British food with hearty flavours is central to executive chef Lee Streeton's menu at the Capability, the fine-dining restaurant at Syon Park's new Waldorf Astoria hotel in West London. Emily Manson reports
The much anticipated opening of the Capability - the fine-dining restaurant at Syon Park's new Waldorf Astoria hotel in west London - has thrown executive chef Lee Streeton into the limelight.
With a great pedigree behind him, including positions with Mark Hix and Browns hotel, Streeton has had a free hand in creating this menu as well as creating and sourcing the ingredients to make the dishes.
Special features at the hotel include a herb garden, a trout lake, an orchard, a 2,200sq m vegetable patch with 25 different types of vegetable, a beehive, and a smoker. Streeton is even making his own salt - horseradish infused for beetroot, lemon infused for fish, and thyme infused for meat.
An avid champion of British produce, Streeton has already got in place some great features and more are set to come as the gardens mature. A common theme running through the hotel is that of provenance, and almost everything - from the artwork to the trees, to the food and drinks - has a story behind it.
One of Streeton's signature dishes is smoked salmon from Loch Duart, which he marinates on site in 70% salt, 30% dark brown sugar with lemon zest and thyme for up to 12 hours before cold-smoking it in applewood at 30°C, producing the most incredible texture. Streeton says he learnt this technique when he worked with Hix and this is his own take on it. "It was always something I wanted to be able to do," he adds.
A smoked haddock tart with poached quail's eggs and Tewkesbury mustard (£10.75), uses soft poached eggs dotted around the tart to complement the haddock, which is also smoked on site. The milk from poaching the haddock is used in the béchamel, then Alexanders and samphire are added. Soon, the pickled fennel side salad, used to cut through the rich creaminess of the sauce, will also be sourced from the grounds.
Pan-fried kidneys with capers and Henderson's relish (£9.25) owe their thanks to Streeton's niece who introduced the relish to him. Similar to Lea & Perrins but stronger and spicier, Streeton knew it would go perfectly with kidneys. Served on sourdough bread from Miller's bakery, the bread is used to soak up the sauce, turning it into a seriously high class comfort dish.
Main courses also showcase British produce, with much of the fish coming from Cornwall, and meat from Scotland and Yorkshire. The Newlyn monkfish tail braised in Gloucestershire red wine with herb baked marrow sets the rich marrow with the meaty fish. "Monkfish is such a meaty fish it can handle the big strong flavour of the marrow and they work well together," says Streeton. He points out that as fish dishes go, this is a pretty hearty and masculine creation.
The Kingairloch venison with pan haggerty and hedgerow garlic (£26.50) pits the dense meat with crispy pan haggerty (three layers of potato with onions and Montgomery cheddar). Streeton says the inspiration for the dish was very simple: "I imagined a deer walking through the forest - the potatoes, mushrooms and deer, it's all very earthy and has a foresty feel." The juniper sauce uses red wine, shallots, garlic thyme, bay leaves and rapeseed oil with ingredients picked from the garden.
Desserts include Chester pie, a modern British take on lemon meringue pie, as well as floating islands with fruit compote - also a new take on an old dish, with the compote at the bottom of a cocktail glass, topped with egg whites poached in milk and then custard poured over the dish at the table.
Sample dishes from the menu
Baby beets with Lancashire Bomb and horseradish £9.25 Dorset snails with black pudding, wild boar bacon and garlic butter £11.25 Streeton's West London smoked salmon £12.75
Meat & braises
28-day aged Aberdeenshire rib eye (400g) £28.50 Cornish mixed lamb with green sauce (lamb cutlet, kidney, fried tongue and slow baked belly) £24.75 Collar of pork braised in Somerset cider with surf clams £21.75
Fish & Shellfish
Cornish fish curry £21.75 Glazed lobster omelette with sea vegetables £29.75 Newlyn monkfish tail braised in Gloucestershire red wine with herb baked marrow £22.75
Buttermilk pudding £7.50 Amedei chocolate pudding with caramel & sea salt £9 Chester pie £7.50 Floating islands with fruit compote £7.50
The Capability London Syon Park, Middlesex TW7 6AZ
020 7870 7777