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A Night Out At The Savoy Hotel

A Night Out At The Savoy Hotel

A night out at The Savoy Hotel mostly spent at Kaspar’s Seafood Restaurant.  We could have started the evening with a cocktail at the world-famous American Bar or ended our meal with a night cap in the art-deco Beaufort Bar … keep reading to find out more about this wonderful central London gem.

It’s the only road here in the UK you can drive on the left.  Yes, people. The Savoy Hotel on The Strand in the heart of London.   You know you’re in for a treat in both luxury and service, at least, when you see the Lalique crystal fountain and top-hat doffing doormen at the grand entrance.

A Night Out At The Savoy Hotel

As you walk through the hotel foyer, the first thing you notice is the beautiful flower displays, and this is the start of many.

A Night Out At The Savoy Hotel

Kaspar’s is a wonderful seafood bar at the rear of The Savoy Hotel in London. For those not in the know, this London institution has hosted royalty and world leaders to legends of the stage and screen. If only the walls could talk, I’d be there for hours.

The legend of Kaspar

For almost 90 years the Hotel has offered dining parties of thirteen the company of Kaspar the Cat. Thankfully, not a real puss but a statue created by the architect Basil Ionides in 1926. Kaspar sits on ‘unlucky’ tables with a napkin around his neck, a full place-setting before him, ready to enjoy every course served. Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill is the former River Restaurant and named after the ‘cat’.

Celebrations

August is an expensive month for me; it’s my birthday and my Mum’s. She loves seafood, we’ve eaten at Kaspar’s in the past and sat at their art deco bar which takes up the middle of the huge room. This time, we’re treated to a table close to the River, at the back of the Restaurant, and get to glimpse the Thames through the huge trees which also provide a screen for the bedrooms above us.

Kaspar’s Seafood Restaurant

Champagne for Mum and me, the house is Louis Roederer (£18.50), so we were in great company. Mr settled for a glass of house white wine, La Loupe (£9.50), a white Grenache with white fruits and fruity notes which worked well with his starter.

A Night Out At The Savoy Hotel

Service here is attentive, not at all imposing.  Our waiter Ryan always had the right answer to our questions and a lovely smile.

Gorgeous sourdough arrived with soft cheese and butter, brown and white.

A Night Out At The Savoy Hotel

The starters were superb, but after I scanned the menu, I knew that it would be a large main course. Mr was the only one who opted for a starter but boy what a starter

The lobster and crab bisque was everything and more (£18.00).

Seafood

Mum chose the Fruits de Mer Platter (£39.00) for her main course.  Sadly, my picture was blurry.  A crushed ice platter arrived with four oysters, four huge prawns, white crab meat and two fat scallops.  Mum ordered a side of skinny fries (£5.00). Excellent value.

I had the Atlantic cod fish and chips (£20.00) which is one of the tastiest plates of food I’ve had in a while. A huge piece of cod in the lightest batter had been fried and crisped to perfection. When cut large flakes of cod fell onto the plate, only to be stopped by a pea crush and thin whippet fries.

A Night Out At The Savoy Hotel

Mr chose Halibut, prawns and chorizo (£39.00) with a side of new potatoes (£5.00).  There’s not much needed when you get the best quality products into your kitchen. As a chef, all you need to do is know how to cook them.  And the chefs at Kaspar’s certainly have the skills.  He fancied a glass of white wine to work well with the fish.   A super crisp Domaine de l’Eglantiere arrived, a little steep at (£18.50) but Mr said it was well worth it and was the perfect compliment to his Halibut.

A Night Out At The Savoy Hotel

We looked at each other, beaten by the portions. No room for dessert.

There was, however, a Happy Birthday lollipop and a few iced bonbons which we managed to force down. I have no idea if Mum got it home in one piece, but she insisted on taking home her lollipop as a reminder of her beautiful evening.

A Night Out At The Savoy Hotel

The total for our meal, including 12.5% service (£23.38), was £210.38 (£61.00 was alcohol), which included free still and sparkling mineral water.

As we leave, we poke our nose into the shop and see the Chocolatier hard at work, beautiful works of art too by The Biscuiteers who have recreated the uniform of the mixologists at the world-famous American Bar and the Savoy Cocktail Book.

A Night Out At The Savoy Hotel

We say goodbye to the Hotel and Kaspar, the huge topiary cat, keeping an eye on proceedings outside his home.

A Night Out At The Savoy Hotel

Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill‎, The Savoy, Strand, London, WC2R 0EU+44 (0) 20 7420 2111.

Cherry & Walnut Brownie Recipe - with Colombian Panela

Cherry and Walnut Brownie Recipe

Panela is organic dried sugar cane juice, collected by crushing peeled sugar cane in a mill.  Used in the place of regular sugar, it worked a treat in this squidgy, cherry and walnut brownie recipe.

cherry and walnut brownie recipe

Process

Freshly harvested sugar cane is pressed in small Colombian family run farms known as ‘trapiches’, and the juice is cold-filtered, evaporated in a cauldron over a fire using the sugar cane husks as fuel. The liquid is boiled until it produces a thick caramel-like consistency where it’s poured into square block moulds to set.  When it’s compact and solid, it becomes an essential kitchen ingredient. Ground into a fine powder it’s convenient for use on porridge, sprinkled on yoghurt and adds a rich, moist texture to baked products.

Comparison

I compared the Panela with other sugars in the store cupboard, and it did come out on top, having slightly fewer calories and carbs than both granulated white sugar and unrefined dark brown soft cane sugar.

cherry and walnut brownie recipe

The results were excellent, and while chocolate brownies aren’t a great example of a low-calorie treat, the Panela did a good job where caster sugar was required.

This has walnuts; I know that Nigel Slater says nuts get in the way, but I like the texture.  This recipe gives brownies with a thin crust, a centre somewhere between melted chocolate and bog mud, with walnut and cherry pieces for contrast.  Making full use of the glut of cherries in season now.

Cherry & Walnut Brownie Recipe

Ingredients

130g butter
150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
55g cherries
55g walnuts
225g Colombian Panela – I used Hasslacher’s
55g cocoa powder
75g plain flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Line a 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.  Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or the microwave on a low setting to melt.  De-stone the cherries and roughly chop them along with the walnuts. Stir into the melted chocolate.  In another bowl, add the sugar, then sift in the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder. Add to the melted chocolate mixture and stir well.  Beat the eggs and mix in.  Transfer the mixture to the tin, then bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool before cutting into squares.

cherry and walnut brownie recipe

cherry and walnut brownie recipe