Much like Prince William, Wimpy and my hair; there are loads of things in London that were considered to have reached their peak back in 2004. Why? Because it takes something pretty special to keep on top, but also to thrive in the face of newer, potentially trendier competition.
Doing exactly that though, is the often-overlooked but ever-luxurious The Restaurant at Sanderson.
When you take into consideration this place is found within one of Central London’s most popular boutique hotels and is a recommended location of London Fashion Week, using the word ‘overlooked’ might come across just a touch over the top. But damn it I stick by it; the bulk of press and accolades are often attributed to the sister and on-site Purple and Long Bars, over the equally as visit-worthy restaurant.
Entering into the restaurant – specifically out to their covered courtyard area – it’s difficult to see why. With a beautiful botanical and light feature separating the restaurant and bar spaces, you’re treated to a cool-but-luxe feel no matter what your table position. It was a relatively balmy night on our visit, but you'll notice outdoor heaters which I’m sure come into play later on in the year. Eating outside in London is a welcomed novelty; and that has to be a key feature here. Not only that though, as the menu and hotel's style give an indication to, the restaurant is as elegant as it is modern. It’s been around a while (compared to many, anyway), but its individual style is found on the tables, the fixtures and even in the Willy Wonka-green stairway to the toilets - it's a constantly evolving space. As much of a place to celebrate special occasions as it is to enjoy a romantic meal for two amidst twinkling lights and beautifully-presented plates; this restaurant uses every aspect of its experience to create a captivating dining experience.
From the warm welcome in the chic lobby to the attention throughout the meal; the service is friendly, professional and not stuffy in the slightest. The menu is on the pricier side, and where some restaurants of this calibre fall foul by making their guests uncomfortable with an over-arching vibe of pretension, The Restaurant at Sanderson relish in the experience of luxurious dining, and it’s every bit as important as the food. As such the ambience was relaxed, inclusive and attracts a mixed, and seemingly-content crowd.
The dishes served at the Sanderson are that of continental and British-inspired cuisine. Smaller plates are meshed with larger dishes to create a relatively-eclectic offering. On recommendation we started with a few small plates to share to get things going; smoked haddock arancini with curried mayonnaise (£6), crispy kale chips with alioli (£4) and the crumbed beef shins with horseradish (£6). Daintily-sized dishes packed with big flavours, all were delicious but the beef shins were stand-out; dense with bolshie tones, and perfectly complemented with the pea mayo and horseradish – it felt like a bit of a wildcard order, but one you should go for if you head down yourself. For the main I plumped for the roasted wild seabass with fresh peas and English cured bacon (£19); perhaps ever so-slightly under-seasoned, the combination of flavours mixed together were great, and surprisingly filling too. The pretty portions give an illusion of signature fine-dining (aka, small), but on reflection they’re plenty enough combined with the other nit-bits you’re likely to order. Desserts come in the form of rich, classic-with-a-twist treats; and following our waiter’s gleaming reco, I opted for the Sanderson’s signature mocha parfait cup (£6); a deliciously-oozy sweet, served with salted caramel sauce and coffee crème anglaise, and a perfect finale to the meal.
From the a la mode décor to the service, the food to the enviable courtyard setting; there’s undoubtedly something magical about The Restaurant at Sanderson. Fusing modern influences with a classic approach to dining, it’s easy to see why this place is so popular, and why it’s likely to remain so too.