Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Kaspar's Seafood Bar at The Savoy

Looking for a nice lunch in London last week I was intrigued to try Kaspar's, the new seafood restaurant at the Savoy Hotel.  I might have been put off initially by the scathing reviews published by Marina O'Loughlin (Guardian, 01/06/13) and Tracey Macleod (Independent 25/5/13).  However, I have learnt all to well over the years that reviews, good and bad, are written for a variety of reasons many of which have little to do with food. When restaurants first open it is not unusual for the service to suffer which is point number one for reviewers to get their teeth into.  Decor and ambience which is often highlighted can just be a question of personal taste and mood.  Marina and Tracey did not disappoint on either of these, proffering their opinions of the 'blingy' decor and the failure of the staff to deliver.  

I beg to disagree:  the restaurant is a modern glamourous space which manages to combine a traditional seafood bar, complete with green marble worktops and ice displays, with the art deco styling of the original Riverside Grill. Add to this a very contemporary 'shine' and you have Kaspar's.  No dress code and no stuffiness yet it is still a very smart and exciting space with plenty of buzz and atmosphere from enthusiastic diners and the staff preparing dishes behind the bar.  We were given a warm welcome on arrival and appreciated the attentive service throughout the meal.

Yellowfin Tuna Tartare

We opted for a couple of starters with a selection of Rock Oysters (from Jersey and West Mersea) and Yellowfin Tuna Tartare.  Our friendly waiter was helpful and knowledgeable explaining the subtle differences between the oysters whereby the Jersey's were sweeter and the Mersea's had more of a mineral finish.  The tuna was superbly fresh and served with a mild wasabi cream and crisp Melba Toast.  

Smoked Eel and Cured Fish
For main course my wife chose the Isle of Skye 1/2 lobster, grilled, with the garlic butter on the side, which at £19 is pretty reasonable. Chef James Pare explained that all the lobsters are delivered live each morning to ensure maximum freshness and quality.  It did not disappoint with its juicy texture and delicate flavour typical of good European lobster.  I have to question here Marina O'Loughlin's choice of the Lobster Club Sandwich for her review - probably not the best way to enjoy seafood.  I had a selection of smoked and cured fish which included Beetroot Cured Halibut, Citrus Cured Seabass, Smoked Eel and Star Anise Cured Salmon.  All were delicious, moist and flavourful making a nice 'raw' fish alternative to the seemingly ubiquitous sashimi and sushi in London nowadays.

All accompanied with a carafe of crisp Sauvignon Blanc followed by coffee and complimentary chocolate 'lollipops' it was a delicious lunch which was leisurely and special.  We will return.

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