Cadogan hotel to replace Adam Handling Chelsea with the LaLee

19 November 2021 by
Cadogan hotel to replace Adam Handling Chelsea with the LaLee

The Cadogan hotel is relaunching the former Adam Handling Chelsea restaurant today as the LaLee, a continental-style café-restaurant inspired by socialite and former resident Lillie Langtry.

Langtry entertained the high society of the 19th century at her townhouse in 21 Pont Street, which became part of the London hotel, now part of the Belmond portfolio, in 1895.

The all-day menu designed by executive chef Chris Hill will include lobster bisque and croque Madame or Monsieur, as well as small plates such as burrata with pumpkin and pomegranate and lobster cocktail, or a sharing platter of oysters. Where possible, ingredients have been sourced from the UK, particularly London, such as vegetables from Natoora and cheese from Neal's Yard.

Comforting classics will include aubergine parmigiana and steak frites with béarnaise sauce as well as Wiener schnitzel and sea bream carpaccio, while the dessert list will feature Paris brest, rum baba and tiramisu.

An 80 bin European wine list, all of which will be served by the glass, will include a bespoke sparkling wine, created for the hotel by Rathfinny Wine Estate in Sussex.

On the cocktail list, 15 have also been inspired by the places Langtry visited on her travels. For example, paying homage to Milan, a floral Mimosa al Garibaldi will mix Prosecco, Campari and Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, while the ‘cobalt and tonic' will be a theatrical take on a gin and tonic, inspired by Langtry's favourite colour and the lights of Amsterdam. A Rome-groni – a blend of Gin Del Professore Madame, Reserva Speciale Rubino Vermouth and espresso-infused Campari – will be served to share from a tableside Negroni fountain.

Chef Hill joined the hotel earlier this year having previously worked as premier sous chef at the Ritz London and sous chef at Whatley Manor in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

He told The Caterer the team was a mix of new talent and staff who had joined the hotel when it reopened in 2019 and that the menu was designed to appeal to a variety of guest profiles, including businesspeople catching up over breakfast, shoppers stopping for a light lunch and families celebrating over dinner in the evenings.

"Before coming to London, I worked in kitchens across Switzerland and Germany which has definitely inspired me to bring a continental feel to dishes I create," he said. "This experience fits perfectly with the concept of the LaLee, showcasing European classics, taking guests on a culinary journey across the continent."

He added that he expected familiar dishes such as the Wiener schnitzel, steak frites with béarnaise sauce and aubergine parmigiana to be among the bestsellers: "The dishes that transport you to café-lined streets in Europe's food capitals – they are comforting, but also elegant and full of flavour. We're also bringing a touch of theatre into the dining room with our signature dishes, which will have the finishing touches added at the table. These include the classic beef tartare or Caesar salad, and Dover sole – another dish we anticipate to be a best seller."

Adam Handling Restaurant Group's consultancy contract at the hotel came to an end last month. Adam Handling Chelsea opened when the hotel relaunched in 2019 following a £28m refurbishment. Executive chef Handling also oversaw Cadogan's by Adam Handling and the 54-bedroom hotel's private and in-room dining.

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