Legendary Austrian chef Wolfgang Puck tempts his customers with 14 cuts of steak from Devon, the USA, Chile and Australia in his first European foray. Janet Harmer reports
CUT at 45 Park Lane, London - the third hotel in the UK from the Dorchester Collection - intends to be a steak restaurant with a difference.
Its creator, the legendary Austrian-born chef Wolfgang Puck who has made his fame and fortune in the United States, says that it is all about "great modern art, good music and fabulous design alongside a well-executed menu using the highest quality ingredients".
Anyone visiting the 73-seater restaurant during its first month of opening - it was launched on 1 September - will discover that all these elements, which very much represents Puck's personal taste, are in place as intended. Hence, 16 of Damien Hirst's limited-edition Psalms paintings are on display within a glossy, sleek interior designed by Thierry W Despont, with 1970s rock music injecting an informal vibe.
Based on the tried and tested versions in the first three CUT restaurants in Beverley Hills, Las Vegas and Singapore, the menu at 45 Park Lane - Puck's first foray in Europe - has added inspiration from British ingredients.
Fish and seafood dishes, for instance, are more plentiful in London, compared to elsewhere. Hence, the appearance of a seafood cocktail in the form of Dorset crab and lobster "Louis", with a spicy kick from a horseradish panacotta on which the cocktail sits. Also on the menu is one of Puck's all-time favourites, sautéed Dover sole meunière, served with preserved lemon and parsley (£32).
However, it is steak which dominates the selection of dishes, particularly at dinner, where there are a choice of 14 cuts and sizes from Devon, the United States, Chile and Australia. The selection ranges from a 10oz New York sirloin cut of Casterbridge Angus from Devon (£27) up to a to 8oz rib eye steak, 100% pure breed Wagyu beef from Araucania, Chile, for a eye-watering £85. All are flamboyantly paraded around the restaurant, swaddled in black linen, for the customers to inspect
If you can't make up your mind which one to go for, the tasting dish comprising three different New York sirloin cuts is a good choice. For me, the steak from Kansas provided the biggest flavour hit, over and above cuts from Devon and Australia. Each one, though, was perfectly cooked medium-rare with the flavour heightened by the salt, pepper and garlic rub, and the smokiness created by the grilling over hard wood and charcoal before being finished under the fierce 650ºC heat of an American broiler.
More flavour hits come from a wide choice of sauces (including wasabi-yuzu kosho butter, Argentinan chimichurri, and shallot-red wine bordelaise), accompaniments (such as caramelized onions, bone marrow and seared foie gras), and ten side orders (soft polenta with parmesan, creamed spinach with fried organic egg, and baby carrots with roasted artichokes, thyme and honey, amongst them).
Maple whipped cream
The desserts tend to be refined versions of American style comfort dishes such as banana cream pie, 10-year chocolate sauce (it took 10 years to perfect), butterscotch gelato and Bourbon pecan pie, maple whipped cream, chocolate sauce.
While Puck has been present at CUT at 45 Park Lane frequently since opening, on a day-to-day basis it is his executive chef, David McIntyre, who is overseeing the menu. McIntyre has worked for Puck in California for 13 years at Spago, CUT (Beverley Hills) and WP24.
Restaurant director is Loyd Loudy, well known on the London restaurant scene having worked for, amongst other establishments, Oxo Tower, Sartoria and Soho House. Looking after the wines - which includes 250 out of a selection of 500 from the Untied States - is Vanessa Cinti, previously wine director at Spago at the Ritz-Carlton, Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Sample dishes from the Dinner menu
Bone marrow flan, mushroom marmalade, parlsey salad £12 Scottish scallop "carpaccio", cucumber, young onions, wasabi-kosho ponzu £16 Maple glazed pork belly, Asian spices, watercress, sesame-orange dressing, apple compote £12 Tasting of New York sirloin (4oz USDA prime Black Angus, Creekstone Farms, Arkansas City, Kansas; 4oz Casterbridge Angus, Devon; 2oz Australian Wagyu/Black Angus, Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia) £48 Grilled Spanish Iberico pork chop, plum and apple "moustarda" £24 Whole roasted loup de mer, Moroccan charmoula £32 Table-side peach and blueberry crumble, "50 bean" vanilla ice-cream £9 Warm passion fruit cheesecake, shiso yogurt, almond praline £9 Caramilk chocolate bar, caramel sauce, blackberry-elderberry sorbet £9
CUT at 45 Park Lane 45 Park Lane, Mayfair,
London, W1K 1PN
Tel: 020 7493 4545
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