaurant is more like a bistro than a luxury restaurant, with seats in rich berry colours. The open-air terrace sits up against the hotel’s woodland, where guests are cradled in a blue copper mesh ‘dining room’ with a panoramic ‘window’ cut into its side. The hotel bar pursues the ultra-modern theme where guests can sip their drinks by lanternlight, perched up next to the concrete bar.
Björk @ The Courtyard, Stockholm, Sweden
Head chef: Daniel Krondahl
Open date: June
Typical menu: Spanish-influenced Swedish.
Need to know: ‘björk’ is Swedish for birch tree.
Restaurant designer Henry Chebaane previously worked for Sir Terence Conran, Pierre Cardin and the Savoy. Now the creative and managing director of Blue Sky Hospitality, his latest design is the new bar and grill at the Courtyard. The birch wood theme carries through the decor, from tree trunks to moss and lichen, and creates a miniature forest in the urban loft space. Krondahl, the head chef, has always worked in Scandinavian cuisine and before joining the Courtyard, was the executive chef for Nordic Hotels. The menu uses plenty of local and seasonal ingredients, right down to the sparkling wine made with tree sap. Now guests can experience the Nordic food revival in a playful tree-lined restaurant.