One of the most noteworthy meals of the year as well as one of the better restaurants I’ve visited in quite some time, I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner last night at Moreno at Baglioni. This newly launched restaurant situated inside Kensington’s lush Baglioni London Hotel sees two Michelin star Italian chef, Moreno Cedroni, share his avant garde approach to Italian cuisine with his first venture outside Italy.
Perhaps perceived as slightly off kilter by some among the London foodie set who may be unfamiliar with this chef’s playfully exquisite style, I reckon Moreno and his kitchen crew here in London are more than capable to guide willing diners along a route of inventive and clean tasting palate pleasers. And the restaurant’s comfortable (big plush cushy seats) and elegant (Murano glass chandeliers and candelabras all over the place) space offers an especially pleasant setting for just such a big flavour experience.
Kemey and I were coming from a skating session at the Natural History Museum’s Ice Rink (see my last post) and were treating ourselves to a festival night out on the town (how rich is that for a Monday evening?). Strolling up from Exhibition Road to Moreno, we were happy to be looked after so attentively by the hotel and restaurant staff from our first sip of bubbly Bellavista to when we were heading out the door. Moreno was a lovely venue for our “date night” and I’d confidently recommend the restaurant to sweethearts looking for somewhere unique and luxurious to eat.
There are some negative reviews floating around out there about Chef Cedroni’s London premier. And I’ve gotta tell ya that after dining at Moreno last night and subsequently Googling around this morning, I am perplexed to see such expressed disappointment. A lot of the grumblings seemed to do with the cost of the meal, to which I’ll say this: if you live in London and still don’t have enough good sense to know whether or not you can afford to dine at a restaurant down the road from Royal Albert Hall and across the street from Hyde Park, you should probably stick to eating at home with an occasional visit to your local Pizza Express or Nando’s.
That off my chest, I honestly didn’t find any of the prices during my visit to be out of order, especially considering the nice setting, stellar service and (most importantly) the quality of the food. £9 for a starter course of tortellini filled with 24 month aged liquid Parmesan with finely chopped raw beef, tomato sauce and balsamic jam was very good value for a most delightful dish (you can get a larger main course version of this dish for £15). I’d have it again (and again). In fact, the burst of the liquid parmesan accompanying each bite of tortellini was a real joy and will most likely be the main reason I return to feast at Moreno again. Brilliant.
Other bright moments included sampling our way throughout the Sushi & Susci starter course (£25). Featuring eight “small recipes” from the chef’s own Sushi & Susci cookbook, the handsomely arranged plate featured an array of finely crafted and especially flavoursome morsels. To be honest, I wasn’t in love every bite I had, but each one intrigued and impressed. And the ones that I did like, I’m still craving more of a day later.
For example, salted cod dressed in “its mayonnaise” with cherry tomatoes, black olives and fried wild rice was a winner. As for the “its mayonnaise” bit, I’m not sure how the chef does it but somehow he manages to make a super creamy mayonnaise using a dish’s main ingredient instead of eggs. Another – octopus salad dressed with its “mayonnaise” with jelly bread and steamed vegetables – was amazing too … and maybe my favourite piece from our plate of Sushi & Susci.
I loved my main as well. Fritto misto with sweet and sour quinoa, white onion sorbet and light raspberry broth (£22.50) looked pretty and yielded fascinating flavours. The sorbet was particularly unusual, and that’s a good thing. For dessert, Kemey and I shared an order of Castagnoli: fried profiteroles filled with Chantilly cream served with chocolate and lime sauce and tangerine sorbet (£8). Okay not cheap at all for a dessert, but man oh man it was delicious … and a lot lighter and more delicate than you might imagine. I have a terrible memory, but I’m thinking that may have been the best dessert I’ve had in a London restaurant this year. A few other surprises added to our overall glowing dining experience at Moreno, but I’ll leave a bit of discovery for any discerning readers keen to give this fine restaurant a go.
Moreno at Baglioni is located at the Baglioni Hotel London, 60 Hyde Park Gate, SW7 5BB.
The restaurant is offering special menus for Christmas Eve dinner, lunch and dinner on Christmas Day, and a New Year’s Eve dinner and dancing special. Prices start at £75 (and seem reasonable to me). Find out more: