The first time I visited the Savoy was many years ago, possibly in 2002 – the memory is a bit fuzzy to be honest. My fiancé (now husband) and I decided to ring in the New Year with cocktails at one of London’s most renowned hotels. It sounded glamorous and I had the perfect vintage cocktail dress for the occasion. We enjoyed several seriously delicious, and eye-wateringly expensive, pisco sours at the bar but had to leave before midnight because the hotel had a function planned. It’s just as well – we would have needed a second mortgage to pay for any further cocktails. Despite the cost – and having to leave rather unceremoniously – I was left with very fond memories of the night.
The second time, several years later, was under very different circumstances. I was invited to attend the British Turkey Awards as a finalist in their food blogging category and the event was held in one of the Savoy’s glittering ballrooms. It was definitely memorable, not least because I won (Best Blogger Recipe) and the large crystal gong – featuring an engraved profile of a turkey – is still on display somewhere in our house.
My latest visit was a few days ago, when my husband and I dined at Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill on a rare, but very welcome, outing – a belated birthday dinner for me. Kaspar’s is an absolutely beautiful space situated inside the Savoy and decorated in Art Deco style with mirrors, a glittering silver leaf ceiling and black and white chequered marble floor. The welcoming and friendly waiters and staff only enhance the elegance of the surroundings. From the moment you arrive, every request or comment is met with gracious attention and a responsiveness you rarely find these days.
Having been to the Savoy before, and knowing our taste for cocktails, we knew we risked running up a substantial bill in short order – which is why Bookatable’s three-course dinner deal is such an appealing option. At £49.50 per person, including a complimentary glass of champagne, it left us a bit of wiggle room if we decided to push the boat out and treat ourselves to a couple of sneaky picso sours as well (we never learn).
The champagne arrived very promptly – in perfectly chilled glasses no less – as we considered our options. The starter menu was extensive and very tempting – it took some champagne sipping to settle on the scallops with ‘cauliflower textures’, while my husband opted for the lobster bisque. Both starters were excellent – my scallops perfectly cooked and served with a velvety cauliflower purée, while the lobster bisque sent my husband to a very happy place. In seventh heaven from the bisque, he asked our waiter if he could add a second choice from the smoked fish section. We were happy to pay the extra but our waiter very graciously offered to serve him those instead of dessert – just as well as he doesn’t have a sweet tooth. So we shared some peppered hot smoked Scottish salmon and hot smoked sable fish with paprika, served with still warm soda bread and salted butter. We both would have been perfectly satisfied to nibble on that the rest of the evening but still had our mains waiting to arrive.
I decided to go for the catch of the day – mackerel (pictured at the top) served with lightly griddled thin slices of courgette, aubergine cubes and drizzled with fragrant pesto – while my husband wavered between the lobster BLT and the fish pie, with the latter eventually winning him over. The mackerel was a perfect balanced – the strong tasting fish tempered by the vegetables and really complemented by the pesto (I am so doing that at home). My husband was slightly underwhelmed by the fish pie – “a bit too much potato, not enough filling” was his verdict – but he still enjoyed it overall.
When it came to the desserts, I probably should have abstained as we were more than full. The frangipane tart with roasted plums, almond brittle and crème fraîche ice cream was calling my name however. It was worth the extra calories, although the plums could have done with a couple more minutes roasting. The wonderful meal was rounded off by two delicious marshmallow petit fours, a simple touch to finish off a lovely dinner date.
If you’re ever on the lookout for a special treat, Kaspar’s is definitely worth it and the Bookatable deal makes it affordable without forcing you into a corner in terms of food choices. Everything looked delicious, portions were very healthy and service was flawless. And my husband has promised that “next time” he was definitely going for the lobster BLT – I guess that means we will be going back!
We dined as guests of Bookatable but independently of the restaurant.