Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lanes of London

Discover the full flavour of London in one dining experience at Lanes of London

Lanes of London have come up with a clever little concept… Why eat street food on the street when you can eat it in the comfort of a Park Lane Hotel?  If hanging around Brick Lane isn’t your thing, then Luxuria Lifestyle has a more sophisticated way for you to experience the diverse food culture of the capital…

You’ll find Lanes of London at Marble Arch, within the Marriott Hotel, Park Lane.  The restaurant has been updated and although I don’t know what it looked like before, I got the idea that a complete transformation had taken place!

There’s a stylish bar area on entrance, with relaxing leather sofas and chairs and high stools at the bar – handy for studying their extensive cocktail menu.  This opens out onto a classic yet contemporary styled restaurant area, with lots of mirrors and glass and olive green upholstery.  Take your pick from the booths or marble slab stand alone tables – they all look inviting.

When we arrived at 7pm, the bar area was already packed – busy and bustling.  We found out later this was because there was live music on – a really great singer with an amazing voice covering classics and current tunes while the crowd enjoyed their cocktails.

 We decided to go straight through to the restaurant where it was quieter for us to chat, yet close enough to the bar so that we could still hear the live music.  Cocktails time.  Staying true to my mantra to drink an Espresso Martini in every bar and restaurant I visit, I ordered the next best thing, which was a twist on the traditional – this one called the Ka’hawa Reviver - a Lebanese inspired combo of Bacardi 8 year old rum, espresso and Lebanese seven spice syrup.  I opted for the cold version (it’s also served hot), which came with a froth of foam on the top and was decorated with a burning cinnamon stick and a sprinkling of chocolate powder.   My friend Kelly opted for the Portobello Punch –amaretto, apple brandy and champagne which I thought was a little sour (there’s lemon juice in it...), but she thought was ‘lovely, light and refreshing’.

So the concept behind the menu is that it offers something for everyone.  A good choice when you’re having one of those days of not knowing what you fancy to eat.  Also good if you like different food to your friends’.  Split into 4 sections, the menu offers up food which is typical of four different ‘lanes’ within London… (Ahh you get it now!)  The Brick Lane menu is Indian, Kingsland Road is Vietnamese, Edgeware Road is Middle Eastern and Portobello Road’s collection of dishes are described as ‘a celebration of its eclectic cafĂ© culture’.

There are no starters or mains and we were advised by the waitress to order ‘a selection of maybe four dishes to share’ between us.  This proves difficult!  I feel like someone is playing tricks on my tastebuds by asking me to choose between all of these differing cuisines.

We finally decide on the samosa and the confit duck hash, along with the beef brisket sliders and the butter chicken curry.  I’ve read other reviews where the reviewers weren’t particularly impressed with allof the food.  I’d say we hit on a great selection because everything was delicious.  I’ll admit, the samosa’s were way too hot for my non spice-proof palate,  but Kelly thought they were cooked well, packed with a good balance of veg and served on with salad and pomegranate, and a tamarind and mint chutney. 

After 3 glasses of water, I’d recovered enough to try my duck pattie.  It arrived in a mini frying pan with a perfectly fried duck egg on top and a dollop of HP sauce (optional!).  Mouthwateringly good.  Crispy on the outside like a pattie should be, filled with beautiful flavoursome duck and no fatty bits.  I was also pleasantly surprised by how great the taste combination proved to be, duck, runny egg, HP Sauce, it’s just kind of, worked.

Next to arrive at the table was my butter chicken, which I was told was made from an old family recipe which had been passed down to the chef.  A just sweet enough sauce of a nice consistency, with gorgeous and generous chunks of chicken and a really smooth flavour.  The cumin rice was average, but the paratha flatbread proved to be the perfect accompaniment.

Kelly’s beef brisket sliders were amazingly tasty.  The cute mini buns come out on a wooden slab looking so cute and inviting that you want to devour them in one go.  We tried, but they were ever so slightly big for that!  Sweet brioche buns and absolutely delicious beef brisket came served with bone marrow topped with crispy bread crumbs.  I’ve never been a bone marrow fan and didn’t try, but Kels said they were fabulous.

Dessert choices are presented on the back of a little postcard which you can then fill in and Lanes of London will post it for you.  A nice touch!  Although there was a good selection of desserts, in my mind, there could only be one…. Well… Make that two!  The first - oversized home made jammy dodgers (sugar coated shortbread with strawberry jam, home strawberry liquer and strawberries and cream) which were served in a beautiful presentation box…. As much as I love a sugar kick, these were slightly over sugary and lacking a bit of clotted cream on the side I thought.  Still nice though.  While our second choice - the East India dock ginger cake was better.  Sticky and treacly and served with the clotted cream I thought would’ve been nice with the dodgers!

All in all, a really good dinner, washed down with a 2013 Eleve Pinot Noir.  We stayed long after we’d eaten, chatting, listening to the live music and people watching throw the absolutely huge restaurant windows.  Yes, you may have your favourite eaterie in Portobello or Edgeware, but if you’re after a great atmosphere and a varied selection of dishes, then Lanes of London will be right up your street.

Lanes of London

140 Park Lane


W1K  7AA


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