"The Quilon opens after re-design, but the food stands out the most"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Michelin-starred and run by the Taj Hotel Group (the same people behind Bombay Brasserie), The Quilon has long been a fixture on the upmarket foodie map. Well, since 12 years ago, when it first opened. It recently shut for a refurb, for aesthetic purposes rather than culinary ones, the most exciting addition being the fashionably labelled “Q Bar”, where their signature Qojito (chilli vodka, angostura and mint) continues to be served.
Being part of a five star hotel just a few metres away from Buckingham Palace means the clientele is well-heeled and/or suited, and mostly American. Much of the menu is available in small or regular portions, making it easier to sample as many dishes as possible. The wine list is vast, huge in fact, with many appetising varieties priced between £25 and £40. We choose a dry, refreshing Gavi di Gavi (£39), to avoid clashing with the food, a modern twist on South Indian cuisine (south western coastal to be precise).
And there is much to love on the menu. The grilled scallops, with their melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness and dill and mango relish are fantastic, as is a spongy masala dosa made from rice and lentils encasing the sambhar, a moderately spiced potato daal.
The grilled coconut chicken has a good creamy flavour, as do the strips of venison fillet fried with coconut and ginger; tomato rice and the cauliflower and potato with cashews make for pleasant side dishes, but it’s the perfectly cooked fish that wows the most. The seabass in particular is a lesson in how fish should be cooked, two lightly seared chunks are flaky yet firm, one is smothered in a tomato masala and the other in a green, tangy version. The baked black cod is exceptional too, with mellow hints of spice.
The trio of baked yoghurts (passion fruit, lychee and mango) are moussey and delicious, and a hearty, warm variation on rice pudding made with vermicelli is fantastic, topped with strawberries, pistachios and kiwi, served with a dollop of rose water ice cream.
At £130 for a meal for two, Quilon doesn’t come cheap, but food is highly accomplished and very satisfying. Oh, and did we mention the refurb? They’ve added some pretty perforated screens, a new bar and a private dining area…
Leila reviewed The Quilon Restaurant & Bar on Thu 10 May 2012