When a restaurant is named one of the top eateries in the world, it’s time for the team at Luxurious Magazine to go and find out for themselves what it is like. The Royal Horseguards fine dining restaurant, One Twenty One Two, was awarded this accolade for the first time by TripAdvisor users, a title which recognises hospitality excellence, and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on the website.
Situated in Whitehall, One Twenty One Two is housed in the hotel’s former neighbour Scotland Yard, and takes its name from the universally famous telephone number – Whitehall 1212. The minute you walk in through the doors, you enter a classically decorated dining area complete with pillar-box red velvet banquettes and thick lush carpet. The restaurant is decorated with contemporary chandeliers, horsey motifs and oil paintings of cavalry charges. It oozes Britishness. A secluded terrace is also available ideal for those all too rare balmy evenings. Guests are offered a free glass of champagne with their dinner as they peruse through the menu.
The focus throughout is on modern British cuisine along the lines of Casterbridge beef and South Coast Dover Sole. The starter menu is largely focused on fish-orientated options with the classic scallops, halibut, and rainbow trout on offer. A vegetarian option is equally available, however our waiter Manuel was eager to point out the dishes can be altered to suit individual dietary requirements. The scallops are always a hit with me and were duly ordered. They came with truffle and cauliflower soup and garlic crisp.
Fortunately the list of main courses is not extensive making it easier to choose. More often than not, too much choice on a menu can prove difficult when deciding what to eat. With meat and fish purchased fresh by the chef, some of the meal prices can vary and a supplement is added according to the market price. My guest and I were particularly impressed by all the waiters’ knowledge on wine. They are duly trained on what wine goes with particular dishes and will ask you whether you would like a recommendation when ordering in addition to whatever other tipple you’re having.
The dessert menu is not extensive so it was easy to make a choice. Again, waiters will recommend a dessert wine to accompany the sweet dish but you’re not pressured into drinking any more than you would like to. You could of course just order an alcohol based dessert should you wish. The Gin O’clock dessert which consists of lemon posset, London Dry Gin, Blueberry Vermouth and violet foam is ideal.
For a hotel restaurant it was fairly busy and we found the place filled with more Londoners than tourists. Perhaps this was because it was the weekend and Whitehall is quieter with tourists at those times. The atmosphere and mood was definitely laid back and at no point did we feel rushed. It was hard to believe that over four hours had passed by with such ease. It may have had something to do with a couple of surprise courses from the chef in between those of our own so we could prolong our experience at One Twenty One Two. The service was particularly great thanks to the attentive waiters throughout the evening. And although the food prices match the hotels’ five star status, you can’t ever put a price on exemplary service.
By Sabi Phagura