Things are looking good for the Hotel Café Royal at the minute. They’ve opened Laurent, serving steak and sushi (lush) and the lobby has undergone a dashing makeover giving the hotel the grand entrance it always deserved.
The latest edition to this Piccadilly stalwart is Cakes & Bubbles, a café-cum-restaurant serving, as you may have guessed, desserts and Champagne. It’s the creation of Albert Adriá, who owns Tickets in Barcelona and used to co-own El Bulli.
Inside there’s impressive gold marble from floor to ceiling and a counter to perch at if that’s your thing. We take a table but you’re a bit on show though – the giant windows looking onto Regent Street would benefit from a curtain.
Frozen coconut and chocolate flower (£8) is a dainty lil’ thing. Texture wise it’s a treat; crisp and soft while tasting of pure coconut. It’s not overly sweet either as these things can so often be.
The “air-pancake” (£14) is similarly crisp. It ain’t your usual pancake. The thin laters of pastry are filled with something creamy and topped with melted butter. There’s blueberry jam, or compote, to spread over the top. It’s blissfully simple but SO good.
The cheese cake (£12) is what it’s all about. There’s a strong flavour of cheese, but proper cheese, Coulommiers in fact, with a white chocolate and hazelnut skin so it looks like actual cheese. It’s brilliant and perfectly balanced.
Passion fruit and chocolate tart (£12), crowned with some gold leaf, is another looker. It’s airbrushed with chocolate so it looks all furry. The contrasting sweet choc and tart passion fruit is an absolute winner.
We wash all this down with Veuve Clicquot Brut which is crisp and clean; the dream accompaniment for sweet treats. Cakes & Bubbles makes for a pleasant alternative to afternoon tea. You can order as much or as little as you want. But my guessing is you’ll order quite a lot…
Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant