“Did you know”, said my dining companion as we strolled towards The Savoy, “that this road is the only one in the UK where you drive on the right-hand side?” The inquisitive Googler in me has since found this isn’t strictly true (the other is a bus depot in Hammersmith, in case you were wondering), though we did discover that Kaspar’s, The Savoy’s gleaming-jewel seafood restaurant, is as unique as the mind-spin road you’ll find at the hotel’s entrance. Push through the revolving doors into a fairy tale lobby, glide through to the Thames Foyer were intricate afternoon teas are nibbled under a stained glass dome (complete with a menagerie of sweet treats from the on-site patisserie), and on to the glossy dwelling that hosted us on what was day one of London Restaurant Festival.
The nautical influence on the Kaspar’s dining room is clear: rich teal leather banquettes are reminiscent of the deep blue sea; black and white, glossy geometric flooring conjures visions of smoothed beachside pebbles, and a stunning glass sculpture (fittingly suspended above the crustacean bar) is almost like the froth of the surf frozen in time. And there’s some added glitz and glamour from our fellow Kaspar’s folk: suited gents sipping fine champagne, coiffed ladies with faux fur flung across shoulders, and crisply turned-out yet extremely affable front of house staff.
Though inaccessible 5-star haunt this is not, as Kaspar’s is involved in one of the city’s most widely celebrated culinary events this October: the London Restaurant Festival. We’re presented with a hugely varied selection of starters, mains, uber-fresh seafood bar options and grills to choose from. After a (generously replenished) bowl of still-warm bread lathered with plenty of real butter and a flute of smooth champagne poured into an iced flute (The Savoy, it’s worth adding, is a welcome stickler for the finer details), we get going with starters of tuna tartare and snails.
Juicy, meaty tuna, served refreshingly cool, was topped with a dollop of creamy crème fraiche and a sliver of perfectly-ripe avocado. I’m a sucker for raw fish, and this was good enough to have eaten on its own (though the accompaniments complemented the fish beautifully). This was probably my favourite dish of the night, encapsulating what Kaspar’s does best: simple yet supremely elegant dishes.
Juicy snails arrived minus their shells in a satisfyingly slippery garlic butter (the remainder of which was lapped up with more crusty homemade bread).
With a market-fresh ethos at its core, I went for the daily catch of skate wing with celeriac purée, ceps, shallots and mushroom foam. It was a brilliant-white, gorgeously-flavoured piece of fish that had a wonderful meatiness to it.
The pan-fried seafood main consisted of salmon fillet, finger-sized prawn and hockey-puck scallop, all succulent and stock-soaked. The accompanying laksa sauce (poured from a jug post-photograph) was delicate and fragrant, and slurpy noodles were offset with the crunch of pak choi, spring onions and chilli. We sipped on an excellently-matched, ultra-dry sauvignon blanc with these courses.
Dessert was selected with difficulty, due to there being 8 equally-desired options on the menu. We chose a pretty pink Kaspar’s mess, featuring artfully arranged tie-dye meringues, a floral sorbet, fresh strawberries and vanilla cream.
A glass tumbler filled with a light and fluffy caramel crémeux concealed shards of dark chocolate and crunchy pecans, and a pastry pencil for dipping. This playful dessert was followed with the arrival of passion fruit marshmallows: playful, cutesy creations that made a return trip to the Savoy cake shop a dead cert.
In the other-worldly setting of The Savoy, Kaspar’s gets its fish and seafood points, along with service, style, and everything else it lays its hand to. You can enjoy Kaspar’s London Restaurant Festival menu now, until 31st October.
Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill
The Savoy , Strand, London, WC2R 0EU