Red Carnation's London Hotels

Kensington, Bloomsbury, Victoria and Mayfair

The Florida based Red Carnation hotel group, owns four London hotels in prime spots. A concerted effort is now underway to achieve top recognition for them and to give the respective chefs a bit of the limelight.

All of the staff are highly attentive with an attitude of, "What do you, the customer, want?", rather than "What do I have to offer that you might want?".

Mike and I first visited the group at the invitation of the owners in December 1998. At the time we never managed to arrange a review, but were impressed by the decor of the rooms and the group's focus on quality.

Milestone Book a room at the Milestone
The Milestone Hotel in Kensington is now their flagship property, but the Rubens in Victoria, Chesterfield in Mayfair and the Montague in Bloomsbury are all classy operations.

The Milestone is a five star hotel and is going all out to become one of the most fashionable venues in London. Situated directly across from Kensington Palace and Park, every room is decorated in a different style and has recently undergone total restoration in order to restore and preserve it's original architectural features and period details.

Cheneston's, the Milestone restaurant, has had a chequered past, but with the new owners, stands an excellent chance of achieving something special.

In a recent stay, my wife and I did not gain the opportunity to do a full restaurant review. However, we were truly impressed with the midnight feast. This specially caters for guests coming in from a night at the theatre (or Albert Hall, which is 5 minutes walk down the road).

We turned up at the hotel at about 10:45 p.m. and were informed that the midnight Feast could be delivered to our room at our leisure. After freshening up, the feast duly arrived at 11:00 p.m. The feast comprised the following:

All this was more than enough for two people and very reasonably priced at 65.00. There are plenty of options, such as Apricots stuffed with white Stilton, Tartletts of Devonshire crab or Smoked quails eggs, to select from.

Of particular note were the Foie Gras, Smoked salmon and Barbecued chicken, which were particularly tasty. The Beef and vegetable pastie was clearly home made and the best I've ever tasted. While the roast beef slices were of good quality meat I found it a little too rare for my taste and somewhat thin.

These goodies were nicely arranged with Carnations and Orchids on the tray to complete the presentation.

Chef Silvia Bellinato is the woman in charge and we look forward to doing a full restaurant review in future.

Montague Book a room at the Montague
Steve Tuck at the Montague is probably the most adventurous chef in the group and is not afraid to challenge the palate as Mike Hepworth experienced on a recent Friday night visit to the hotel. Mike had heard a few good things about Steve so decided to let him select the food for the evening, an approach that rarely backfires. A pancetta and white onion tartlet with turmeric cream is not the kind of dish that Mike would ever select through choice, but the circular dish had a thick crust and was extremely tasty.

A local music student was tinkling the ivories during the evening and the room was light and airy, enhancing Mike's appreciation of the main course of pan-seared sander. The side dishes of Thai infused lemon grass and tomato water with Pak Choi (Chinese spinach), asparagus, sea scallops and Japanese wheat noodles was very delicate and made a fine broth. This created very different selection of dishes with wonderful flavours.

Steve followed up the main course with a Pananacotta desert, with a Passion Fruit Coulis and wild berries. Again the attention to detail and presentation was superb and it rounded up with a very experimental meal that clearly demonstrated the chef's abilities.

The prices at the Montague's Blue Door Bistro are very reasonable, with any two courses (starter and main, or main and desert) costing just 15.95.

Rubens Book a room at the Rubens
The Rubens hotel is situated within walking distance of Victoria station and overlooks Buckingham Palace. There are two restaurants, the Library and the Carvery.

Quite by accident I found myself staying at Rubens while in London entertaining a very important client. Though the hotel staff saw us as regular guests, we found their service to be exceptional, as noted above.

We did not eat at either of the restaurants, but do understand that Chef Daniel Collins is known for his meat dishes, in particular his Marinated Beef Filets, larded with Ginger and Garlic and his Panna Cotta with Stewed Rhubarb and Gooseberry Compote.

Chesterfield Book a room at the Chesterfield
The Chesterfield hotel is situated in the heart of Mayfair. We look forward to sampling Chef Stephen Henderson's signature dishes, of Colchester Crab Cakes and Sticky Pudding some time in the near future.

In summary
Red Carnation is a chain with 4 hotels in the UK and a sense of service rarely found in the British hotel industry. People who know the hotels have been satisfied for quite some time, but we fully expect to hear a lot more in the near future about the capabilities of the restaurants. In the meantime, we feel confident that our readers will appreciate what each of the individual Chef's are trying to express.

Milestone, 1 Kensington Court, London W8 5DL.
Nearest tube - Kensington High Street.
Montague, 15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5BJ.
Nearest tube - Russell Square.
Rubens, 39 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0PS.
Nearest tube - Victoria Station.
Chesterfield, 35 Charles Street, Mayfair, W1X 7PB.
Nearest tube - Green Park.