Celebrated by it’s A-list clientele and the critics alike, Le Caprice is one of London’s finest dining establishments, offering not only great food but also a damn good night out.
The sister restaurant to The Ivy, Le Caprice can be easily identified by the neon blue signage at the end of Arlington Street, behind the Ritz Hotel. Its proximity to one of London’s most identifiable landmarks makes it easy to find, and it’s just a couple of minutes walk from Green Park tube station, and next to a twenty four hour car park if you’re driving.
Move through the revolving door (which can be a little scary on the way out after a few glasses of Champagne!) straight into the long bar area, and you’ll be greeted warmly, relieved of your coat and bag and then shown through to the monochrome restaurant area, consisting of a small open-plan restaurant area and a few areas set back from the main restaurant for larger groups. The walls are simply adorned with theatrical headshot photos of beloved celebrity guests from years gone by.
Favourite of celebrities including the Duchess of Cornwall, Alexander McQueen and Paul and Stella McCartney, Le Caprice has a buzzing, dramatic, place-to-be feel. The staff have the dignity and organisation of a well-organised ballet, moving seamlessly around the room with food that appears in an instant, and so obliging and friendly that they anticipate what you need before you realise it yourself. The maitre d makes an effort to stop at your table and talk you through food options if he gets a chance, advising you how best to order and making discreet recommendations based on your preferences. If you fancy yourself as an A-lister, and want to put a few celebrity noses out of joint, request Table 7 – everyone knows it’s the best, and wherever you choose to sit, book very early!
Le Caprice serves up a modern, classic European menu with prices ranging from under a tenner to over £100 for some special caviar dishes. The food here is all worth splashing out on!
Kicking off with the starters, there are around twenty choices ranging from soup to Dorset crab, priced from £6 to £16. A classic choice is the gravlax with dill, served on a large plate piled high with smooth, thick cut salmon, and accompanied by a tangy creamy dill dip – you won’t find a better salmon starter in the capital, it’s executed to absolute perfection. The Eggs Benedict is another favourite here, a soft and delicate poached egg piled high on toasted brioche, with a rich and creamy Hollandaise sauce poured generously over the top.
The main courses are what it’s all about though, and there’s something to appeal to any palate, whether that be lobster and fish, steak and venison, or an Italian pasta dish. Prices are around £14 to £25 generally, though this varies daily. World famous are the salmon fishcakes, served with creamy buttered spinach. A crispy outer layer gives way to soft flakes of thick cut salmon and potato, and they’re guaranteed to leave you feeling full. Another unmissable option is the calf’s liver, which is topped with crispy charred bacon and colcannon. Cooked to order, it arrives soft and tender, falling apart at the touch of your fork, and the creamy colcannon is a filling and hearty accompaniment.
Leave room for dessert here, or you’ll really be missing out – everyone should order the double chocolate souffle, a rich and dark chocolate bomb that opens up to a melted white chocolate centre. It’s the most expensive option at £8, but you’ll find the whole table fighting to share it. This is a good time of the meal to mention if you’re celebrating a special occasion too, such as a graduation or milestone birthday – if the maitre d is having a good night, he sometimes arrives with a special little chocolate cake or cocktail for the lucky celebrant.
The wine list is far more lengthy than the food menu, with nearly two hundred white, red and pink options, ranging in price from £18.50 for the cheapest French white to £375 for a 1985 French St Julien red, not to mention of course the obligatory £250 Cristal champagne. A decadent option for a real special occasion is the Laurent Perrier rose champagne, priced at £65. Its makers boast that their method give it a fresh taste compared to other pink Champagnes, and it’s certainly as easy drinker – whatever the science, you’ll find the bottle disappearing all too quickly!
The Last Word
Le Caprice is ‘le best’ – fine food, eccentric but efficient staff, and only the glitteriest of the glitterati in attendance. All foodies should make themselves regulars, and for the rest of us, this is one place that can make an ordinary weekday night one of the most special nights out you might ever have!