Just behind Piccadilly Circus is one of my favourite areas of London. There's Wholefoods for starters, plus a really delicious but nondescript wrap place called Jumbo Eats (trust me, it looks dive-y, but its awesome) and then there is Golden Square with its ping pong tables and mad Yoga women.
But now I have one more reason to add to the list of why I love this area. Hotel Cafe Royal.
I was here for a rather special dinning event, but first as I arrived ridiculously early, I headed up to The Club to relax and sample a cocktail or two.
Hotel Cafe Royal is known for its creative history. Frequented by writers and artists such as Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, H G Wells, and Rudyard Kipling back in the day, it's been a place that many historic and profound works tarted life.
The Club is the latest opening in the hotel and is billed as a haven for writers, artists and musicians. Which rung true when Benedict Cumberbatch came and sat at the table next to me *Swoon*. Sadly no photos, it just wasn't appropriate.
When my dining companion joined me, we headed off to The Domino Room for a very exciting dinner.
They have just launched The Domino Effect, a series of world renown chef collaborations with the executive chef at the hotel, Andrew Turner. Launching yesterday, I was invited down for a preview with renowned two-Michelin starred Spanish chef Paco Roncero.
Tonight we were being treated to a 7 course tasting menu with a flight of wine.
As we took our seats in the new The Domino dinning room, I had to just show you how beautiful it was. Billed as a refined dining experience, it certainly lived up to its description. Seated below a gorgeous ceiling of intricate and beautifully restored cartouches, it is certainly well worth a visit just for the setting.
While The Domino room is definitely somewhere for that special date, sadly my other half couldn't make it, so instead I took this beauty as my date. Equally good for a special girls night. Any excuse to get dressed up.
Oh and maybe get a few new accessories. Well you've got to make the effort right?
I'm a little bit in love with this Azuni necklace they kindly sent me. It's just that classic piece that adds the final touch to an outfit. Plus as a beautiful message.
Hungry and raring to go, we tried to play our own game of domino's with the menus at one point. Can't take us anywhere.
Probably in the nick of time, the first course arrived.
A Pisco Sour served in a hollowed out lime.
Then came the fresh and hot rolls.
And then Squid Risotto with Curry Oil in a cute little glass.
Nice, although rather like the consistency of rice pudding.
Now this is where the rolls come in handy. Got to love a good dipping dish.
Clams and white beans. The white beans were actually rather interesting in that the filling had been removed, pureed and then injected back in! Crazy.
The sauce here was rather delicious, but I'm afraid I'm not actually sure what it was as the waitress was buzzing around from one table to the other so fast I never got to ask.
The scallop, black pudding, capers and raisin was the best dish in my opinion. Full of flavour, and a good, plump juicy scallop proudly in the middle of the plate.
Whist obviously glamorous and not an average dinner out, The Domino dinning room isn't stuffy at all.
Each table is a good distance away from one another, giving enough distance to allow no conversations to overlap making it perfect for girly chatter and serious date night wooing.
Next was Dover sole Meunière. Meunière is the type of sauce and method of preparation. Coming from the translation for "miller's wife", the fish is cooked 'à la meunière' -cook it by coating it in flour.
Sadly this wasn't quite for me, nice, but I wasn't blown away, as it was rather a little bland. Dover Sole is already quite plain I think, so butter alone wasn't enough to waken it up.
The final savory dish was the first meat. Pigeon, apple and cassis.
I keep wanting to use the word nice...because well it was nice, but I'm a bit stumped for other words. It was nice, but again sadly I wasn't blown away by the pigeon. It just lacked a bit of oomph in flavour.
Luckily sweets arrived, and who doesn't love a sweet?
First up was Mango egg on brioche which I thought was rather delightful. Just a great refreshing burst after all the savoury flavours.
Plus it was very well put together, with the intention that it looked like poached eggs on toast.
Oh and even better when accompanied by dessert wine, my absolute favourite thing to finish a meal with.
Then came Chocolate Nitro. The perfect rich, chocolate-y treat that I needed.
Finally we were presented with a deconstructed tiramisu, which was just beautiful to look at and tasted rather great too, although I'd liked stronger coffee in it, it was still good.
Even better about this place? You just never know who you will run into to. So deciding to skip coffee and teas, me Ella and Dan, head chef of Duck and Waffle stumbled into Hix for some after dinner cocktails. Perfectly acceptable on a week night, no?
I was blown away by Hotel Cafe Royal, and will definitely be returning. The Domino Effect is a fabulous concept. Some of the dishes fell a little flat against my expectations, but it is worth your attendance for the experience as a whole.
Especially as Paco Roncero -a two Michelin starred chef- is the man behind the world’s most expensive restaurant. Yes, an eye watering £1,200-a-head in Ibiza.
So if you have a special occasion coming up, I'd book this in your diary.
Café Royal Hotel
8-10 Air Street,