Mar 9 2015

Helene Darroze at the Connaught

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Helene Darroze at the Connaught is a 2 Michelin star French restaurant in the Connaught Hotel, one of the most luxurious and beautiful hotels in Mayfair. It is located on one side of the hotel and serves lunch and dinner in a relaxed yet sophisticated French environment. This review however is about their very famous brunch – one of the most luxurious brunches in London.

You can come to Helene Darroze for brunch on Saturday and Sunday and it costs £55 (champagne as we once found out is not included in this price). For this price you get a huge variety of food. First they have a buffet and the whole dining room has stations full of food that you can visit and pile up your plate. On one side of the room you can get various charcuterie, including their home made terrines. They also have fresh salads, smoked fish and a variety of breads which the waiters bring to your table. Post this selection of buffet food, a hot main course is also included in this brunch price (as well as tea and coffee). From this hot food section, I have so far tried the “farmed eggs benedict with French croque-monsieur with Basque ham”, “hot dog with Morteau sausage, celeriac remoulade, Savoy cabbage”, and the “Connaught Burger” with braised Aberdeen Angus beef cheek and grilled duck foie gras from les Landes (for a supplement £8) and grilled hake.

I generally do like the buffet food that is laid out in front of you on the tables that you can visit as much as you like. The bread is excellent, soft and a wide variety. I also very much like their terrines, they do feel homemade and with intense flavour and the one with pork and pistachios is extremely memorable. The charcuterie section is equally impressive, and there is a waiter cutting Spanish ham from the pig’s leg for you, if you want this. Salads also feel very luxurious, and I had a delicious Caesar salad with big salad leaves, think big croutons and anchovies last time I was here. Helene Darroze does the things you would expect to see in brunch, but does them in a very memorable and luxurious (I know I am using this word a lot) way.

The main courses are equally impressive. You can get your typical breakfast dishes like eggs Benedict, but at Helene Darroze they are served with croque-monsieur. When I had this dish, however, I did find it a touch too heavy for me, it was delicious but after the big brunch buffet was hard for me to eat. I found the same thing about the hot dog that I once had after their buffet, delicious and creative, not your average hot dog, but just too much.

If you are still hungry post the savoury food, they also have a desserts section, but extremely impressive little cake, the sort of cakes you pay a lot of money for in Mayfair, as well as a waffle station, where you can get freshly made waffles. During one visit I had an amazing canele cake and a lemon curd cake here, but as I am usually bursting by this time, I have never managed to have their amazing waffles, although they do look (and smell) amazing.

The problem though with Helene Darroze both times that I have been here is the service. Both times it was extremely un-attentive. The first time we came here, they did not tell us champagne was not included in the price, poured us half full glasses (which if it was included would be ok), but then charged us more than £50 for 2 half full glasses. When we asked for tea, it did not come for 20 minutes, and when we reminded them the attitude was a bit rude and they said they were busy in the kitchen. It was a bit strange to have this sort of service in a 2 Michelin star restaurant. We wrote a letter to them and complained, and they did take off the service charge from our bill and told us to come back and let them know when we do and they will treat us very well. When we did write to them and told them we were coming back, the manager had changed. They did try the second time, but still it was not great, and once again we had to wait for ages to get our teas and coffees. It is just a bit bizarre how they are like this.

Still however despite the service, if I want to impress someone in London and take them to an amazing brunch, Helene Darroze is my first choice.

Date: I have been here 2 times, latest one in February 2015
Location: Mayfair
Price: usually comes up to £70/ person without alcohol

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4.00

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Helene Darroze at the Connaught
Carlos Place W1K 2AL
London
United Kingdom
GB
Helene Darroze at the Connaught Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4