Quite unfairly, I am adverse to visiting restaurants located within a hotel. This I believe is a prejudice shared by many and thus hotels circumvent the problem by having a separate entrance to their restaurants to entice people in. Fortunately, I had heard about the fabulous cocktails and cuisine on offer at TH@51 and ventured there to discover a true hidden gem.
Set at the rear of the TAJ 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, adjacent to their fabulous courtyard garden, TH@51 is a haven where you can escape the hustle and bustle of central London. Bringing the outside in, TH@51 designed by Conran & Partners, carries a light airy feel throughout with a stunning glass dining room, elegant wood cladding and a soft colour palette. An open kitchen with a theatrical grill and chef’s table takes centre stage, while the striking bar area features intimate booth seating.
The bar at TH@51 celebrates our planet’s unique and often fragile ecosystems. Designed by Bar Manager, Riccardo Lupacchini, the experiential cocktail menu has been split into different sections, each representing one of the earth’s unique biomes.
All good evenings should start with a cocktail. As the famous Gulbenkian quote goes - "the perfect number for dinner is two, me and a damn good bartender" and fortunately the charming head bartender, Andre Neto was at hand! He suggested a cocktail from the 'Desert', the El Camino a mixture of Mesquite-smoked Casamigos Blanco Tequila, pineapple tapache, agave, grapefruit and tamarillo, and another from 'Polar' the Falling Star a mixture of Bulleit Bourbon, berries compote, smoked maple syrup, and clarified elderberry tea. By using ingredients and flavours found in each delicate ecosystem, as well as utilising textures and smells and sustainable techniques, the innovative cocktails perfectly set us in the mood for the upcoming dining experience.
The restaurant, led by Executive Head Chef Sujoy Gupta, who joins TH@51 after spending eight years at the kitchen’s helm of both the Taj Bengal Kolkata and Taj Umaid Bawan Palace, offers menues that feature global dishes which draw inspiration from flavours from around the world, exploring the unexplored to create a food and drink experience that excites all the senses.
Pairing popular flavours from varied cuisines together to create innovative dishes, the menu is truly unique and tantalising. To begin our culinary journey we tried the seared Togarashi Tuna with wasabi samphire, pickled ginger, dragon fruit carpaccio and ponzu dressing which was presented beautifully and melted in the mouth. An Indian speciality, the chicken tikka masala naan, was a explosion of flavours and the naan bread was baked perfectly. Next we shared the delicious tempura battered salt & pepper squid with chilli and bell peppers and a light lemon hummus dip - yum!
For our main course my guest was recommended the signature dish - Korean Roast. The succulent roasted baby chicken, was accompanied by Korean smoked peppers, sticky honey sesame potatoes and buttered kale. A very innovative take on the British Sunday roast.
I opted for the Sirloin Steak served with cajun spiced steak chips, chargrilled asparagus and broccoli stems and, believe it or not, it was among the best steaks I have ever eaten anywhere in the world! It was grilled beautifully and had the perfect flavour. In fact, it was so succulent and such a generous portion that I was able to enjoy it for lunch the next day!
Pudding was a Masala tea crème brûlée with milk froth, and a spiced cashew biscotti as well as the chocolate cheesecake Mochi with salted caramel ice cream - all enjoyed with a lovely Chai Secrets of India tea.
Accompanying our fabulous cuisine and truly noteworthy was the impeccable and attentive service from the wait staff who were all extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
TH@51’s food reflects London’s myriad culinary influences, celebrating the finest ingredients and traditions from far flung destinations and those closer to home - we will definitely return and are raving about our new found secret to all our friends.
51 Buckingham Gate