Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Terrace Restaurant @ Le Meridien Hotel

"Your mum would like this," said John, looking around approvingly, as we dined in a hotel restaurant last year.  "Why?" I asked, suspiciously, my fork poised halfway to my mouth.  "Because it's in a hotel," he said.  I realized he was right: my mom has a real penchant for hotel fine dining.  As does her mother - on every trip to Hong Kong, my grandma insists on taking me to lunch at her favorite hotel in Hong Kong, which consists of an all-you-can-eat buffet of Chinese, Western and Japanese food, including a noodle and congee bar, where a chef in a crisp white uniform and chef's hat makes soup noodles to your exact liking.  So it runs in the family.

In attempt to "celebrate" our five and a half year anniversary (yes, we celebrate halves - deal with it) yesterday, John and I had originally planned a nice dinner at Bluebird, one of our favorites, in Chelsea.  But the thought of getting there (it's not the most convenient of places to get to and there's no parking nearby) was making us feel lazier by the second.  So instead of dreading our dinner, I decided to cancel our reservation and book the first Toptable deal I came across, which happened to be for The Terrace Restaurant at Le Meridien Hotel in Piccadilly - a 17-minute tube ride away (and a short enough distance from the station to the restaurant for me to navigate in heels).

I was sold by their high windows and glass ceiling, seduced by the idea of eating outside, without actually having to be outside.  The hotel itself was gorgeous - grand, but simultaneously understated, with modern furniture and decor.  I wouldn't mind staying there (if I win the lottery anytime soon).  As we filed into the restaurant on the second floor, I was struck by its coolness, despite being under greenhouse-like glass.  I was a little conscious of the fact that we were by far, the youngest diners there, but it didn't put me off, as the staff was as courteous and warm to us as any of the other guests.

I was particularly impressed by our waitress, who switched seamlessly between perfect French, German and English among different tables and unimpressed by the people who rocked up in denim shorts and baggy jeans.  Shudder. 

As for the food, we had booked the Toptable offer for 50% off our food bill, so the menu was our oyster, so to speak.  I had pork cutlets with butternut squash (creatively served in stacked parcels of paper-thin slices) as my main and an apple and blackberry crumble with vanilla ice cream for dessert.  Both were delicious, but the pork was ever-so-slightly overcooked and the crumble was ever-so-slightly watery.  We finished with an espresso each and the bill, which was perfectly fair.

If I were you, looking for a nice place to cool off on a hot summer evening, I'd book The Terrace.  It's swanky without being stuffy, delicious and delightful.  Dressing up isn't compulsory, but don't show up in jeans.  It's just ... wrong.

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