A long-standing player on the London dining scene, Theo Randall at The Intercontinental has been welcoming guests for over 25 years. Located at Park Lane in the heart of Mayfair, the restaurant offers Italian fine dining, with the very best seasonal ingredients.
This restaurant exemplifies Theo Randall’s signature style of showcasing the best of Italian cuisine and wine, focusing on a new region every month. For the month of February, you’ll be transported to the beautiful Mediterranean island of Sardinia, while next month it will be the stunning village of Calabria, in southern Italy.
The Michelin-star chef said it’s not hard to find inspiration as “there are 20 regions of Italy so there is a lot to choose from.”
We arrived a little early but the staff were very accommodating, leading us to a perfectly lit table in the middle of the restaurant. The room has a warm feel to it but when we arrived there were only four other guests seated but with every hour, the more people came and the more lively the atmosphere felt.
There are six different menus to choose from including their signature menu with classics such as fresh pasta stuffed with squash, ricotta, parmesan and sage butter, to a unique roasted guineafowl stuffed with prosciutto and a side of portobello mushrooms and mixed greens.
We opted for the regional tasting menu which includes a wine pairing with each course. On arrival, we were greeted with a glass of Prosecco and some complimentary bruschetta and focaccia bread, the perfect welcome!
The first course was octopus with potatoes, capers, celery and Sardinian bottarga paired with a white wine Vermentino di Sardegna, also from Sardinia. With each bite, you could tell the menu had been well thought out, while the citrusy wine was light, smooth and refreshing.
Theo Randall is working with the brilliant wine importer, Liberty Wines, who helps with the variety and quality of the wine.
“What’s so wonderful about Italy is you’ve got all these different regions, over 1,000 different grape varieties, so all these different regions have dishes that pair with particular wines.
On their own, they might taste slightly odd or wine that you wouldn’t always necessarily drink but when you actually taste it with food, they’re incredible,” he explained.
Next was spaghetti with sausage ragu, red wine, tomato and fennel paired with Carignano del Sulcis, a red wine that is made primarily from the Carginano grape.
The medium-bodied drop had notes of black fruit and balsamic that compliment the rich pasta. At this point, we noticed the Sommelier walking around the tables and interacting with guests which I always find a nice touch.
His name is Fernando Cuvis and with an Italian and South American heritage, his knowledge of the wines was second to none. He told us he selects wines that are generally only found in restaurants and hotels adding with a warm smile, “we want to surprise but don’t want to scare you.”
For the main, it was the rump of lamb with violet artichokes, potatoes and salsa verde. The meat was tender and despite being full, the plate was left clean. It was paired with a 2018 vintage red, Cannonau di Sardegna which is aged in a barrel and has notes of black cherry, chocolate and vanilla root.
Last but not least was a delicious ricotta, lemon, orange and honey torta with caramelized oranges, that really made you feel like you were getting your money’s worth.
At the end of the dinner, we got to meet Theo Randall who was hard at work in the kitchen and thank him for a lovely meal. He was as engaging and warm as you’d expect him to be and humble when asked for an interview.
By the end, the interview ran longer than expected and you could see his passion for food coming out with every word.
I had heard great things about Theo Randall at The Intercontinental so my expectations were high and I’m happy to say, they didn’t disappoint. For booking’s and more information, check out their website.