The new W1 restaurant at The Cumberland, London – Review

The Christmas lights of Oxford Street have not been on for long. The shop windows show off their festive displays and there is a buzz in the air. The same buzz is in the Cumberland Hotel`s new restaurant, W1.

To celebrate its launch, an exclusive 7-course tasting menu is available for a limited time only. Billed as a gastronomic tour de force, Head Chef Paul Welburn`s ambitious new tasting menu uses seasonal ingredients to create classic British dishes with a European twist.

Designed by highly acclaimed British interior designer Kelly Hoppen, the W1 restaurant is a visual treat. With beautiful antique mirrors draped in plush velvet, stunning Spina crystal chandeliers and antique French chairs, one hopes the cuisine proves to be as sumptuous as the setting. The seven courses offered suggests the kitchen is confident it can deliver.



The first of the 7 courses was English carrot with salted walnuts, orange and coriander. Presented almost as a consume, the orange lent the dish unexpected and gentle sweetness. The coriander gave depth and the walnut body and texture. A very promising start.

The second course didn’t disappoint – Foie gras with parfait, pineapple, duck ham and monbazillac. The combination of flavours worked well; the pineapple added a zesty lift to the duck and foie gras, making this a rich yet light course.

Our third course was Shellfish bisque with fennel, sea herbs and rouille, served with a fantastically rich sauce. This dish was fresh with a wonderful depth of flavour, the fennel complementing the seafood perfectly. The accompanying wine, Seresin from New Zealand was an inspired choice to enhance the dish.

Next up was Monkfish with Oyster and watercress emulsion, grape and chicken. The presentation of this course was almost as impressive as the smoky flavours, and the crisp grape and cucumber balanced the earthy fish and chicken skin beautifully.

Course five was a real favourite on my table. Squab pigeon with Confit leg, cep risotto, espresso- this just got us all excited. The tenderness of breast and leg in the rich sauce was an absolute treat. And just tip us over the edge, the matching wine, La Grein- Italy 2009, was the best accompaniment so far.

The Pina Coladas delivered to our table were an unexpected treat and brought a sense of fun into the sophistication – so much so that some diners were requesting seconds.

I love my desserts. Judging by the quality of the savoury dishes I was hoping for something spectacular and I wasn’t let down. First up, Chocolate- Creameux, soil, peanut and salted caramel. The peanuts coupled with the chocolate made a fine partnership, the caramel offering depth.

Could we squeeze in that final course? Oh go on then. Pear with hazelnut, Brillat Saverin and anise syrup. This combination of flavours was a suitable finale for a show-stopping menu and the encore was a decent dessert wine – Maury from Roussillon, France 2010.

The service and the staff were as excellent as you would expect in this price bracket, attentive but not fussy. Chef Paul Welburn showed he is well worthy of his Michelin star and three AA Rosettes. One is left in no doubt that he will have foodies flocking to W1 to sup Pina Coladas amidst the opulent décor .

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