With a suited and booted doorman to get the door for you, a Queen mural bench adorned with stunning flowers, and a Union Jack flag flying above the entrance, Whitcomb’s restaurant at The Londoner Hotel arguably rivals the experience you get as you enter Harrods or the Ritz – and it’s all located slap bang in the middle of Leicester Square. How’s that for a prime location? I ventured to Whitcomb’s to check it out for myself; read on for my review of The Londoner Hotel restaurant.
Once the doorman has guided you into the five-star hotel building, you’ll be welcomed into a pink velveteen hotel reception, dressed with magnificent art, including an enormous, golden, spherical moon (face of the infamous ‘man in the moon’ included), and mannequin busts modelling ornate feathered headgear. As I passed this in awe, I could only imagine what was to come in the restaurant.
Whitcomb’s is equally lush and decadent, with more striking artwork; gold crockery, single-lined illustrations, and monochrome fashion photographs. The room’s centre hosts two marble tables draped with various potted herbs and wine, which gives the impression you’re in a restaurant in the Mediterranean. As you look up, above your head is a huge Picasso-style ceiling installation that mirrors the illustrations you walk past as you enter. The room is lit with large golden spherical lights, and subtle jazz piano plays in the background.
We went for their signature cocktail, ‘Arrivee’, which tastes like a classier version of an Aperol Spritz. It’s made with Lillet Blanc, sweet elderflower cordial, orange bitters and prosecco, with a beautiful flower balanced on top. We followed these with the cool and subtly fruity white wine 0 Gavi di Gavi, which paired well with the rich meat and fish we ordered.
The menu feels immediately French, with dishes like escargots, filet mignon and entrecote grillee; however, you see the influences of other cuisines when you look a little closer too – the menu is contemporary French Mediterranean. As you read on, you’ll notice it is Italian in dishes such as carpaccio, gnocchi and linguine, and Greek too in the calamari and octopus.
We ordered three starters to share: yellowtail carpaccio with miso salt; lemony steak tartare encased in a parmesan crisp shell; and (as we were feeling adventurous), the garlic parsley butter escargot. While the escargot was delicious, the yellowtail carpaccio takes first place for me: the sashimi-style raw fish, the miso salt, the lime, and a hint of truffle, all packed a huge punch of flavour.
For mains, Whitcomb recommends you order a pasta dish or salad with two mains to share, so we went for seafood and chose the linguine with lobster – and by God, what a start! Glossy, buttery sauce, and a hint of spice, balanced against sweet juicy tomatoes, combined with tender lobster and silky linguine. This dish was absolutely superb. What followed was rather impressive too: melt-in-the-mouth filet mignon was seared to perfection, and went beautifully with the rosemary-infused potato frites, and pan-fried sea bass with white wine, shallots and lemon.
For dessert, we chose the mille-feuille, which was a combination of rich dark chocolate, Chantilly crème, and candied mandarin confiture. It felt particularly decadent. We also followed with beignets (hey, we needed to review Whitcomb’s restaurant in all its glory), which as a doughnut fiend, I found to be hearty, sweet and filling. The beignets come with delightful dipping sauces, including dulce de leche, dark chocolate, and salted caramel.
The service was flawless. The attention to detail and ornate subtleties are what made this dining experience so special. For example, the cocktail menu offers suggestions of food to pair your drink with, and the immaculate servers never let your drink (water or wine) fall below half full. The food came quickly each time, delivered by two wait staff who were slick and professional.
To summarise this review of Whitcomb’s restaurant, the food and service were immaculate and made you feel very special. If you’d like to experience this luxury for a lower price, Whitcomb’s offers an affordable pre-theatre menu, which includes select dishes from the a la carte menu, two courses for £34, or three for £39.
Whitcomb's at The Londoner Hotel