A funny thing happened the other morning. I woke up at my usual 6:30am, stumbled into the bathroom, got ready and as I came out I pulled the bathroom cord. The light came ON. I hadn’t turned on the light in the first place- there is now light in the morning! Sure my hands were still frozen as I walked to the train station, but I swear I can see signs of spring.
Finally, I can leave the heavy soups and hearty food alone (OK I’m Northern, I’m always going to love hearty food) and venture back to lunchtime catch ups over something fresh, glass of champagne in hand and bright light pouring in.
This is pretty much what I had in mind when I went for lunch at one of my fastest growing favourite hotels in London; Four Seasons on Park Lane.
You might remember I went to the Four Seasons for their Christmas garden terrace and raved about their truffle Croque Monsieur? Well seeing as I raved about it so much, I had to actually try their restaurant food properly.
Amaranto is the hotel’s more casual Italian restaurant, although in a 5 star hotel I say casual loosely. The bar area starts with a low lit setting, with plush deep red and dark wood. There is black marble tables and opulent drinks trolleys dotted about; it actually reminds me of a high end Oriental bar.
But walking past the moody bar, and the restaurant opens up into an area bathed in light. Set in a sort of conservatory, it certainly does give you the impression Spring is most certainly here.
Starting off a ladies catch up, it was only right to pop open the champagne. Veuve Clicquot is the partner champagne here, so we decided to go with the brut.
The menu is Italian but with British influences, and scanning the menu there was lots of pasta and fish dishes which made my mouth water. But it was an interesting crusted duck breast that got me hooked.
The Four Seasons are famed for their service and I have to say, I agree. You know how some fine dining restaurants, you can almost feel the glare from some of the staff as they look down upon you for not quite meeting their usual standards (I’m sorry I don’t know anything about wine and yes I want more bread) but here I actually felt really well looked after. If you want to feel special, you’ll be made to feel that way here. It’s just the little touches really, but it all counts.
Talking of bread, the bread selection is really good, so definitely have some whilst you wait.
Soon our lunch arrived. My company ordered the prawn risotto and I’d ordered pan seared duck breast with fois gras.
I don’t think I’ve ever cooked duck at home, as I know it’s something that can go terribly wrong is not cooked correctly. Well, there was no issue with that here. It was so soft and tender, my knife sliced with ease through the duck. Really flavoursome, really juicy. I think it’s the best duck I’ve had in a good long while.
OK, so you know I said about not eating hearty winter food? Fine, I lied, I had roast potatoes, But seriously, they were cooked in goose fat! They were heaven.
Umming and ahhhing over whether to get dessert, we decided to "treat ourselves" and get one. Well I'm glad I plumped for the "Six Little Sins". Hot chocolate sauce lavishly poured over a chocolate ball to reveal more sauce and fruit. Oh it was gluttony at it's best. Just scroll to see.
The chocolate ball isn't even the only bit of the dessert. There is a chocolate fondant too!
I am going to rave right now, because it was seriously divine. It's that naughty smile kind of dessert, where you know it's gluttony, but it's so damn good, it's worth every mouthful.
Although that being said I did only get half way through before I had to through in the towel. I knew I shouldn't have ate breakfast that morning.
Amaranto is a gorgeous restaurant which is perfect for meeting friends, family or as some people do, have "business meetings" - I saw your champagne (Seriously though I need to find a job where people drink champagne in meetings).
I can't wait till it's truly spring and warm enough to sit outside on their terrace again. When that day comes you might not be able to move me.