When talking about seafood restaurants in London, it is very easy to overlook One O One Restaurant in Knightsbridge. One would immediately associate them with the old school charm of J. Sheeky, Bentley’s or Scott’s; or at the other extreme, the national dish of fish and chips whose sole (pun not intended) purpose seems to be directed to curious tourists (though if you are after a super one head to The Mayfair Chippy). However, with a health-conscious new generation, the relentless sushi trend and celebrity chefs like Rick Stein, there are more modern fish eateries than ever before. London Lamppost’s contributors have reviewed the elegant Outlaw’s at the Capital and many of those already mentioned.
One O One has been awarded the third best restaurant in London by Harden’s Guide this year, amongst other accolades. Head Chef Pascal Proyart hails from the Brittany coast and is dedicated to cooking sustainable seafood at the highest of level. His ambition is evident on the complex sounding dishes offered by the menu. Our visit seemed to be of particularly good timing as they were now doing a half price special on the tasting menu at £37.5 pp.
Despite being in the prestigious Knightsbridge for almost two decades, chef Pascal Proyart’s restaurant often flies under the radar comparing to its glitzy neighbouring restaurants featuring names like Marcus Waring, Heston Blumenthal and the Pierre Koffmann. It is sadly understandable given its totalitarian sounding name and its unfortunate location in the Sheraton Park Hotel, possibly the ugliest 5-star hotel in the country. However, the dining room itself is not as bad and serves an elegant and tranquil eatery from the otherwise busy area. On the occasion of our visit, the dining room was unfortunately empty (three tables to be precise) but we still very much looked forward to the food.
My partner, who has a nut allergy, and I both ordered the tasting menu and we were served by an attentive waiting staff. A warm basket of bread was quickly served and the accompanying seaweed butter was sensational. We had no shame, or regret, ordering a second serving of the bread just for the seaweed butter. The first course was a sort of reinterpretation of a maguro (tuna) sushi, which was confusing in its fundamental error of trying to execute a classically no-frill Japanese item as a haute-cuisine item. The accompanying wasabi-sorbet with the tuna tartare was as indeterminate in its taste as its texture. However, the following courses of scallop and duck foie gras with a sort of red wine sauce; and the sea bass with abalone were a showcase of the kitchen’s thoughtful and highly technical skills. These two dishes undoubtedly heightened our expectation for the showcase of the menu, a high-end surf and turf with lobster, king crab and beef fillet. When the dish came, the presentation was as pretty, and indeed appetising, as the previous two dishes.
And there it is, the most anticipated plate of food of the evening, a plate that comprises some of the most expensive ingredients of both the sea and land! Soon the excitement dissipated when we cut into the lobster tail. Unfortunately, the texture was more on the mushy side suggesting it might have been frozen. In a restaurant of this calibre, especially a seafood one at that, this is completely unacceptable. However, I was willing to convince myself that the mushiness was due to the over soaking in water during its cleaning process (albeit a very thin excuse) because the rest of the plate was so perfectly executed and the flavours do come into one, especially with the sweet pinot noir jus.
At this stage, the meal has had its ups and downs. Not having a sweet tooth myself rendered the arrival of a chocolate and pistachio pudding somewhat irrelevant as I was up to the neck. However, my taste buds (and belly) were put to test once more. But only in the best way possible. It was a decadent plate of sweetness complimented by the perfect harmony of earthiness. It would have been a welcoming dish to any Michelin-starred restaurants.
By all means, One O One’s tasting menu is not pitch perfect. However, given its location and the price, it was a very satisfying meal. Since Chef Proyart is a brand ambassador for the Norwegian Seafood Council, I would have no hesitation to go back to the a la carte menu which includes the signature Wild Norwegian red king crab risotto. The a la carte menu might not come across as good value as the tasting menu but given the location and my humble experience, I would go back and I cannot wait to do so.
London Lamppost Score – 3.5/5
One O One
101 Knightsbridge SW1X 7RN