Dr Johnson once wrote ‘when a man is tired of London, he’s tired of life’. This is what we love about our City; the opportunities to endlessly discover new gems, right here in London. Therefore, to put Johnson’s words to the test we decided to travel a little North of the City, to The Churchill, one of Hyatt Regency’s central London hotels. The Churchill is located just off of Hyde Park, on Portman Square, on the west end of this beautiful Regency square, complete with matured trees, and tennis courts for any budding Murry staying overnight. Built in 1970 to an award winning sympathetic design, this five star hotel has hosted American President’s, European Prime Ministers, not to mention a despot or two. The off square drive at the entrance is grand enough to accommodate the largest motorcade of even the most unselfconscious heads of state. On entering the hotel we were greeted with signs stating the hotel management have been awarded ” Hotelier of the year’ amongst other titles, so you trusted you are in good hands.
The huge atrium didn’t feel at all sterile. The contemporary portraits of Winston Churchill, the hotel’s namesake, announced that you were entering somewhere special. Churchill was known to have loved painting, and the many copies of his own impressionist art hanging from the walls, allowed you to feel that you were being invited in by the man himself. This personal welcome was further extended, when on entering our beautiful double deluxe room overlooking the Square and Tennis Courts, we were met with a complimentary woollen cuddly toy, “Marmalade” Chartwells cat! The multi-million pound refurbishment, which was carried out in 2016, is still very much evident in the stylish airy rooms. No more so than the modern Japanese influenced bathroom, complete with a toilet, which has buttons, sprays and function controls that will enthral the curious and adventurous, with hours of endless fun and self awakening!
A nice touch to our stay was that we were given complimentary access to the The Regency Club lounge situated on the 8th floor. Here you can relax with pre-dinner canapés and champagne served up by attendant staff, before heading downstairs to The Montague Kitchen, The Churchill’s spacious and contemporary restaurant.
The tasting menu for this very British board of fare is set at a very reasonable price of £65 per head. The Rosemary Sourdough with whipped pumpkin seed butter, in the shapes of little pigs, is a whimsical start to the meal prologue of Bubble and Squeak bites and Colman’s English Mustard Mayo. Each of these dishes offers a well-thought through twist on traditional English dishes; a favourite being the Fish and Chips rosette, with sour cream chives. A salad break at half-time was cleansing, and the organic heritage beetroot and aged dressing, accompanied by nasturtium leaves, was washed down with a first class Chablis Premier Cru. This Burgundy wine infused with floral aromas will set you back £75 a bottle, but worth the expense, if you enjoy a Chardonnay grape. The Whitstable Rock oysters, accompanied by Kentish Tabasco, and apple purée was interesting, and not what was expected, and seemed to ‘gild the lily’, somewhat. However, the chicken stuffed with a mousse and English truffles was fantastic. For the savoury part, the Sweet Corn Ribs with red wine jus, shouldn’t go unmentioned. Shucked ears of corn cut into quarters and baked until they curl; these nibbles were full of flavour. A fabulous invention by the chef Roger Olsen. It only remained to take a deep breath and set yourself up for the epilogue of Valrhona chocolate and hazelnut, accompanied by the final bit of whimsy the “Tick Tack Toe” with pastry chef Aurelian’s bon bon chocolate sauce. A lovely way to end.
The wine cellar is not extensive but has some great picks. We’d highly recommend a red, the Château Vieille Tour La Rose, a Saint Emilion Grand Cru from France at £74.00 a bottle.
The great man would thoroughly approve of The Churchill. It is grand enough to have flattered his vanity. Luxury, but not ostensibly to fit his no nonsense approach to life. For good measure it carries in its cellar his Pol Roger Champagne. Bravo!