Outlaw’s Seafood and Grill at The Capital Hotel
Really, I could sum it up in a sentence. Great food, dull room, small portions. If you’d like to hear me elaborate on that, please do feel free to carry on reading.
We fancied this, because we wanted somewhere grown-up and quiet. I’m still recovering from a major life event and I’m not in the mood for buzzy glitzy cheery or any variant on those.
So I’d wanted somewhere quiet, but I didn’t want a morgue. Granted, we chose to eat at a very pensioner – friendly 6:30 PM but look, we were all alone for at least 30 minutes.
And the room is drab, and the décor is drab and it feels very much like an upmarket hotel dining room – which is what it is. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s all very tasteful and there are even some interesting touches, like the chandeliers, but the overall effect is greige and deadening.
And why is there a cutout to see into the kitchen, when you can’t actually see into the kitchen and what you do see looks odd and utilitarian, compared to the décor in the main room? I’d lose it.
And the drab decor is a shame, because the food is really very good and much more exciting than the surroundings, which is, I suppose, better than the other way round.
The service was impeccable and very hotel-formal. A bit too much for my liking but then I’m not sure that I am the target audience, although given my age, they may choose to argue with that statement. And it was an interesting mix of people. A wealthy middle-class Home Counties couple; a group of four fund managers; elderly parents with their son; a young couple who looked slightly out of place and us.
I’ve trained the other half well and he knows where not to sit now to he told me he’d already changed tables twice. Result. This meant we had an excellent table from which we could survey the room.
And then we were brought little fishcake appetisers. They came with a green hot tartare sauce. They were wonderful even if they did burn the inside of my mouth as they were obviously fresh out of the fryer.
Then home-made bread with decent butter. I only had a tiny bit of this but it was good. It wasn’t rustic, it was an elegant, soft bread. A sourdough wouldn’t have worked here.
And then I chose crab with celeriac and apple. It was superb. Two of the mountains were with crab and one was with celeriac alone. Texture, flavour, balance – this dish had it all.
The other half had scampi, which came with a delicious mayonnaise. I managed to nab one but there wasn’t a lot of stuff to actually now as although they looked quite large on the plate, there was very little in them. But what there was, was excellent.
And then I ordered hot shellfish platter. As you can see, it had a variety of shellfish together with a hot dish of what I think was crab and deep-fried oysters. It was beautifully presented and although it looked like a large dish, when you took away the seaweed, it wasn’t really that much and it’s a while since I’ve been to a restaurant and actually felt hungry after the main course.
Perhaps it was because I haven’t gorged myself on bread or perhaps it was because the portions were quite small.
The other half had duck and monkfish with a barbecue sauce. It doesn’t sound very promising but it was an interesting combination and skilfully done. Again, not the most massive portion we have ever seen.
And my only very slight quibble was that the chargrilled vegetables were a little too undercooked for my taste and I didn’t really like them. They look very pretty. In fact the presentation throughout was very good and there is very clearly a skilled chef at work.
We ended with the cheese plate because I am doing that low carb thing until more of my wardrobe is available to me. It was a good selection, decent crackers and chutney.
Following that, there were four handmade chocolates. The low carb thing did, I’m afraid, fly straight out of the window because they were absolutely delicious and hoovered them up in about oh, two seconds. Make sure you ask for them if they don’t bring them.