You'd be forgiven for assuming that restaurants in The Savoy - arguably London's most prestigious hotel - are solely the reserve of the uber rich. Kaspar's proves otherwise. It's expensive, sure, but be smart about what you order and it's possible to enjoy a meal in one of the capital's most beautiful restaurants on a 'budget' (of sorts...).
Kaspar's Seafood Bar and Grill is stunning. It's set within the most iconic hotel in the capital and looks every inch the 5 star hotel restaurant it is. Jazz is the theme of this venue, harking back to the 1920s when style was stylish as opposed to kitsch or gratingly trendy. Every detail has been considered and the space is immaculate. This is a place that oozes glamour from every pore. The gleaming black floors twinkle under the light of the elegant chandeliers above. A blue-green colour scheme is subtle, accounting for the comfortable armchair-style seats and matching patterned floors, punctuated by golds and mirrored surfaces. However, the pièce de résistance has to be the central oyster bar. Crystal has been designed to look like ice, creating a visual feast for the eyes, before that for the belly begins.
The Savoy is a tourist attraction in its own right but that doesn't mean you can waltz in through its hallowed doors wearing trainers and a hoodie. This is a place where the well-to-do dress in their best clobber - labels hang from the angled bodies of the tall, impossibly-skinny girls while businessmen look immaculate in crisp, bespoke suits. Dress to impress, if you don't you won't be allowed in and even if you are, you'll feel uncomfortably out of place. It may seem OTT but it's worth it for what could well be the best, most attentive service in London.
Kaspar's is a seafood restaurant where only the freshest fish and seafood will do. However, despite the incredible setting and pomp of the ambience, there are dishes on the menu that won't break the bank or intimidate anyone not used to fine dining (you can, very easily, spend a fortune though - so watch out).
What might surprise some is the fact that the portion sizes here aren't small. You can forego the starters entirely and head straight for a main course, making dinner here affordable. This allows you to splash out if you want and order a £19 half Isle of Skye lobster with a side of fries (an additional £3). The lobster is very well priced for the quality and is cooked with precision so the flesh is tender and juicy, pulling out of the shell with relative ease. This, mixed with a couple of dishes from the seafood bar, is enough to satisfy, provided you're not a greedy sort.
That seafood bar: for £14 you can pick two dishes (or £22 for four) from the bar menu. The wild smoked Scottish salmon is 100% Scottish (you'd be worried if it wasn't...) and is perfectly chilled, and salty with an underlying delicate flavour. The texture is smooth and soft - it's really exquisite. Equally good are the tender, meaty chunks of smoked eel with a light smokiness that lingers at the back of the throat, complementing the surprisingly light and delicate flavour of the eel itself. Of course if you want to really go for it you can opt to pay £345 for 125g of Oscietra Caviar - but you have to have a serious credit limit to go that route.
The wine menu at Kaspar's isn't as large as you might imagine and, rather strangely for a seafood restaurant, the focus is on red wine over white. That said, the choice is excellent with some unusual varieties chosen, ranging from £34 to £1500 a bottle (although the carafes offer a much cheaper alternative and every bottle is also available by the glass). However, it's actually the Champagne that really offers the best options, especially if you're looking for something light to match the food. They serve the fantastic Ruinart Blanc de Blancs here for £65 a carafe - it may not be cheap but it's widely regarded to be one of the best non-premium Champagnes available with the light, crisp flavour of citrus fruits.
The Last Word
Who said The Savoy was all pomp and no substance? Kaspar's proves this hotel's dining credentials. And it needn't be quite as ridiculously expensive as some would have you think.