Zomato Meetup at St James’ Court for #80Tastes

This post is all about one of my favourite events to date. I was invited by Zomato* to an event at St James’ Court, a Taj Hotel, to go restaurant hopping (I know – amazing right?) through a handful of the 7 restaurants they have in the hotel. Yes, 7 restaurants – 1 (beautiful) hotel.

(*Zomato is a restaurant discovery guide filled to the brim with reviews written by trusted food lovers/eaters/bloggers, that helps you find great places to eat around you, pretty much wherever you are – they are in 22 countries worldwide – I am using them over here in America as we speak. Go on – have a google – www.zomato.com)

St James’ Court is in one of the most beautiful parts of London. It is in fact perfectly placed between Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. This is ideal if you are the Queen and want a quick cup of tea of your way to visit David.

The hotel itself has 338 rooms and suites but unlike big new, in-your-face hotels, they are beautifully hidden in this Victorian fronted building and around its Shakespearean courtyard.

As I said before – this was one of my favourite events and one of the reasons why was that it started with a Laurent-Perrier champagne tasting accompanied with canapés. The champagne tasting took part in the amazing courtyard of the hotel.

From the street you would have no idea there was a courtyard space out the back, and from the courtyard, you have no idea that you are in central London. You are transported into this beautiful, spacious and peaceful garden area with no sounds of rush hour or views of office blocks. This courtyard would be ideal for summer evening drinks or a party.

The courtyard seating is all positioned around this beautiful fountain. And what was perched in front of the fountain was very exciting.

So our first stop on the restaurant hopping tour of this Taj Hotel was in courtyard where we were treated to The Cellar Room Champagne Flight Experience.

Hello beautiful table setting – and thank you to the British Weather Gods for allowing us to sit outside with perfect London summer evening weather.

The most divine Champagne – Laurent-Perrier Vintage 2004Laurent-Perrier Brut, Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé

The Champagne Flight consists of three Laurent-Perrier champagne glasses, each perfectly paired with its own canapé. The Laurent-Perrier Brut is complemented with a Scottish scallop and avocado tartare. The Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé with prawn and smoke salmon en paupiette and the Laurent-Perrier Vintage 2004 with a summer asparagus ratatouille crostini.  It was heaven. HEAVEN.

The Champagne Flight, which is the three glasses and canapés above is available everyday at The Cellar Room for £20. Highly recommended for a summer evening treat. When I go back, I may have to go for a breakfast Flight, a lunch Flight and a dinner Flight. 

After three glasses of those gorgeous Champagnes, we were off to our next stop on the restaurant tour, Bistro. This restaurant looks out onto the street and is flooded with natural light.

Anyone counting how many glasses we are on? No? Good, good.

One of my favourite scenes at blogger events – food goes down, cameras come up.

Here we were treated to our first course of the evening – sesame crusted tuna with a grapefruit salad and wasabi potato. As you may remember from my pervious posts, for example my trip to sushi heaven, tuna is one of my favourite foods – seared tuna, tuna tartare, tuna sashami, tuna steaks, and of course, tuna pasta with too much mayonnaise. This tuna course didn’t let me down – it was sublime.

The sesame tuna mixed with the bitterness of the grapefruit and the creaminess of the potato but with the zing of the wasabi – it was a party on the taste buds. And one that I will be revisiting for sure.

I didn’t want to leave Bistro. I could have happily spent my evening munching through another 4 plates of the sesame crusted tuna. 

But we were off to our next stop, Quilon – and boy, oh boy, I would have been very annoyed at myself if I had missed out on this place. 

Quilon is a Michelin star restaurant serving extremely amazing Indian food. Their philosophy is simple: they aim to convey their passion for South-west coastal Indian cuisine in a way which gives you a perspective on their quest for perfect ingredients, technique, and a deep-seated desire to continue learning and evolving through traditions and modern tastes.

We were seated in the private dining room downstairs by the kitchen. It was an experience similar to the ones the winning team of The Apprentice get as a treat each week. It was such a beautiful room but unfortunately the mood lighting was too moody for my camera so the photos do not do it justice. 

We were served, on beautiful gold leaf plate, a main course of dreams. There was the ‘Fisherman’s catch’ which was pepper shrimp, crab cake, lentil fish and grilled scallop accompanied with the Quilon fish curry – cubes of halibut simmered in coconut, chilli and raw mango sauce. On the side there was a Malabar paratha which is a soft refined flour dough beaten to thin sheets and folded to form layered bread, and then cooked on a skilled with pure ghee. 

This food was incredible. I have never been a major fan of Indian food, I am a wuss with spicy food – I am a very boring curry orderer of a chicken tikka masala or just a korma so I was worried I wouldn’t like the spices and flavours – but I could of licked my golden leaf plate clean.

After this, just incase we were all still hungry, we headed to our last stop of the restaurant tour, Kona, a restaurant that offers an innovative interpretation of the colours, flavours and vibrancy of Southern European cuisine, marrying traditional cooking techniques from the Côte d’Azure and the coast of Liguria in Italy with a modern flair.  On their website its says – “Kona is a place and a location, where one can spend quiet time indulging”. This sounds like my kind of place. I feel I should perhaps just move in?

The interior design in Kona is gorgeous. Shades of grey and azure, luxurious furnishings, big comfy seats, you feel at home whilst still having that lovely feeling of knowing you are in the most beautiful restaurant. 

We were served Norfolk ‘roam free’ chicken with a parmesan and red poblano crust, sweet roast garlic reduction served with a light tuscan panzalla salad, kalamata and basil. (When I type about what I have eaten, I always hear it in the lady’s voice from Masterchef – please read it like that too – much more fun). 

I loved this course. It was almost like it had been tailored made for me as I love every single ingredient. The whole bulbs of garlic with a mouthful of parmesan crusted chicken and olives. In love. 

I was pretty full by the time we got here, but there was no way I was leaving this chicken on the plate.

Glass number ?

Our fifth and final course was a chocolate taster plate. The best way to finish an evening. We were served a (Masterchef voice) manjari parfair with malleable chocolate ganache served with chocolate sorbet and seville orange gel. And a flower. Edible and pretty. 

I can’t praise the standard of the food at these restaurants high enough, along with the spectacular service and beautiful, detailed designs of all of them. So different from each other, and all of such a high standard, you will be satisfied which ever restaurant you choose to eat at. I am sitting here trying to think of my favourite and I honestly can’t choose. Luckily you don’t have to choose as St James’ Court has recently launched their #80Tastes, a journey through the hotel’s 4 restaurants, and I highly recommend/ beg you to go and have a foodies dream evening. Forget aeroplanes, your taste buds can travel around the world in one evening!

Delicious drinks in the courtyard, spectacular seared tuna, fabulous fisherman’s catch, captivating chicken and gorgeous ganache. 

I would like to thank Alexandra from Zomato for inviting me, and for St James Court for having us, especially Marion for looking after us and sharing all the amazing information about the hotel, history and restaurants.

It was such a fabulous evening filled with ridiculously good food, wine and people. 

So where are you all heading? St James’ Court for the 80Taste Menu? Excellent – I am glad to hear it!

Lots of Love

Cocoa Chelsea x