When I first started blogging, I was super secret squirrel about the whole thing. Hence why my blog name doesn't contain my real name. (It's Lauren.... so it's 'Elle' as in L...oh never mind) but since I' ve 'come out' and started meeting people in the blogging community, I've realised how frickin' awesome people are.
Case in point - Lauren of the Lifestyle Diaries. Not only do we share the same name but she's actually exactly like me - but you know, Scottish. After having so much fun on our trip to On the Bab we promised we'd have a blogger date again ASAP and what with it being Bookatable's London Restaurant Festival we thought 'why the bloody hell not'.
Hotel Cafe Royal was the venue of choice. Because we're swanky like that. The hotel's restaurant, the Ten Room, were offering a three course menu with champagne cocktail for just £30 so we could have all the swank for less of the dollar. Me likey.
The hotel itself is beautiful. You've got door-men who greet you on arrival, high ceilings, marble - it's all feeling very opulent, which you'd expect from a hotel which used to play host to Oscar Wilde. The Ten Room restaurant itself is towards the back of the hotel in what I imagine to be the old foyer - decor-wise it's a little less lavish than the rest of the hotel but i'm not here for interiors, I'm here for food so let's begin with starters.
We both went for the mackerel escabèche starter which sadly wasn't quite to my taste but the other choices of salad and soup didn't particularly sweep me away. Don't get me wrong, it was pleasant but I was expecting a warm dish and being served cold threw me off slightly.
My main course more than made up it though with the braised pigs cheeks. I love a bit of cheek - slow-cooked in a thick rich gravy with soft mashed potatoes -it's one of those dinners which feels like you're being hugged while eating it.
A £5 surcharge for what's essentially a very cheap cut of meat seemed somewhat steep, but having experienced great food envy at Darwin when I last saw it on the menu there was no way I would let this one pass me by.
Lauren went for the wild mushroom and spinach risotto which I'm told was really good. There was a little mix-up with the waiter not explaining that the side salad should be eaten mixed with the risotto but other than that the textures and flavours were all spot on. Dessert at the Ten Room was a delight. Lemon tart for me is always a winner - strong citrusy flavour with a slight meringue top giving it that lemon meringue pie vibe without being too sickly and cloying.
Lauren's chocolate mousse with raspberries was incredible. Dark, bitter chocolate perfectly balanced with the sharp raspberries.
The service was tip-top as you'd hope in a hotel of this stature although the vibe just wasn't really there for me. Our reservation was early so I'm sure the atmosphere would have picked up towards the latter part of the evening if you booked in around 8 o'clock.Ten Room is one to tick off the list but not necessarily somewhere I would rush back to. I have been told by the hilariously-funny Emily of Curious London that the afternoon tea here is good so perhaps try that rather than stop by for dinner?
68 Regent St, London W1B 4DY