Having been revamped this September in time for the autumn, The Montagu Kitchen (previously The Montagu Restaurant) is a modern British all-day dining destination set within Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, conveniently tucked away in upmarket Marylebone yet still moments away from the heart of London’s West End.
Under the direction of Executive Chef Mark Sainsbury, The Montagu Kitchen celebrates the best of British produce, taking inspiration from Winston Churchill’s illustrious former residence of Chartwell House in Kent, which is now managed by the National Trust and boasts beautiful year-round gardens that also influences the refreshed restaurant.
Internationally celebrated for design and innovation, Chelsea favourite Designers Guild were asked to reinterpret the Chartwell Gardens through their renowned and inimitable use of colour, texture and pattern. The serene and informal planting areas of the gardens were the focal point of inspiration for Designers Guild who specially selected their Champ de Fleurs fabric to adorn the restaurant’s new seating arrangements.
Evocative of a summer meadow, the floral fabric depicts a wonderful array of wild flowers and is exquisitely hand drawn – perfectly capturing the essence of nature and the spirit of the Chartwell Gardens. The Champ de Fleurs amethyst flowers also appear on the restaurant menus and lavendar sprigs adorn the napkin rings further bringing the floral theme to the fore.
The Montagu Kitchen floristry and botanical displays have been carefully created by leading florist Juliet Glaves, who is known for her organic approach to home-grown flowers, with Glaves having taken inspiration from Chartwell’s natural landscape.
Kent-born Chef Mark has carefully crafted menus for The Montagu Kitchen which champion the freshest ingredients and classic British flavours that taps into the seasonality of the Chartwell Gardens, and firmly put nature at the heart of its menus and interiors.
Ahead of the re-launch of The Montagu Kitchen, Chef Mark and his team visited Chartwell on numerous occasions to ensure the sights, smells and tastes of the gardens are brought to life in the new menu. The core offering changes every season as one would expect however there are also several daily and weekly specials to enjoy every month.
As we perused the menu, we were served crunchy rosemary & potato bread accompanied with a punchy smoked paprika butter that paired well with the fragrant flavours of the warm bread.
To start, the Poached Lobster with samphire and potato salad is an excellent choice for seafood lovers. Full of marine flavours, the vanilla mayonnaise and grapefruit help brighten the delicate taste of the lobster.
16 Hours Cured Salmon is one of Chef Mark’s signature starters at The Montagu Kitchen. Lovingly prepared with patience and care, the salmon is cured for 16 hours before being served with crispy salmon skin which itself takes about 12 hours to prepare using a dehydrator before being briefly fried. The crunch of the skin and the pickled cucumber is a nice contrast of textures to the tenderness of the cured salmon and confit tomatoes. National Trust cider horseradish mustard adds the necessary piquancy to balance the flavours of the dish.
Another signature dish is the Marmalade Glazed Pork Belly made using Chef Mark’s own homemade marmalade. The melt-in-the-mouth pork belly is slow-cooked for 12 hours before it is seared in the fiery heat of the Josper Grill. Such careful cooking techniques allow the flavours of the British pork to shine through accompanied by satisfying braised kale with barley and herbs, seasonal roasted celeriac and carrot purée. Both my dining companion and I agreed that this was a strong contender for the Best Pork Belly in London.
From the Josper Grill, the 21 Days Dry Aged Heritage Beef Rib Eye was juicy and mouthwateringly tender even cooked medium, clearly demonstrating the benefits of this beech and oak charcoal fired oven with its high temperature, faster grilling time and the unique flavour imparted into the meat from the finest embers. The traditional sauces of Béarnaise, Peppercorn or Red Wine are offered as accompaniments to your steak.
Speaking of accompaniments, the side dishes on the menu are sure to please every taste from favourites like Creamy Mash or Roasted Potatoes to the more daring combination of Roasted Apple and Fennel with Clawson Blue Stilton Cheese or the simplicity of Steamed Seasonal Vegetables dressed with herbs and garlic. The dishes pair perfectly with non-alcoholic cocktails such as Limonana or Blueberry & Rosehip Sling.
To finish, save room for the signature dessert of Raspberry Rose Bakewell Tart served with homemade English honey ice cream. The classic flavour combinations of almonds and honey go so well together in this dish with the added dimension of raspberry jam with a hint of rose to remind you of the roses in the Chartwell Gardens.
We were pleasantly surprised to see an all-too-rare occurence on London restaurant dessert menus – a vegan dessert. The Vegan Trio of activated cashew nut passionfruit cheesecake, coconut macaron and mango sorbet is served with fresh mango chunks in a fruity sauce. If you are unfamiliar with activated nuts, these have been soaked (usually overnight) to break down problematic compounds in the raw nuts which enhance their digestibility with the added benefit of increasing the nutrient value of the nuts. It’s cheesecake but not as you know it and the coconut macaron use the almost magical ingredient of chickpea water or aquafaba to make this vegan meringue cookie.
After dinner we chatted to Chef Mark about the revamped restaurant, the menu concept and his passion for modern British cuisine. He was very excited about the new Josper Grill which has its own section on the menu of meaty delights and described how The Montagu Kitchen’s design really allows diners to enjoy the culinary theatre of the new open plan kitchen.
Chef Mark said, “I loved growing up in the countryside in Kent, and it has been my lifelong ambition to take inspiration from the fragrant woods, meadows and fruit farms and use it in my cooking. Chartwell House in Kent has such a fascinating history and I’m excited to marry up my personal experience of Kent with the gardens at Chartwell to create a truly unique offering at The Montagu Kitchen.”
Executive Chef Mark Sainsbury and his team at The Montagu Kitchen serve seasonal food using local suppliers and fresh British produce reconnecting diners with nature through simple dishes that bring a little bit of the gardens at Chartwell to the heart of London. The Montagu Kitchen is open for lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and Sunday brunch.
The Montagu Kitchen
Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill
30 Portman Square, London W1H 7BH
+44 (0) 20 7299 2037