Having eaten at one hotel restaurant earlier in the week (Bonds) and been sadly disappointed, we figured it would be more of the same here. Adding to that, we were not aware of One-O-One as a food destination restaurant (most press write ups date back to 2007 and are long since forgotten) and accordingly, our expectations fell further. Finally, on alighting from the taxi outside the restaurant itself, the façade looked so drab that we resigned ourselves to a poor meal (but at least we'd enjoy the company).
How mistaken we were.
In fact, the restaurant's website (as I would later learn) says One-O-One was voted 9th best restaurant in Great Britain by The Sunday Times in October 2010. It doesn't however feature in the more widely accepted National Restaurant Awards 2010 though given that the simply awful Scott's, another seafood restaurant, came in at number 82, this is a real shame. We simply loved the meal at One-O-One today and felt they provided a highly original and inventive take on the seafood proposition and we'll certainly return in due course. A huge surprise, a wonderful surprise, we think One-O-One must be one of the best, if not the best, seafood restaurants in London currently.
The menu offered a wide variety of temptations and deciding proved relatively difficult. With four around the table, we started off with a dozen oysters presented in three ways: Tempura with soya pipettes, Yuzu sorbet and vodka, and shallot vinegar. The tempura oysters really did arrive at the table with a pipette already standing upright in the oyster to be injected at the table. The batter here was light and crisp though the oyster flavour was a little lost. Not so with the other two presentations where the sea flavours came through much more; everybody delighted in this pre-starter.
Wild Norwegian King Crab legs were on the menu and proved popular around the table. What's more, it could be ordered in one of three ways: on ice with mayo and lemon, warm with sweet chilli ginger sauce, and grilled with basil tomato olive oil and sauce Vierge. Opting for the first of these, an extremely generous portion arrived at the table, beautifully done, brushed with a little olive oil too, the king crab proved an utter delight.
We also opted for the Lasagne of organic salmon, tiger prawn and Oscietra caviar, watercress mousse, Champagne beurre blanc. This was also beautifully done: beautifully presented and beautifully tasting. The flavours of the individual components really came through, even the Champagne in the beurre blanc. The pasta too was perfectly thin so the dish didn't give way to chewiness. The Square does a lasagne of Dorset crab with shellfish cappuccino and Champagne foam which came to mind as I was eating this because at The Square, it was difficult to extract the Champagne flavours from the foam, here it was wonderfully present. One-O-One deserves much credit for this dish.
This was a clear example of taking a high quality ingredient and rather than just 'letting the ingredient speak for itself', enhancing the enjoyment through great cooking, great additions to the plate and presenting well to the table. This was first class sea food.
The other two mains around the table were Seared native lobster, and Slow cooked wild Arctic cod; both were very well received.
Worth mentioning too is that while the outside might appear drab, the interior is modern and comfortable. It's also very spacious for such an exclusive postcode with our table for four allowing everyone ample space to relax, with our table broadly representative of the room. And on a very warm day outside, the room temperature was similarly very comfortable.
One-O-One seemed to us another restaurant that is deserving of a star and as seafood goes, delivered a significantly higher standard than the depressing Cod with Parsley sauce dish that we were served the day before at Michelin starred The Sportsman. In the future, when we pass along Knighsbridge and see the dull concrete cylinder of The Sheraton approaching, rather than think of it as an eyesore, it will now serve as a reminder of the great seafood available here and prompt our return visit. One-O-One delivered brilliant contemporary seafood today and we have no hesitation in recommending this restaurant as a food destination.
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