While it may be mid-Feb, I think it is important to check in with those New Year’s improvements from time to time. Even if the promise was only 31 days, what was learnt? What was gained? For me it meant being sans meat for the month – 100% vegan was a stretch too far this time, but a strong veggie stance could definitely be handled. In the end it was actually pretty tasty, I got to think about the food I eat a bit more, carbon footprint, health benefits, newfound level of smugness… The moral of the endeavour, however, is that good things come to those that wait.
The 31 day fast was broken at the new resto bar TH@51 situated at the Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences. Tucked away around the corner from the beautiful Palace of Westminster (and the biggest of Bens). With so many different sides and boroughs of London, I forget how London this neck of the woods really is.
The idea behind TH@51 is to take a creative spin to global foods and flavours, across both the dining and unique cocktail menu. And as Mehrnavaz Avari, Area Director UK and General Manager at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences commented:
“London is considered the culinary capital of the world and we are delighted to bring TH@51 with its eclectic global flavours in stylish settings in the heart of the London city. Keeping in mind the quest to indulge in innovative gastronomic experiences, the vibrant selection of food and cocktails will connect with our patrons. We look forward to offering our quintessential warm service at the new address in London.”
As all meals should do, it began at the bar. Riccardo Lupacchini and his team have taken the last 11 months to design a menu inspired by the earths five biomes. Celebrating the uniqueness of our planet and these drinks! My global trip started off in the deserts of north Africa with a Shay Al-Walah – Zacapa 23, mint tea, karkadè, Moroccan lemon, vegetal milk and date honey. An experience as much as a drink, poured from a teacup and left to smoke for a moment. The result, a subtle hint of cola-cubes and I mean that as compliment. I was stuck in the desert as what followed was El Camino – Casamigos Blanco, mesquita, pineapple tapache, agave, grapefruit, tamarillo. A refreshing number that can take the edge off any desert heat.
The main event was calling. Sat in a stunning atrium, come dining room, ready to get stuck into Executive Head Chef Sujoy Gupta’s menu. The Global theme continues as the dishes draw inspiration from all over the world. Sujoy is doing culinary arithmetic to pair and add popular flavours that result in a very tasty time. Spending eight years running the kitchens of both the Taj Bengal Kolkata and Taj Umaid Bawan Palace certainly teaches you a thing or two.
I couldn’t help but try as many of the signature dishes as I could. Starting with a Desi Scotch Egg – crispy mumbai spiced lamb mince, egg, curried mayo and mango chutney. Pairing India with Britain, this pub classic needed the cutlery to tackle and make you think twice about what you want next to your pint at your local. Joining the egg, was another signature. Sabich Tacos – Pita bread, aubergine, potato, pepper hummus, egg, amba sauce and pickled cabbage. A nice and light way to end the starters.
For my main course I had flashbacks of the orders I used to make as a student on a gloomy Wednesday night in Sheffield. Double Fish & Chips – two fried haddock fillets: classic batter and spice chickpea batter, mint chutney and tartare sauce, fries and sweet potato chips. Taking the pain of indecision right out of my hands while spicing up a British classic. While I’ll forever be a fan of a classic chip shop, this plate added a touch of sophistication I didn’t know I was missing.
Somehow, I managed to save space for dessert (but only just). Chocolate Cheesecake Mochi with salted caramel ice cream. A strong finish and a well-rounded end to a global evening.
The lesson I am taking away from my night at TH@51 is that only good things can happen when you celebrate diversity and bring differences together. If for some reason that’s really not your thing, honestly, you’ll be too full and satisfied to let prejudice get the better of you. My practical advice, for anyone looking to dine here – don’t fill up on the bread, it’s served with a beetroot hummus and roasted tomato pesto that is good enough to be a starter.
TH@51, 54 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AF, England.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7834 6655
TH@51 is located at the St James’ Court and is a couple of minutes from St James’s Park Tube station on the Circle and District lines. The restaurant is open for lunch from 12:30pm to 5:00pm and dinner from 5:00pm to 11:00pm with last orders at 10:45pm.
Type of Restaurant: Modern European Fusion Restaurant & Bar
Price Band: Medium to high
Insider Tip: Try and get a seat with a view of the beautiful courtyard and fountain; and if you get one with a view into the kitchen as well, even better!
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10
Sam Brady is a London based freelance writer and photographer covering travel and lifestyle.
Photographs courtesy of Th@51 and by Sam Brady