Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
All rights reserved
The discerning and intrepid Travelling Gourmet TM goes to Hyde Park in London to stay in the…
MANDARIN ORIENTAL Hyde Park is truly one of the world’s grand luxury hotels. I have stayed in many tip top hotels around the world like the Danieli in Venice and Hotel de Crillon in Paris, just to name a few. There are only a handful of top hotels worldwide that are in this class. The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has a superb location just two minutes on foot from Knightsbridge Station. It is also very near Harvey Nichols (just opposite) and Harrods department stores. Here you have an enticing blend of elegance, timeless style and luxury. Home to two of the city’s best restaurants, a stunning spa, beautifully designed and furnished accommodation and exquisite function rooms, this hotel is a fashionable, yet timeless base from which to discover the British capital. It has been said that if one tires of London, one tires of life itself…
Afternoon Tea anyone…
Forget the Ritz because traditional English Afternoon Tea in the Rosebery Tea Lounge is to parachute behind enemy lines in Afghanistan for! Such an elegant, inviting and warm decor! Perfectly splendid sushi-like rolled sandwiches, scones and exquisite cakes with your choice of your favourite premium teas. Omg! Super yummie! In the evenings it tranforms magically into a romantic Champagne and Wine Bar. Currently, the Rosebery offers a very special Paddington Bear Afternoon Tea with the famous bear from darkest Peru’s favourites. No prizes for guessing that delights with Marmalade is on the menu! There is a also a full size Paddington Bear in the Lobby for you to donate generously to the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). Nicole Ebner, the pretty, svelte and charming German Manageress is very nice and helpful too. I always enjoy speaking German to her.
I love Paddington Bear from darkest Peru…and Afternoon Tea in the ravishing Rosebery!
Gorgeous Grosvenor Suite
I was very pleased to stay in the Grosvenor Suite on level 3. To say it is extremely comfortable is an understatement. The firm mattress and super fluffy pillows made me fall into a deep and happy snooze in two minutes…The Grosvenor Suite on Level 3 is spacious, opulent in the best possible taste without being garish, and very well equipped. You even have your own Espresso machine so you can have your Cubania or Ristretto anytime at the touch of a button. George Clooney the Hollywood star would be very happy here.
Chef Daniel Boulud’s London outpost…
Fabulous food is de rigeur in Bar Boulud. Bar Boulud is in the same building as the Mandarin Oriental London hotel, with a separate entrance from Knightsbridge. The Chef behind Bar Boulud is well known Lyon native Daniel Boulud. His namesake restaurant in the Big Apple (New York) now has 2 Michelin Stars. It used to have the maximum of three. Able Master Chefs like Daniel Boulud and Claude Bosi of Hibiscus and Heinz Beck of La Pergola really make Ramsay and Oliver look like the clowns they are. In Singapore, go to Bistro Moderne Daniel Boulud in Marina Bay Sands. The cuisine is contemporary home-style French served and presented Bistro-style. Daniel Boulud’s Chef in London is Dean Yasharian and the very friendly British Chef de Cuisine is…jolly John Barber. Daniel Boulud as a personal friend is…how shall we say…amusing. Daniel Boulud has moods and sometimes he appears snooty and a trifle arrogant, unlike humble and extremely creative 3 Michelin Star Chef Heinz Beck and my late but great pal, the Emperor of Chefs..Paul Bocuse. Perhaps that is why he lost one ‘macaron’ in New York, the city of hoity-toity nouveau riche…dare I say it, Yes, why the hell not…imbeciles!
I digress, I absolutely adore the robust and full flavoured Boudin Noir and also the less ‘powerful’ Boudin Blanc! These are flavoursome home-made sausages bursting and exploding with satisfying meaty flavours. You get delicious hearty food here! Yummie! The best I have tasted apart from Au Pied du Cochon in Les Halles of Paris…but that is another story.
Burn those Calories!
The Swimming Pool, Spa and Gymnasium too are outstanding. It is not too deep at 1.3 m but its adequate size makes swimming laps to burn Calories a breeze. The stylo-milo stainless steel swimming pool which opened in February 2014, is an indoor heated twin lane pool with two side decks joined by a bridge at one end. For fitness enthusiasts, the 17m by 6.5m pool has a unique lap timer feature, enabling users to dial in a target speed that they want to swim to. You then try to keep up with the pacer light embedded in the floor that runs the whole length of the pool. I liked too the glass encased fireplace on one wall that showed off flickering orange flames…I make it a point to exercise religiously at least once a day, because as The Travelling Gourmet TM I have lots of food and wine tasting…
After swimming, I adore the cool, comfortable and amazing aromatherapy couches to relax on…the whole couch changes colour internally from green to turquoise to cherry pink, while soothing hypnotic music and aromatherapy scents fill the air near your nostrils…The Pinewood Sauna is very good too with a temperature of 83C.
I would have liked a punching bag and/or a Red Man mannequin in the Gym for Krav Maga practice. They have one in the Andaz Hotel London’s Gymnasium but then the Andaz does not have a swimming pool. The Andaz is the Hyatt’s top brand. Nevertheless, the many cutting-edge Techno Gym machines here are quite adequate for a good muscle toning workout.
Early Jog in the Royal Parklands…
My Titanium Breitling watch read 07:18 as I went on my early morning jog in Hyde Park. It was 2C in the bracing cold and icy wintry wind, when I ran into the Househould Cavalry troopers exercising their mighty stallions clad in DPM camouflage uniforms and riding boots. I called out, “Are you the Queen’s Household Cavalry?” The Officer in Charge replied cheerfully as he galloped off, “Yes, we are!”
Bountiful, Beautiful Breakfast!
I really like to admire Her Majesty The Queen’s Household Cavalry and the Blues and
Royals cantering past when I tuck into my a la minute Smoked Salmon Omelette at breakfast. The most important meal of the day is in Heston Blumenthal’s Dining Room which has a raised floor so you get a panoramic view of Hyde Park. Long ago, it used to be Foliage Restaurant helmed by my friend Chef Chris Staines. On this occasion the Cavalry troopers were in their Dress Uniform. The sunlight glimmered and glinted on their bright red and blue tunics, brightly polished cuirasses, long Cavalry sabre scabbards and jet black knee high jackboots and spurs…as I dipped my butter croissant into my Cappuccino before savouring every delicious morsel. The Buffet Breakfast is really good! Man does not live by bread alone, as Derek Flint always says 🙂
Life is much like gourmet ice cream…enjoy it before it melts!
The motto of the Queen’s Household Cavalry is “Honi soit qui mal y pense“. It is an Anglo-Norman phrase, meaning: “Evil unto him who thinks evil of it”.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7235 2000