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Lowndes Bar & Kitchen (Bar, Restaurant, Hotel)

Picture of Lowndes Bar & Kitchen in Belgravia, London

The Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, 21 Lowndes Street, Knightsbridge, Belgravia, London, SW1X 9ES
Cuisine: British
Tel: 020 7858 7223 | Email to Lowndes Bar & Kitchen | Transport: Knightsbridge | Write review

Lowndes Bar & Kitchen Review

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Best for: Excellent food; people-watching in Knightsbridge; a varied menu.

Great: Service.

Not so long ago being a millionaire, Rodney, was the height of most people’s aspirations. Bank a million and you were set for life. How quickly things have changed. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a million. It would probably allow me to put a deposit down on a half-decent studio flat in an ‘up-and-coming’ part of town and put a full tank of petrol in my car, leaving me just enough change for a Twix (since when are they 70p?!).

In an era where footballers can earn upwards of £200,000 a week to play for Manchester City, (Uwe Rosler must be sick to his stomach) and the average bonus at certain banks stands at the £240,000 mark, the threshold for being considered ‘stinking rich’ has risen stratospherically. Doing your big-shop at M&S Simply Food no longer cuts it.

On Thursday I was at the Lowndes Bar and Kitchen, located at the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, in Knightsbridge. Knightsbridge is the home of the offensively rich and if you are looking for an indication of what represents true wealth in Britain today, there is no better place to start than in SW1X.

As we arrived, a group was stood outside photographing some chap’s motor. A Bugatti Veyron, to be precise. Please don’t mistake me for someone who has so much as a passing interest in cars, but a Veyron would set you back around £1.1 million; for something you can’t live in (not comfortably, anyway)! Apparently, its loveable owner had left it parked on a double-yellow all day and it was about to be towed. As our waiter, Francesco, showed us to our table he explained that this was far from a rare occurrence.

Francesco informed us that the majority of the restaurant’s clientele were wealthy Emiratis, most of whom visit between June and September to escape the stifling desert heat. This went some way to explaining why the restaurant was so empty on a Thursday evening in January. It also accounted for the eclectic range of food available on the menu; from modern European cuisine, to dishes pitched at a more Middle Eastern palate.

Francesco was extremely knowledgeable when it came to the menu and his instantly affable manner set him apart from the taciturn service you often expect to receive in this neck of the woods. Under his guidance, I opted for the excellent scallops with chorizo while my girlfriend plumped for the deliciously fruity goose and Sauternes pate, which Francesco teamed with a staggeringly good Chablis.

Similarly, the pan-fried prawns that followed were outstanding and were given an additional surprising dimension when teamed with the subtlety of the basmati rice and vibrant coriander butter sauce accompaning them. The sea bass, too, was excellent, with the perfectly crisped skin covering the fresh, moist flesh, seated upon what appeared to be noodles, but turned out to be sautéed courgette and potato.

Francesco was once again on hand to provide considered recommendations for dessert, and even chipped in with a delicious tequila-based digestif, that he reliably informed us was of his own creation. His final flourish was to chip in with his ruminations on suitable holiday destinations for the summer.

On the whole, the food was excellent, while the service was amongst the best I’ve received in London; friendly and welcoming without being overbearing. However, the relative quiet of the well-presented dining room betrayed the hard work and professionalism of the staff. The lighting was slightly too bright, when ideally you’d want the dimmer-switch set to ‘intimate’. Plus, a bizarre combination of Robbie Williams and The Corrs as background music is one that should be avoided at all costs in any restaurant where you expect people to stay for more than five minutes.

And I suppose that’s the point really. You don’t buy a million pound super car and leave it parked on a double yellow line. And you don’t serve outstanding food to a half empty room. The staff at the Lowndes Bar and Kitchen deserve to be waiting on full houses the year round and with a few very minor changes, there is no reason why that shouldn’t be the case.

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