The Gist: Peak fine dining in an iconic London institution
The Chef: Dmitri Magi, Daniel Humm
Location: Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR
Food in 5 words: Classics elevated with casual elegance
How did we get here?
To run the main restaurant in Claridge’s hotel, you kind of have to be a big deal. Gordon Ramsay did it for twelve years, winning and losing a Michelin star along the way, with Simon Rogan taking the reins from him in 2014 with his restaurant, Fera (which also won a star).
"How can you not be excited about opening a restaurant at Claridge's?" said Rogan at the time, with the famous hotel’s restaurant real estate attractive to every top chef, worldwide, on the rare occasion that it becomes available.
And it was that last October, with none other than Daniel Humm of the three-Michelin starred Eleven Maddison Park (awarded first place in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards in 2017) announced as Rogan’s successor.
Details of the new restaurant, Davies and Brook (named after the intersection of streets on which Claridge's sits), have been few and far between but now, following a wobble of sorts with Humm’s big news split from his long-time business partner, Will Guidara; the restaurant has an opening date, is taking reservations and has released its debut menu.
Humm, who worked at Claridge’s 25 years ago as a young commis chef, has created a menu that will “reflect London’s eclectic cultural scene”, with British seasonality and global inspiration also key.
Davies and Brook will showcase some of Humm’s most famous dishes, with plenty of new arrivals also found across the tasting and a la carte menus (for both lunch and dinner).
Humm’s arrival from one of the world’s best restaurants is, without doubt, one of the most important moments in fine dining this year, with Claridge’s certainly adhering to its ‘big names need only apply’ restaurant policy.
What’s different about it?
Humm’s menu is littered with classically British flavours such as horseradish on his carrot salad cold starter with bitter greens and sunflower seeds, while variations of the humble parsnip appear as a main with black sesame and ginger.
Triple cream and caviar can be spotted on dishes, rather in keeping with its affluent Mayfair surroundings, while Humm also has a poached lobster appetiser with delica squash and saffron as well as foie gras au torchon with cocoa and quince.
The renowned roasted duck main course from Eleven Madison Park is here, with the meat dry-aged for 14 days then glazed with lavender and honey and served with beetroot and sauce civet. Other mains include a roasted black cod with napa cabbage, miso and kohlrabi and braised beef short rib with endive and fermented mint.
The elevation of vegetables is a common theme at Davies and Brook, with a tardivo salad with apple, basil and buffalo mozzarella, and roasted cauliflower with grapes, almonds and curry just two examples.
It has been known for iconic American hotels to have their own salads, such as the Waldorf Salad and the Polo Lounge McCarthy Salad. And Humm has created his own - the Davies and Brook salad, a main course with bibb lettuce, marinated tuna, avocado and egg.
You’ve got to try
Imperial Osietra caviar with butternut squash, smoked shellfish and naan. A creative take on a classic curtain raiser, designed for the whole table (at £48 per person).
Sparkie also likes…
Stuffed and roasted poussin with parmesan, lemon and fennel.
You’re after a dining experience you won’t soon forget.