I was lucky enough to stay at the very chic Cannizaro House recently in Wimbledon. I’ve told you about their sumptuous afternoon tea and their stylish hospitality. Now it’s time to give you the lowdown on their fine dining restaurant.
The interiors of the restaurant are quite traditional with a splash of modern. As you can see, it’s all about plush velvet chairs, chintzy swan-print wallpaper, crisp white table cloths and colourful orchids.
Initially, we were quite dissapointed that we couldn’t dine in the Orangerie. This is Cannizaro House’s conservatory-like restaurant which looks out to the vast open space of Cannizaro Park.
But much to our delight, we were seated in the other restaurant’s glass covered area which was almost like a conservatory and is a fairly new addition to Cannizaro House. This gave us pleasant views over the rose gardens and twinkly fairy lights which adorned the surrounding patio.
The restaurant itself was teeming with people due to the wedding and staff seemed very rushed off their feet. As a result, our service was a bit slower than it should have been. It actually took around three hours for us to eat our meal, which for me, is a little too long. However, it was Friday night and we were in no rush, so we took in the pleasant surroundings and dined on some top-notch cuisine.
I really like the menu here. It’s probably best described as modern fine dining with good British sourced ingredients (Cornish lobster, Wiltshire pork, Devonshire chicken) and a slight French touch.
My starter was the native Cornish lobster and scallop lasagne which as you can see what a very pretty little thing – very colourful with a shiny glassy finish, and most importantly, good flavours.
The flavours were subtle. They didn’t grab hold of me and shout ‘here I am!’ but the slippery lasagne and wobbly scallop was soft against the bread on top and gave way to subtle hits of seafresh lobster.
Mr OhSo was grinning from ear to ear when this impressive starter came along. And you can see why – Slow cooked Wiltshire belly pork which was crispy, yummy and right down his pork-belly lover’s street.
It was made even more enticing by the promise of pork popcorn and toffee apple sauce. I would have ordered this dish if he hadn’t got to it first. But I did manage to steal a taste. The number of pork popcorn pieces was limited but the toffee apple sauce was delicate and sweet and just what it needed. We loved the slate presentation too and the additional garnish. Overall, an Oh So delicious way to start our meal.
The next courses took some time to arrive so we took the time to discuss life, politics and religion…
No, not really. I can’t remember exactly what we spoke about but our fellow diners – a table of six who were getting increasingly giddy on wine – served as a good source of entertainment.
We were in a really lovely place, drinking nice wine, with pretty garden views – what better way to spend a Friday night?
When our main courses did arrive, they were just as aesthetically pleasing as our starters.
I have to say, once again, I did have food envy in that I think Mr OhSo made the better choice. His saddle and ballontine of rabbit was a delicious rustic mix of ‘heritage carrots’, kohlrabi fondant and sweet notes of blackberry rabbit jus.
You can see from the pictures, the meat was tender, the jus was glossy and it was a delicate but hearty plate of food.
As I often do, I went for the fish option – seared yellow fin tuna. As you can see, it looked fantastic. I’m incredibly impressed when a plate comes out looking like this. The skill that goes into it is incredible.
The tuna was very smooth and tender, the smoked potatoes were delicious and the confit lemon was the right flavour for a dish of this kind.
However, while I can’t get enough fish, there was something missing in this for me.
When it comes to such a subtle tasting fish like yellow fin tuna, I realised I probably enjoy it much more when it’s served in sushi-form or with powerful tangy Asian flavours. There’s just something not quite right for me when it’s served room temperature with roasted potatoes and similarly luke warm beans. I’d much prefer it in cold summer salad. But that’s just my personal taste. I’m sure there’ll be dozens who disagree.
Our waiter suggested we ordered a side of parmesan courgettes. We obliged, only really realising afterwards that this didn’t really complement either of our dishes at all.
That said, they were pretty delicious – crunchy, cheesy and juicy in the middle.
And before I forget, the amuse-bouche – a salmon ceviche which arrived before our starters to whet the palate – was really delicious.
While we ummed and ahhed over dessert, we finally decided to indulge and ordered the Valrhona chocolate cheesecake and cherry bakewell.
Wow-wee – as you can imagine, the Valrhona chocolate cheesecake was incredibly rich but addictively so with a lovely biscuit base.
With sploshes and splashes of raspberry, chocolate mint, and a spoonful of creme fraiche sorbet also on the plate, I gradually made my way through it all. The raspberries were fabulously tart and the flowers were a really nice touch too.
Verdict: A bit hit.
We loved the ingenuity that went into the cherry bakewell. Very unlike the traditional sense you probably have pictured in your mind, this one was presented as a line of almond crumbs with fluffy pieces of ‘sponge’ which were bright green from their pistachio base.
Add in some fresh cherries and a tart cherry sorbet and the result was a tangy, crunchy, exciting dessert.
It really was a source of inspiration when we returned home to our own humble kitchen the next day.
Ending the meal with a refreshing peppermint tea, we left our rowdy diners (like everyone else had) and took ourselves up the grand staircase to our ‘Henry Dundas’ room.
I’d like to try out the Orangerie if we go back to Cannizaro House and see how it differs to the perhaps more formal restaurant.
But brilliantly presented food, friendly staff and airy surrounds made for an enjoyable summer night’s meal.
We recommend you try it out if you have the pleasure to stay in this charming hotel.
Until next time x
Cannizaro House, West Side Common, Wimbledon, London SW19 4UD,
- Hotel Review: Cannizaro House, Wimbledon (ohsolondon.com)
- London’s Best Afternoon Teas: First stop, Cannizaro House, Wimbledon (ohsolondon.com)