Posted on Monday, 11th May 2015
St James’ Court Hotel on Buckingham Gate offers a number of dining options, one of which is Bistro 51. Contemporary in design but somewhat subdued in taste, Bistro 51 serves a contemporary European menu. The hotel is part of the Indian owned Taj Hotel Group, one of the largest hotel chains in the world. As such, the menu also includes a number of Indian-inspired dishes.
We dined from the Chef’s special menu which is priced at a reasonable £30. We started with a boccocini and cherry tomato tian with pickled portobello and pesto which was pleasant and tasty. The mellow flavour of the bocconini with the sweetness of the tomatoes was a lovely pairing, with the pesto providing freshness to the dish.
A second starter of masala fried prawns with mango dip was less enjoyable however. The prawns were decent in texture, but the masala flavour in the batter overpowered the prawns. The sweetness of the mango dip helped to counter the dryness of the dish.
Palak gosht, a spinach lamb curry with steamed basmati rice was very flavoursome. The lamb was tender and the curry was nicely spiced with the softness of the spinach doing much to create a beautifully creamy texture.
But a second main of ‘curry leaves crusted fish’ with cumin potato and mango kachumber was a disappointment. The fish was bland as were the potatoes. Furthermore, the dish was very dry on the palate. The dish needed a sauce to bring it together.
To desserts, and the flavour in a raspberry and mascarpone cheesecake with white chocolate soil and candied pistachio was respectable, however its texture resembled more of a mousse than a cheesecake. A coffee crème brûlée was slightly grainy in texture and there was also a touch of bitterness to it. Accompanying the crème brûlée was a hazelnut biscotti which was bland and bordering on stale.
There were a couple of tasty dishes, but overall the dining experience at Bistro 51 was an underwhelming one with the food hovering around average on the food barometer. The atmosphere was also lacklustre with little ambience to speak of. As for the service, although it was pleasant, it lacked polish. Overall there was little in the Bistro 51 ensemble to recommend it.
1) The boccocini and cherry tomato tian was very fresh and tasty.
2) The spinach lamb curry was very good.
1) The curry leaves crusted fish was terrible.
2) The masala fried prawns were dry.
3) The desserts were average.
4) The atmosphere was lacklustre.
5) The service was pleasant but lacked polish.
Food rating: 2.75/5
Service rating: 3/5
Prices: £30 for three courses from the Chef’s Menu, excludes drinks and service.