Simon Wittenberg samples flavours of Spain at Arado, the newly-opened restaurant of the four-star Meliá White House hotel near London’s Regent’s Park.
Arado, the Spanish word for ‘plough’ (as in the piece of farming equipment), is the latest culinary addition to the art deco-style Meliá White House, a hotel tucked away in London’s NW1 postcode.
Located a short walk away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, the 140-seater restaurant offers all-day dining and a menu inspired by the gastronomy of the Mediterranean region.
We visited on a Saturday night, and although there were a few more guests and families by 8 pm, it was not overly busy, meaning you could enjoy your food in a relatively tranquil environment.
The décor of this elegant eatery combines a plethora of light wood furniture with metal chairs and beige leather banquettes. On the opposite side of the hotel lobby, there’s also a separate bar area that comes alive in the evening, and serves a variety of cocktails created by a dedicated team of mixologists, in addition to several different types of wine and champagne.
The menu at Arado is overseen by Head Chef Alberto Jonte Sanchez. Coming from the Balearic Islands, his career has taken him to the JW Marriott Miami, numerous restaurants in Spain, including the Michelin-starred Pepe Vieira, and most recently to the five-star ME Ibiza hotel, which I had the pleasure of staying at back in 2015. He then moved to the UK last October to lead the kitchen at Meliá White House.
In terms of the gastronomy on offer at Arado, the selection of dishes is pretty extensive and features many of the Spanish favourites.
Accompanied by what was supposed to be a non-alcoholic San Miguel for myself (£4.50) and a glass of watery mango juice for my wife (£4), we started with a selection of traditional tapas, which vary in price from £7 to £13.50 depending on your preference.
They were namely patatas bravas (potato cubes with a tomato-like sauce), Gazpacho Andaluz (a chilled tomato soup) served with crispbread, green Padron peppers (the Russian Roulette of tapas, as you never know how hot they are going to be) and sliced avocado and asparagus on a toasted baguette.
Being a regular visitor to the Iberian Peninsula, our opening course had a nice authentic taste, without the food being overly greasy, which can sometimes be the case with Spanish cuisine.
The mains are split into ‘From the Sea’ for fans of fish, ‘From the Land’ for meat options and ‘From the Garden’ for salads. In addition, there’s a dedicated Paella section, which very much sparked our interest. The four Paellas on offer can be ordered for two people, or as four portions if preferred as tapas.
We shared the vegetarian version (£28), a sizzling hot pan of saffron-coloured rice with chopped cauliflower, peppers, asparagus, green peas and beans. Accompanied by fresh lemon segments, it was superb and was moist enough that the grains were not stuck together, which can be an easy mistake to make when preparing any rice-based dishes.
After two relatively filling courses that were both excellent, we had just about enough room left for dessert. Costing £6 each, there are seven to choose from, and feature a custard-style Spanish coffee flan ‘Crema Catalana’ (similar to a crème brûlée) and a Basque-style cheesecake. I finished the evening on a very tasty and creamy tiramisu, whilst my other half had the fresh pineapple with a little saucepan of lemongrass sauce, a nice break from the more frequent dairy-free alternative of sorbet.
All-in-all, the portions were very generous, and the service from our Spanish host and hostess was efficient throughout our meal. This meant that the pauses were not too prolonged between courses, and our dinner was nicely spaced out. We arrived at 7 pm, and spent around an hour and a half hour enjoying the Arado experience, so it never felt rushed.
In summary: Arado at the Meliá White House hotel is the ideal destination for those who want a break from the more familiar Spanish tapas chains in London. Its traditional cuisine revives memories of relaxing and eating great food in the Mediterranean sunshine. So, apart from being able to organise the weather, they have got the formula just right and should be on to a good thing.
Arado at Meliá White House – Where and How?
Arado at Meliá White House is located at Albany St, London NW1 3UP, United Kingdom. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.melia.com.
See more pictures of what we had to eat and drink on our Instagram page.
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