Theo-riffic: Rustic Italian fare at Theo Randall at the Intercontinental
Despite their international reputations, many celebrity chefs don’t spend too much time at their namesake restaurant. Fortunately, for the world-renowned Theo Randall, this does not apply. At his restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel on Hyde Park Corner, Theo is very much present, making sure the food lives up to his name.
For my recent birthday, I decided to book a TopTable deal at Theo Randall for five people on a Thursday night. Italian is one of my favourite cuisines which I cook often at home, but rarely dine at Italian restaurants because I like to be cooked something I can’t make at home. Well, I can say for sure I would not have dared cook my delicious main course I ended up eating – I doubt it would have come out well at all!
Arriving at Theo Randall through the hotel lobby, we were directed to a light, airy room with low lighting giving a relaxed feel. Given that after a big plate of pasta you may feel in a bit of a food coma, this lighting set the mood perfectly. After being shown to our large table and comfortable chairs, we were greeted by our friendly waiter, who gave us lots of information about the menu, specials and wine list.
We all opted for the TopTable deal, which although limited, has a contrasting variety of choices. For £27, you had 2 courses, a glass of prosecco and a dessert platter to share, which included slices of cheesecake, chocolate cake and Amalfi lemon tart. To start I opted for a green bean salad with lashings of parmesan, which was delicious and I felt super healthy eating so many greens. For my main, I chose a risotto with monkfish, salmon and squid, which really worked well together and was very tasty indeed.
Unlike many restaurants of this standard, the portions were incredibly generous. I personally struggled to finish my risotto. We all have sweet tooths, but found it quite funny that between the five of us we could barely manage the dessert platter. All three desserts were delicious, but we were way too full.
Although it was my birthday, I hadn’t mentioned this to the restaurant at all as I don’t like a fuss with singing, etc, but after seeing me opening presents and cards from family members, it was pretty obvious it was my special day. Sensing my desire for a low-key birthday, the waiter simply brought a plate of truffles for me with ‘happy birthday’ written in chocolate sauce which was a very sweet thing to do.
Theo said is his mission statement for the restaurant that he hates ‘formality and pretence’ and he certainly avoided both at his restaurant. While evidently a higher class of restaurant, the ambiance was relaxed and friendly and you felt comfortable chatting over the leisurely meal. While the TopTable deal was very good, those who want to order straight off the menu will be pleasantly surprised to see the prices a lot lower than you would expect on Park Lane.
- Theo Randall at The Intercontinental. 1 Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London W1J 7QY. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner.
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