Leprechauns, or so the Irish faerie stories go, are solitary creatures who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If captured by a human, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom.
Taking a meander through the vibrant (some might stretch the metaphor to say, a rainbow) mews of Chelsea, I definitely know what I would spend my wishes on should I ever find the end of the rainbow, especially this week in the lead up to St Patrick’s Day.
Disclaimer: We were invited but my (very many) opines are only ever my own.
One would be another evening spent in the company of Madam Kings Road Rocks. One would be for World Peace. And one would be a repeat of the iontach (Irish for wonderful) meal that we enjoyed recently as dining guests of the stunning 11 Cadogan Hotel.
We swept through the gorgeous interior of the boutique hotel – a hidden gem subtly concealed behind a beautiful Victorian townhouse facade (built by Lord
Chelsea in the late 19th century, originally comprising of four separate
Victorian town houses) hidden away in the prestigious SW3 – down to the restaurant.
Presented with a glass of champagne to toast our Monday evening, we perused the limited edition St Patrick’s Day menu (only available up to the 17th March) with unbridled glee, safe in the knowlege we hadn’t any need for the famed luck of the Irish.
As we nibbled the crusty bread (accompanied by Irish butter speckled with salt grains) our starter of cream of leek & potato soup appeared as if by sleight of hand whilst we chattered away, simply catching up on life. In the centre of our bowls, oven roasted Dublin Bay prawns were slowly encircled by a tide of soup, poured with elegant panache in front of our eyes. As we instagrammed our way through the dish, both of us struck gold (#sorrynotssorry) as our spoons cradled the divine prawns, exquisitely seasoned. So good I forgot to take a ‘proper’ photo.
For main, Mina chose the Guinness braised beef cheeks (served with Savoy cabbage) solving my menu indecision, leaving me to enjoy the slow cooked neck of lamb (accompanied by Colcannon potatoes.) Silence reigned. That’s how lovely each dish was. Cooked tenderly, bursting with rich flavour and perfect gourmet iterations of the comfort of Irish hospitality.
Our dessert could have be conjured by the Tuatha Dé Danann – a delicate pear crumble infused with the tantalising notes of Guinness (which worked beautifully), crowned with a quinelle of Jameson whiskey cream that we all cooed over. Actually, that would be my third wish, another spoonful or seven of our dessert, to magically appear when summoned.
Exquisite flavour in any language.
If I’m being honest, we were utterly surprised and beguiled by our meal. What I also now know, is that I need to return for a more thorough exploration of the beautifully appointed twists and turns of the sumptuous rooms.
In the meantime though, with the St Patrick’s Day menu at 11 Cadogan Hotel being such astonishingly good value for such quality ingredients and no fluffy flourishes, I might not need one of those wishes to revisit…
Trust me, I’ve kissed the Blarney Stone.