#1. I have a toptable account. I signed up when I first moved to London because my friends were telling me about this awesome website where you make restaurant reservations, get points for eating out and redeem free dinners with said points! 110% no strings attached. I started making all my reservations through toptable and within months I’d earned myself a free dinner for two at the otherwise pricey No. 5 Cavendish Square. Cool, right? And since then I’ve had numerous free (earned) meals and am today still a big fat happy user of toptable.

#2. I have an American Express credit card. I use it a lot. I get lots of points. I got myself an awesome KitchenAid blender with points. Rock on.

So, errr, why am I telling you all this?

Well, it so happens that toptable and American Express have gone into food-bizness together and after much time spent behind closed doors, they are now ready to reveal their new baby, Top Treats. Basically it’s a little something extra for American Express Cardmembers, who will receive double Rewards and Top Treats points for all bookings made through the Top Treats.

Extra Bonus Points! I like extra bonus anythings that can get me a free meal 😀

Anyway, Top Treats will run until the end of the year, so if you have an American Express, get booking now. They have some pretty awesome deals, such as a £19.50 meal for two plus a glass of wine at Le Pont de la Tour and even the Michelin starred Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, which I checked out last Friday night.

To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t heard a lot about Hélène Darroze at the Connaught before, although I don’t know why, now that I’ve been. Despite the overly grand dining room, the staff were relaxed and friendly and I expected the meal to be good, but it was more than good. It was outstanding. Like I compared it to The Ledbury sort of outstanding.

We ordered the £85 tasting menu, and it went a little something like…

Shaved serrano ham and carrot mini muffins ~ just to nibble on… and…

Cauliflower velouté ~ rich and sweet, I eyed off all the other tiny shot glasses they were sending out. There was a real chance I was going to hijack a few more.

“Fine de Claire” oyster tartare, caviar from Sologne, chilled velouté of white beans from Béam ~ the pristine presentation of this course was insane! I worked out (I think) that the oysters had been made into two layers, the bottom layer which was pungent and intense, and the black jelly-fied layer, all in complete contrast and complementary to the white bean velouté and caviar.

Cep ravioli with Basque ham, Lardo di Colonnata, walnuts, poultry roasting jus & garlic emulsion ~ two fat ravioli, ceps and escargot, covered in garlic foam! Garlic foam. I’d have a party in that.

Black & creamy Carnaroli Acquarello rice, calamari sautéed with confit tomato & chorizo, slightly bitter jus with parsley & parmegianno foam ~ this dish actually tasted delicious but don’t order it on a first date! The black rice gave us very black teeth, though nothing a little slushing of wine can’t fix 😉

Poached seabass with kombu, creamy marinière of mussels, girolles and baby leaves of spinach, perfumed with ginger & lemongrass ~ my favourite course (and photo!) of the night. I was a bit over the foam by this stage, but the perfectly cooked seabass and creamy muscle broth won me over. Delicious and I might even add, healthy!

Pink roasted grouse, flambéed “au Capucin”, grilled duck foie gras, autumn fruits & vegetables with Mexican molé ~ my least favourite course of the night because I don’t like grouse 🙁 gamey and blech. I ate every mouthful with a decent slathering of foie gras though, which made it bearable.

Golden delicious apple compote, clafoutis biscuit, Granny Smith sorbet with black Sarawak pepper cream ~ I’m always happy when dessert rolls around and this didn’t let me down. Aside from saying to Panu “oh the pepper comes from where my mum comes from”, I also mumbled something about OMGDELICIOUS and then ignored him for the rest of the course.

Roasted hazelnut pralinè mousse, chocolate cream with lemon & thyme foam ~ hazelnut mousse, what’s not to like? At first I didn’t think the lemon & thyme foam (yeah, again with the foam) was going to work but it cut through the rich chocolate cream and really, I should just trust a Michelin starred chef, no?

Petit Fours! Dark chocolate & raspberry macaron; milk chocolate truffle; salted caramel toffee; marshmallow ~ there were actually a few more to select from but I was stuffed. Couldn’t even handle another teeny weeny itsy bitsy deliciousness.

So, overall I can say there was an abundance of foam and while I do think that foam is a little showy, it didn’t hinder any of the dishes and that is probably the important thing. Panu and I were both utterly impressed with the meal (aside from the grouse but I think that’s more because of me, not you, Mr Grouse) and although each dish came with complicated fancy names, what counts is what goes in the food hole right? And all that ended happily 🙂

Anyway, go check out Top Treats! and get points! 😉

Hélène Darroze at the Connaught
Carlos Place,
Mayfair, W1K 2AL
0207 499 7070

Hélène Darroze at the Connaught on Urbanspoon

* I was invited to Hélène Darroze at the Connaught by Top Treats

12 Thoughts on “Top Treating myself with a little foam & fancy! Hélène Darroze at the Connaught

  1. I have been wanting to try Helene Darroze at the Connaught for while. Your meal looks divine.

  2. A bit off-topic but I bumped into David Beckham, Posh Spice and their kids at the Connaught, a few years ago. It was on the day, he was collecting his OBE and the family Becks were having a celebratory meal.

    I was on a works do and was a bit tipsy but I was still too frightened to say hi but I did nod at Becks, whilst trying not to catch the evil eye of Posh.

    Anyway, this has sod all to do with Helen Darroze at the Connaught, as Angela Hartnett had her name above the door in those days. But your meal reminded me of that day, not just because it was at The Connaught but because I reckon Posh would’ve loved all that foam!

  3. Greedy Diva: I would totally recommend it. Every course (except the grouse) was really great and the service is easy going and friendly. Happily spent 3 hours there 🙂

    Mr Noodles: LOL awesome story! 😀 and Posh would have totally loved all that foam hahaha… you crack me up 🙂

  4. OH this looks YUM! I’ve been to Helene Darroze in Paris and it was absolutely fantastic – that was a couple of years ago and I NEED to go to her London pad! Lovely pics, as always 🙂

  5. Christine on November 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm said:

    That food looks amazing, especially the dessert!
    Great pics as awlays 🙂

  6. Ok I have two amexs (oops I just love the points!) so think I had better get onto this. By the way the meal looks amazing!

  7. The Little Welsh: Ooooh I’d love to check out her Paris restaurant, she got a Michelin star there first!

    Christine: Thanks! Both desserts were awesome… the sorbet with the apple one worked *SO* well.

    Gourmet Chick: LOL I have two too!! But I was too ashamed to blog that out loud 😀

  8. Glad you liked it – I had pretty mixed feelings about the experience as a whole (staff were really odd on the night we ate there), but the girl can obviously cook. Just nothing seemed really extraordinary no our visit for a restaurant of its stature.

    (If you’re curious, my take: http://wp.me/pwXBH-y5).



  9. Oh, and nice pics! 😉

    • Oh that’s too bad! I have to say one of the best things were the staff, they were so friendly and chatty, I loved it 🙂 and all the food tasted *amazing*

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