A fish-focused menu at the Northall is the start of the transformation of the Corinthia Hotel London restaurant, spearheaded by new executive chef André Garrett. Janet Harmer checks it out
After a five-year stint in the countryside, award-winning chef André Garrett is delighted to be back in the capital as executive chef of the five-red-AA star, 283-bedroom Corinthia Hotel London.
Having undertaken the same role at the five-red-AA-star, 48-bedroom Cliveden House in Taplow, Berkshire, since 2013, Garrett is now getting to grips with a more substantial remit, which involves overseeing all F&B operations across the hotel, apart from Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, opened by two-Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge in partnership with Corinthia last September.
Garrett says he is excited to be part of a repositioning of the hotel, which includes the arrival of Kerridge’s, the relaunch of the Bassoon bar and creation of new suites, that has been ongoing since the arrival of Thomas Kochs as managing director of the Corinthia two years ago.
“Thomas wants the whole place to sing and I knew that I could have an impact,” he explains. “To become executive chef of a leading London five-star hotel is a huge opportunity.”
Alongside looking after banqueting (including the ballroom for up to 200 guests), room service, afternoon tea, bar food, the spa and the garden lounge, it is in the 86-cover Northall restaurant where Garrett’s culinary creativity is being fully showcased. Since his arrival, the eaterie has been given a culinary overhaul, with the introduction of a lighter menu focused on fish and seafood to act as a point of difference from the meat-heavy offering in Kerridge’s Bar & Grill.
The Northall menus now include an à la carte option, supplemented by a set menu, with a choice of three dishes at each course, available at lunch and pre- and post-theatre for £24 for two courses or £28 for three.
These dishes may be lighter, but they all pack a punch in flavour: among them Orkney scallop, potato, lime and vanilla (£10), and grilled langoustine, miso and citrus emulsion (£11).
Diners at the Northall will experience a continuation of what Garrett was doing at Cliveden, reflecting the classical French style of cooking in which he became immersed during 13 years working alongside Chris Galvin, initially at Orrery restaurant and then at Galvin at Windows at the London Hilton at Park Lane. However, he is not averse to providing a modern twist to provide the diner with something that is “elegant and delightful”.
For instance, his take on the Escoffier-inspired main of fillet of turbot grenobloise, (£35) featuring a butter-based sauce of capers and lemon, is accompanied by girolles and watercress gnocchi.
“For the grenobloise, I take salted capers and fry them until crisp, then I peel the lemon and confit the skin in a light syrup to remove the bitterness. I finish the dish with the zest of the unwaxed lemon to lift it with freshness. Finally, I add some fresh parsley leaves, keeping them whole for impact.”
Sauce Maltaise – essentially a blood orange hollandaise – which is paired with fillet of hake, peas and broccoli purée (£30), features pink grapefruit in place of the orange. “The grapefruit provides a different twist; it’s slightly more acidic and balances well with the fish,” explains Garrett. “I also use noisette butter in the hollandaise sauce to give a more luxurious and rounded flavour.”
The menu is not solely devoted to fish, however, with the likes of lamb en croûte, broad bean, artichoke and smoked garlic (£70 for two) being one of two main course choices for meat lovers.
Garrett has remained loyal to suppliers from his Cliveden days: John Godden of Flying Fish Seafoods in Cornwall leads the way, alongside Mash Purveyors for fruit and vegetables, Lake District Farmers for beef and Rhug Estate in Denbighshire for lamb and venison.
Pastry chef Loic Carbonnet oversees the dessert selection, which includes a refined version of rhubarb and custard featuring a silky-smooth baked custard served with vanilla crumble, poached rhubarb and Muscat jelly (£12).
While Garrett, who heads a brigade of 46, is focused on bedding down the new menu, other changes are afoot for the Northall. A new name is on the horizon and, come the autumn, a light refurbishment of the restaurant will take place. Watch this space.
From the menu
• Grilled white asparagus, morel, wild garlic and brown butter £15
• Lobster bisque, broad beans, tarragon and Cognac £14
• Fillet of hake, pea, broccoli purée with sauce Maltaise £30
• Baked semolina gnocchi, pea, morel and truffle pesto £26
• Fillet of Lake District Farm beef, pressed potato, braised shallot with bourguignon £40
• Hazelnut and citrus tartlet, yuzu jam with kaffir lime leaf sorbet £12
• Pink Lady apple terrine, puff pastry and spiced apple sorbet £12
• Jivara 40% milk chocolate-cappuccino mousse, vanilla sable with cocoa nib foam £12
Photography: Jodi Hinds
The Northall, Corinthia Hotel London,
10a Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5AE