CUT first appeared on the London restaurant scene in 2011 – an immediate success for celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s first European outpost. Fast forward seven years and CUT remains highly regarded.
Located at lobby level in the sleek 45 Park Lane Hotel, adjacent its sister property The Dorchester, the restaurant’s privileged and discreet Mayfair location opposite Hyde Park provides easy access for both business and pleasure.
My first impression is of superb service and subtle sophistication. As soon as my friend and I arrive we are guided to our table via the light-filled lobby with its grand staircase leading to BAR 45. The décor here is intimate and elegant: high ceilings, marble flooring, leather seating, fabulous ‘cloud’ chandeliers from Brand Van Egmond and beautifully presented staff who were perfectly attentive.
Designer, Thierry Despont has created a hotel that feels warm, sexy and inviting with his use of colour, textures and shapes. And as an art aficionado, his wall space provides an ever-changing canvas for spectacular artworks, including works by Mark Beattie, Vesna Milinkovic and Gillian Hyland from the new Eight From Nyne exhibition.
It’s a sexy look, and clearly a hit with business people, couples and families who were all dining when we arrived. The double-height ceiling with full-glass windows makes this a light-filled, snug-like space – ideal for intimate rendezvous, as well as business lunches and dinners. I notice the Damien Hirst limited edition Diamond Dust Psalms series on the walls, adding a roguish air to the ambiance of quiet seclusion. The overall vibe is of Art Deco married to contemporary design with rich, dark materials contrasting with light colours and sensual textures.
Our wonderful head sommelier Matteo Ramazzina clearly has a passion for wine and recommends a glass of Barons de Rothschild Rosé Champagne – a fine collaboration between the once-feuding brothers – with its unique salmon-pink-coppery colour and strawberry and lemon flavours. This exquisite blend of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir is the best Champagne I’ve tasted in a while.
We break bread from a basket of sourdough, focaccia and olive, accompanied with delicate rosemary butter. The focaccia is especially delicious. Looking at the menu there is a choice of 11 starters: from English pea soup to Chinese chicken salad via Prime sirloin steak tartar. My friend opts for the seafood risotto with lobster, crab, confit tomato and parmesan. And I choose the Dorset crab and lobster Louis cocktail with spicy tomato and horseradish. The subtle yet distinctive flavours and presentation are a sensual delight. We share of course – enjoying the risotto’s warming heartiness against the cool crab with its light and fresh taste.
The well-crafted wine list at CUT has more than a nod to the American varieties as well as worldwide gems. Matteo recommends a vibrant red – the succulent Luce Della Vite – a mix of 50% Merlot and 50% local Sangiovese grapes created under the Tuscan sun. This 3-litre bottle of red nectar arrives on a special serving stand and looks as impressive as it tastes.
Indeed, BAR 45 has the largest selection of American wines in the UK, including Wolfgang Puck’s very own Wolfgang Puck-Schrader Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard, Napa Valley. Of which only 80 cases were produced.
Mains options were again plentiful, with a selection of steak and fish dishes from the expert culinary hand of Executive Chef David McIntyre. Including generous salads (chicken, lobster or crab) in addition to the famous CUT steaks and inviting seafood choices. I was tempted by the pan-roasted south Devon Angus filet mignon and the grilled Australian wagyu burger, but after much deliberation plumped for a lighter lunch option of steamed wild seabass ‘Hong Kong’ style with baby bok choy and snap peas, served with white rice. My friend opted for the grilled chicken sandwich.
My sea bass was soft, succulent and really did melt in my mouth. It’s easy to overcook fish but this was perfection. The combination of flavours with garlic, chilli oil and ginger were subtle enhancers that made this sea bass one of the best I have ever tasted.
My friend’s chicken was equally sublime: well cooked, light to the palette and accompanied by cheddar, harissa aioli and rocket. We were so excited by the menu we ordered three sides (not realising the generous portions at CUT). French fries, a work of art creamed spinach with fried organic egg, and broccoli rapini with sundried tomatoes and a touch of garlic. This is hearty cuisine for people who love food and we took a leisurely two hours over lunch – preferring to pause, chat and savour the exquisite menu.
Incredibly, we found room for dessert, opting for a taster to share. Our charming waiter George created a surprise melange of baked Alaska, dark chocolate pavlova and caramelised granny smith apple. Divine! I don’t usually have a sweet tooth but these desserts, paired with great coffee, gave us a sugar high that rounded off the meal perfectly.
On the sweet theme, look out for 45 Park Lane’s first Afternoon Tea offering – CUTcakes & Tea – available from 4 July. Delicate porcelain and dainty sandwiches will be replaced with a feast of American teatime favourites with a contemporary twist, including Black Truffle Grilled Cheese and Fried Chicken, and Peanut Butter and Jelly Twinkies. And there’ll be special tea cocktails, as well as an American Craft beer menu.
Bravo CUT! Attention to detail is superb and presentation first class, with excellent service. Thanks to the genius of David McIntyre and team, CUT at 45 Park Lane delivers exquisite flavours and a sophisticated dining setting that’s perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Highly recommended.
45 Park Lane: Eight From Nyne: Ones to Watch Art Exhibition
45 Park Lane’s latest art exhibition, Eight From Nyne: Ones to Watch, is the most recent addition to the hotel’s 2018 ‘Emerging Artists’ art series with Ackerman Studios. In collaboration with After Nyne Gallery, the exhibition runs until 2 July and showcases eight artists, including Gillian Hyland’s supernaturally staged photography and Richard Hoey’s tactile materials and metal leaf.