It is Safer Gambling Week (13th – 19th November 2023) and I decided to visit a restaurant below a casino where they have launched a new menu.
Located in the historic heart of Mayfair, the building that houses Crown London dates to the 17th century. Once fondly known as The White Elephant Club, this private dining institution was the place to be and frequented by Hollywood stars and high society. We were greeted by a brass elephant on the front step; a beautiful nod to the past, whilst embracing the present and welcoming in the future.
As this is a private members club, it took quite a few minutes in reception to register on their iPad, join the Aspinall’s membership and to prove my identity. My guest did find this a bit disconcerting until at the end of the next final enrolment pages, we were told that this could have all been completed online before we arrived. I hadn’t brought my Passport or Driving Licence, but my guest did, and she was cleared for the dining room before me. I followed behind her to the warmest of welcomes, first from the bar manager who proffered an aperitif or cocktail and then the Restaurant Manager who so welcoming, it felt like coming home.
It was a cold crisp evening and we elected to be shown straight to the table. We like round tables, and the seating was extremely comfortable. Our serviettes were immediately placed onto our laps, a refreshing warm towel was provided and still water chosen, before a warm breadbasket arrived, and menus placed before us. My guest’s handbag was given a special sofa stool much to her delight so that she wouldn’t have to lean far to grab her mobile phone.
The dining room was extremely visually attractive as there had been Diwali celebrations the night before. There were more elephants, striking coloured parasols and a variety of spotlights. We hadn’t seen any food yet, but I sensed that it was going to be featuring on Instagram before too long and her handbag was within easy reach.
As my guest was driving, she elected to have a refreshing blackberry mocktail. There was a debate about whether she preferred sweet or bitter, and when it arrived in all its glory, a punnet of blackberry’s was presented to show the freshness from the hand-picked blackberry bush. It tasted divine until I ordered a glass of Bourgogne Pinot Noir Maison Nuiton-Beaunoy 2020. This was so smooth and chilled.
Our orders were taken, and the starters arrived promptly. Asparagus soup, poached egg, toasted almonds, black truffle and Devon crab with avocado and lemongrass dressing. The mobile phone camera came out the handbag before we had a chance to savour and savour, we did. The asparagus soup was silken green, and my guest found the egg delicious. I requested some extra lemon but to be fair, the crab had the citrus fruit infused together with chilli.
After a short pause in which we discussed our new favourite place, the mains arrived. My guest had selected a Sirloin steak served medium with sweet miso sauce and grilled hispi cabbage. She wasn’t a fan of the cabbage, but I tasted it, and found that it was sweeter than others and served with a grilled gratin. I ordered the beef cheek, which is one of my favourite dishes. It was served with a celeriac purée, a leek and mushroom croquette. The Barolo 34 sauce was poured around the edge of the plate. I was pleased that we didn’t order any potatoes in preference to two side dishes, a Lebanese salad, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, mint with pomegranate dressing and grilled vegetables with a rosemary dressing. I chose another glass of red wine and enjoyed the Château Garraud Lalande de Pomerol 2016.
For puddings, Ginger & lime crème brûlée and Pistachio Lamington with cherry ripple ice cream followed. We were both in heaven and sipped mint tea at the end of the meal. I asked to see the Head Chef and thanked him for the feast.
As we left the exquisite taste of both deserts lingered on. I imagined that it was better than winning at the roulette table. Let’s talk about Safer Gambling. We never saw a croupier.