Like a lady who lunches: The Savoy

Oh how I wish I was a sassy lady à la Audrey Hepburn, swinging myself around plush restaurants and doing powerplate sessions in between (although gracious Audrey would of course never need such a thing). On Monday I had the pleasure of meeting a few friends over lunch at the River Restaurant at The Savoy and dear me, I felt quite like a lady of leisure.

I loved Savoy before I entered the impressive hotel foyer. Do you want to know why? Because Oscar Wilde used to frequent this gaff and I do love my Oscar Wilde. The Picture of Dorian Gray is such a lovely decadent piece of writing and I will forever heart this novel that inspired me to study literature at the university.

The Savoy lived up to my expectations and then some. I became a snap happy tourist, and demanded a tour of the gilded Beaufort Bar. I would’ve continued with The American Bar too, if my friends didn’t start to look a bit bored after I fired away questions about the refurbishment, Decadents and busy operation hours.

The River Restaurant was lunch-time quiet except from a rather loud man. He was being interviewed so I suppose he must’ve been important. I tried to eavesdrop but the only thing I heard was that he thought that the massive black urns that decorate the centre of the restaurant were “jolly nice”, I stopped listening after that.

Piano music trickled in from the Thames Foyer and I could quickly discern The Phantom of the Opera and other musical crowd pleasers. I nearly skipped to the tunes of “These are a few of my favourite things”, but Audrey Hepburn wouldn’t have done that, so I behaved.

For appetisers we were served four different kinds of bread and a quinoa and sweet potato dish. When asked what the quinoa was served with, I was given a vague “…mint” (or was it parsley?) answer, so I left it at that.

For starters we all ordered different things, and I went for the duck confit croquettes., Slightly too much to start with for me, they had a nice tender inside encased in a crispy shell . I think the winner was my friend’s hazelnut-crusted scallops, which was cooked to perfection.

I had lemon sole with sugar snaps, saffron potatoes and mussels as my main, and this dear reader, was the right choice. If you can say that the fish was al dente, this was it. Perfect texture mixed with a creamy saffron sauce and crispy sugar snaps, they gave the dish that extra bounce. The guinea fowl that was devoured next to me would’ve been my second choice. Having said that, I could’ve ordered nearly every option on the menu, their sophisticated Frenchness appealed to me.

We agreed it would be a shame not to finish our fine lunch with dessert, so in came four different selections of sweetness. None of us shared. I suppose that’s a good testament to the desserts’ qualities. The nougat parfait with champagne poached rhubarb was a creamy delight and the vanilla flavoured crème brulée looked flawless. In hindsight I should’ve gone for the lighter option, the booze-infused fruit salad however this time, daintiness had to give way for decadence.

You would think my lady who lunch day ended there, but hours later I found myself in Harvey Nichols, nibbling away on Chef Jonas Karlsson’s creations. But that’s a story I will share another time…

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