Pop-up becomes permanent for the 2020 Masterchef: The Professionals winner, with a new Mayfair home.
The Intercontinental’s vast lobby is all marble expanses and extravagant chandeliers. In contrast, Alex Webb’s new permanent restaurant feels small and intimate with its low lighting, and deep blue and antiqued mirrored glass walls. We’re a little early for our 7.30 booking, so are invited to enjoy a drink at the bar first. In keeping with Alex’s desire to showcase British produce, the fizz on offer is from Hampshire-based Hattingley Valley; dry and elegant, it gives Champagne a good run for its money.
The Essex-born chef started pot washing aged just 14, before going on to train at the likes of Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, his moment in the spotlight came in 2020, when he was crowned winner of MasterChef: The Professionals, with judges praising his creative flair.
His new residency follows a popup on the terrace here last summer, and features a menu that champions British produce, incorporating international influences inspired by his travels and nostalgic flavours from his childhood. There’s a seven-course tasting menu, or a three course option, giving diners the opportunity to choose from a selection of dishes. We opt for the latter, with a matched wine flight.
But first, a theatrical dish of canapés to tickle the taste buds. There are exquisite tempura oysters served in their shells in a pool of divine cider butter sauce, topped with caviar; tangy Black Bomber cheddar tarts piled high with parmesan; and exquisite branch shaped beetroot tuiles with goats’ cheese and beetroot puree.
Alex became known for his theatrical presentation when appearing on Masterchef: The Professionals,
and his dishes here do not disappoint on that front
Expectations have been set high and we are not disappointed. Alex’s winning Masterchef menu featured no meat, so it is perhaps unsurprising that our favourite dishes here are fish-based. A tuna ceviche starter comes served with avocado purée, crispy capers, citrus salad, and a dramatic squid ink cracker; it is fresh and delicious. Meanwhile, the Atlantic cod that follows it is tender and perfectly cooked, served with sea herbs, onion purée, deliciously sweet and tangy pickled onions, and Champagne sauce, and is topped with intriguing puffs of crispy potato skin that look like Rice Krispies.
The hero dessert is a tonka bean and yuzu mille-feuille, served with clotted cream ice cream, that is almost too beautiful to eat. Everything is utterly perfect, not least the friendly, knowledgeable service. We will be back.
1 Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J (020 7409 3131; parklane.intercontinental.com)