At the age of 18 months, the waiters would stack up plump cushions for me to sit on, and I would eat contentedly, no crying or screaming. Twenty years later and the service is still wonderful - once, when the soufflé I had ordered collapsed before it left the kitchen, an array of petit fours were given to me and my dining companions to tide us over for the extra 5 minutes' waiting time.
Once the subtle, blue, lit ” Le Caprice” sign comes into focus, you are greeted by the top- hatted doorman who swings the revolving door.
You enter another world – the décor is classically chic with a black and white colour scheme creating a crisp, bright, understated, formal atmosphere. If you’re lucky, Jesus Adorno, the face of the restaurant who has been there since the doors opened in 1981, will greet you at reception and within moments sweep you off to your table. On Sunday I went for brunch, but I’d also recommend also going for dinner, when a jazz pianist heightens the sense of occasion further. My favourite place to eat is in the alcove lined with the Paolozzi installation.
Sunday brunch began with a cocktail, naturally. Bloody Mary, extra spicy. The breadbaskets were full of freshly baked bread, and banana crumble muffins which were fresh, delicious and not overly sweet.
To start, I ordered the heritage beets, crispy goat’s cheese with a truffle honey dressing. Nestled amongst the peppery rocket leaves and sweet vinegary Murex coloured (rich Roman dye) beetroot slices was the savoury smooth molten goat’s cheese. With the truffle dressing to tie the dish together it worked very well.
I opted, then, for the Caprice burger.
A burger is usually a good way of testing the standard of a restaurant, and the Caprice burger does not let the restaurant’s reputation down. It’s juicy, buttery, and flavoursome. The bun is delicate and fluffy, and combined with the delicious club sauce - a well- balanced tomato salsa, the burger is not far from perfection. And then there are the pommes allumettes… Some of London’s best. They are so good that I’ve known friendships to end over them.
Once I had got through mine I had to steal a few from my unsuspecting companions.
After a few more Bloody Marys, dessert was looking like an impossibility but Bertrand, our wonderful waiter, convinced me otherwise. The Caprice iced berries dessert have become so famous that they’ve been frequently imitated – for example, the restaurant chain Côte has now incorporated them into their menu. They’re good but nothing like the original. The iced berries are no longer on the menu, but if you’re a seasoned patron you’ll know that it exists off the menu (along with several other secret dishes).
This beautiful creation also appeared at the table:
The iced fleur de sel chocolate crunch bar is most definitely not style over substance. It is a sumptuous feast of salted tempered chocolate layered over light chocolate mousse with white chocolate ice cream and chocolate coated popping candy.
We rounded the meal off with fresh mint tea and truffles.
Definitely order the latter. The tempered fine chocolate shell gives way to the velvety salted caramel and passion fruit ganache interiors and they are seriously addictive.
Le Caprice truly does deserve its place as a London institution. It ticks all the boxes. The ambience and service are unbeatable, and the food is reliably delicious, unfussy & generously portioned. I can never return soon enough.
Price – ££££
Ambience – 10/10
Food – 9/10
Service – 10/10
Loos – 8/10
Suitable for: dates, celebrations, family gatherings, pre-theatre