Bel Canto – You can’t Handel the Truth!

DQ-450x300One minute you’re being greeted by them at the door; the next they’re taking your coat away and giving you a stub for it, then guiding to your table, serving you drinks, and bringing your food all with smiles and politeness a plenty… but beyond these tasks that make a patron feel welcome the final element of what these excellent hosts do is Sing!

IMG-20140301-WA0007Walking around the tables lost in the moments of their performance these talented men and women show off Soprano to Alto, from Tenor’s to Baritone in an operatic show. A normal restaurant on the face of it, but every fifteen minutes the pianist takes his seat and starts hitting the keys – patrons glasses of wine down, the clinking stops – well apart from this chap and his wife two tables away who carried on regardless scraping their knife along their plates or their starters, disrespectful we thought… – but for the most part respect ensues and you sit back whilst they show off their stuff.

IMG-20140301-WA0010The acoustics of the venue are not too bad at all – everyone can hear well, and for those moments when the pianist stops and some acapella kicks in all notes are appropriately penetrating.

And then just as quickly the music ends, the applause loud out, and you turn to your companion/s and start chatting away and enjoying a meal as you would in any other venue.

IMG-20140301-WA0009With a condensed menu of four starters, four mains and a specific range of desserts, this is definitely a restaurant that prefers to focus on a small area of expertise. The pressure you put on yourselves with this is to ensure that each item on said menu delivers.

IMG-20140301-WA0000With starters of the crisp leafy ‘Opera salad’ and the Foie Gras that assumption was met well with some quality presentation and some fabulous flavours. The salad was simple yet well crafted, a perfect light starter when accompanied with the fine 2012 Riesling we chose – and at £29 with a lovely golden colour showing  fine maturity this place also knows how to choose their wines as well.

IMG-20140301-WA0002The foie gras was superb. Some foie gras’s are great but after a while are so rich you find it overpowering. This duck foie gras was creamy but well balanced – when smothered on expertly heated slices of soft brioche and fig chutney they matched the wine perfectly as well.

IMG-20140301-WA0003With mains of the Corn fed Chicken Chasseur and the Beef fillet, the mains backed up the thinking these chefs exploit their craft as well as the singers serving you.  The Chicken lying on creamy mash, onions, pancetta and tomato and tarragon jus created a lovely warmth with each fork-full greeted with joy. IMG-20140301-WA0005The rare beef fillet had caramelised shallots laying on it, and when combined with the crispy chunky chips and the peppercorn sauce provided a zingy pleasing dish.

To finish the trio of ice creams and chocolate fondant again struck all the right high notes, with long drawn out tones and a pleasing rhythm.

IMG-20140301-WA0006In between each course being delivered and eaten the singing carries on until the end when all four singers combine in one last number. I’m sure there are a lot of those reading that think they don’t know much about opera or opera music, but the intensity of the performances and the clear fun they all have is apparent. As for the music itself there are definitely going to be numbers you all recognise – from ‘that’ tune that British Airways used in the 80’s and 90’s adverts (Flower Duet – Sous le Dome Epais) onto the playful Georges Bizet’s Carmen: Habanera, and through to Gioachino Rossini’s Barber of Seville: Largo Al Factotum, you’ll all be wondering out shouting ‘Figaro Figaro!’ at the top of your lungs if suitably lubricated by the booze.

Overall it is really a unique experience and really well worth a trip!

£70pp inc wine and service

http://www.lebelcanto.com/page.php?id=56&langue=1

44 (0)20 7262 1678  

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