Theo Randall has been serving Italian food for 10 years at the Intercontinental London Park Lane. The restaurant has won many awards including Best Italian restaurant of the year from the London awards and highest ranked Italian on the Sunday Times Food list. It also has 3 AA Rosettes. Last year the restaurant interior got a refresh by award winning creative agency Superfutures. The new restaurant interior pays subtle homage to Italian culture through use of materials such as Terrazzo and Carrera marble, as well as muted green olive and grey tones.
Having never eaten at Theo Randall’s MenStyleFashion was keen to try out the food and drinks.
The restaurant is located in the basement of the Intercontinental and it was Saturday night and the place was packed full of people from couples to larger groups and families with children. This is what I expect from an Italian restaurant, a buzzing loud atmosphere. My jacket was taken to the cloakroom and we decided to have a drink at the bar first before dinner. What I like about upmarket establishments like this is to be guided by experts in food and drinks.
From time spent with my other halves family in Italy I know, there is a lot of food within one menu. Pre starters, Antipasti, Primi, Secondi and formagi or dolci to finish. The pre-starter was some toasted bread with chopped tomatoes and olive oil. Simple but beautiful in taste. We decided to let the sommelier choose the right wines for us to go with each meal. I love my wine but I am not a connoisseur. With the starter, we wanted a Prosecco and we got the Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Millesimato 2015, yes that is a mouth full to say. I loved the explanations that come from the sommelier with each wine that was served, I get to learn something with each glass consumed. What I remembered was the fruity aroma with a slightly creamy finish.
It was time for the antipasti, now we were getting really excited and my friend went for the calamari, not the ring one but the ones with the tiny little legs. He is not the type to eat calamari but on this occasion he loved it and the calamari was cooked to perfection tender and not chewy at all. His matching wine was the Vermentino di Sardegna “Giunco” Mesa 2015 from Sardinia which was a light fresh fruity white wine.
Rucola or in English know as rocket salad is one of my favourite ingredients in Italian dishes, it has a bitter taste and goes well with shaved Parmesan cheese which also has a strong taste. So I chose the Carne Salata a combination of Thinly sliced Angus beef with zucchini, rocket, pine nuts and Parmesan. Yes, it tasted excellent exactly as I thought it would be. With this dish, it is more about good ingredients than skill. The matching wine was the Verduno Pelaverga GB Burlotto 2015 from Piemont. It is from the village of Verduno at the northern tip of Barolo country. It had a peppery and strawberry flavour.
Theo Randal loves cooking Pasta so much that he even wrote a book about it. So pasta time it was. The pasta dishes came in two sizes to be used as a starter or main. We were keen to try a secondi so went for the starter size.
Our first primi was the Cappelletti di vitello, handmade pasta stuffed with slow-cooked veal and pancetta with porcini mushrooms and parmesan. The porcini mushrooms tasted fantastic and combined well with the salty pancetta. The matching wine was the Berger Gei lagrein gris from South Tyrol Italy. This is a full bodied wine had beautiful plum and wild cherry flavours. The Lagrein grape is slightly acidic in structure.
I chose the Pappardelle con ragu di manzo a fresh thick pasta with slow-cooked beef in Chianti and San Marzano tomatoes. It was rich in flavour and went well with the matching wine which was the Esegesi Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot 2012 produced in Trentino. This was a full-bodied wine with red fruit flavours and silky smooth on the palate. Yes, sommelier, this was an excellent choice.
After the primi we both were satisfied and decided to skip the secondi, however, we were so impressed with the wine choices that we ordered one more glass, thanks to the excellent sommelier.
For desserts, we had the lovely Torta Caprese and a panna cotta with some matching dessert wines. An excellent way to end the evening.
With the updated interior and the busy atmosphere, dining at Theo Randall is a fantastic experience. The staff are attentive and love to talk about Italy, the food or the wines and drinks on offer. I was impressed to see the staff and how they clearly love to work here. I valued how Italian food is prepared from fresh local produce and tastes authentic. For me, this was the best Italian food I have had in London. Besides the food there was an excellent wine list and a knowledgeable sommelier, all this makes me want to come back for more.
- Meal For 2 including drinks: £150-£250
- Website: www.theorandall.com
- Address: InterContinental London Park Lane, InterContinental, 1 Hamilton Pl, Mayfair, London W1J 7QY, UK
- Phone: +44(0)20 7318 8747
This review was made possible with the help of Visit London – the official London travel guide.