Wandering through the residential streets of South Kensington on a bitter cold evening, before being greeted a black facade, that is the Blakes Hotel. Blending into the up-scale neighbourhood, Blakes isn’t a hotel that likes to stand out from the exterior, because all the worthwhile gems reside inside. Entering out of the cold, you’re greeted with a gush of warm air and an equally warm welcome from the front of house staff.
Arriving 45 minutes to our dinner reservation at the restaurant, we decided to perch at the bar and start our evening with a couple of cocktails. I personally loved the modern interiors with the classic touches. The bar overlooked the restaurant, that was filled with white candle lit tables and glistening wine glasses. It definitely made me excited to have dinner in there, especially after hearing great feedback about the food from friends.
Perusing the menu, there was so many unique cocktail choices, but I narrowed it down to the ‘Tokyo Drift’, which was made with Belvedere vodka, St Germain liqueur, Lemongrass, Aloe Vera, Lime Juice and a touch of Agave. It was a refreshing cocktail, with lovely sweet and tangy notes because of the lime juice and agave. My dinner date and best friend, Sofia, ordered a ‘BB Martini’, which was made with Diplimatico rum, Galliano Ristretto coffee liqueur, Mozart dark chocolate liquor, vanilla syrup & a shot of espresso.
After we seated, we opted for a bottle of white wine, Cantine Belisario – a lovely dry full-bodied wine with aromas of honey and lemon, which continued into the taste with the addition of green apple. It was very easy to drink and accompanied all the dishes we were going to have throughout our meal.
Slowly sipping on wine, Sofia and I came to firm conclusions on what we wanted to order for our starters and mains. The issue we were having was that everything sounded so delicious – we even found ourselves salivating as we read the menu out to each other.
The plus side about the service at Blakes Restaurant is that the service is so fast and attentive, so we didn’t have to wait as long as we expected for our food to arrive. Always a plus point for two hungry foodies, after a long day.
I ordered the Delica Pumpkin Ravioli that was served in Fontina Cheese Fondue and garnished with chestnut shavings and sage. The parcels of pasta were perfectly al dente with a delicious soft and creamy pumpkin filling. Dipping each bite into the cheese fondue was just heavenly, balancing out the sweet pumpkin with a slightly savoury cheese. Absolutely divine!
The menu has vast amounts of seafood options, which is great if you love seafood, like Sofia. She was debating between getting the soft shell crab, sashimi platter and the fish tartare, all sounding so appealing to her. However, she went with her initial choice of the soft shell crab with Nam Jim, a creamy coriander dressing. The dish certainly didn’t disappoint either and went down a treat.
With clear plates all round, it was time to move onto our main course. Perfectly timed, coming out just under ten minutes after we finished our starters, giving us a suitable amount of time between each course.
The main courses were a no brainer for Sofia and I. As a meat fiend, I had to go for the 300g Surrey Farm Grass-fed Rib Eye steak. The waiter suggested for it to be medium-well and was concerned that it may be overcooked if I had it well done. As a person that regularly orders well done steaks, I knew if the quality of the steak was good, it wouldn’t be an issue. Sticking with my choice of well done, I was very happy with the steak on arrival. Perfectly cooked, presently beautifully and it was extremely succulent and juicy, just the way I like it.
A steak isn’t the same without a naughty helping of chips to accompany it, but when I spotted the mushroom and truffle side on the menu – I just had to order that too. I can’t say no to anything that has truffle in it!
Sofia ordered the Lobster Paccheri Pasta with cherry tomatoes and garlic. A dish that boasted many delicious aromas, it was well seasoned complete with a generous helping of al dente pasta and lobster throughout the dish, it got a massive thumbs up from Sofia.
We were both so full after so much indulgent and flavoursome food, we could have easily skipped dessert. Except, the word on the street is that the desserts at Blakes Restaurant are pretty delectable. Naturally, we had to put the word to the test and try it out for ourselves. Both desserts we ordered were based on the recommendation of a dear friend and a brilliant recommendation it was too.
The first dessert was the Sicilian Lemon Tart with Raspberry Sorbet. The lemon filling was perfectly tangy with a crunchy top and the tart was buttery and crisp to perfection.
The Ferrero Rocher with chocolate mousse, hazelnut & feuilletine had to be my favourite though. It perfectly mimicked a Ferrero Rocher chocolate in dessert form, even to the nutty outer and perfectly coated outer, resembling the package the chocolates come in.
When you’re full from good food and quality alcohol, you need to finish off in the right way, with a nightcap or two. The late night bar, Blakes Below is one of London’s best kept secrets with an in-house DJ, you’ll be finishing the night on a high.
The ambience is perfect; dimly lit with neon signs, booth seating and draping curtains. You will be in for a treat, with some fantastic cocktail and champagnes to choose from.
Sofia and I started with a classic cocktail, a Pornstar Martini before moving onto a glass of well deserved Laurent Perrier Champagne. Another delight having up to scratch knowledge on Champagne from my recent trip to the Champagne region.
What an evening! From start to finish, we were so well looked after by the staff at Blakes Hotel. No request is too small, that’s is for sure. Blakes should be on everyone’s list to visit, because they are revolutionising a typical wining and dining evening in the capital.
Until next time…