Mr R.E. breakfasts at the Lanesborough

Breakfast number two of the week and today the venue is the Lanesborough on Hyde Park Corner. An impressive 19th century building which is now a small, but luxurious hotel, in the heart of London. Originally built as a hospital (St. Georges) in the 18C, it was demolished and rebuilt in 1827 by William Wilkins. The hospital itself transferred to Tooting in 1980, and the building fell into disrepair until 1991 when it was refurbished and re-opened, and now is arguably the most expensive hotel in London.

I've been here many times before, though I've never stayed overnight, and I've certainly enjoyed the hospitality of the restaurants and bars - the library bar is a favourite of mine. On entering the hotel I'n directed to Apsleys, the restaurant. Taken over by Heinz Beck in 2009, it is his first restaurant outside of Italy and was awarded a Michelin star in 2010 (the fastest for a London restaurant at the time).

The last time I was here was for dinner before the refurbishment, then, it was a colonial style greenhouse with pastille coloured 80's styling, with a very loud piano playing in the centre - we expected to find George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley hiding behind the palms with fake tans and shorts. Now it has the feeling of a light, open, Italian venue, with a Titian-esque artwork as a centrepiece.  I assume this is to announce the 'rebirth' of the restaurant itself (although for some reason the artwork has go-faster stripes).

The menu is extensive and they even encourage you to be creative and go 'off menu'.  Given my recent disappointment, I know I'm going to go down the Eggs Benedict route again. The orange juice is already in the waiters' hands, so I accept the invitation and give my order.

I assume the go-faster stripes on the centrepiece give the illusion that orders are being handled much more quickly than they are, and we wait what seems to be an age. All three of us have ordered eggs, so I assume only one egg chef is on, or they are out the back squeezing a couple from the chicken. Finally, the dishes arrive.  Again the food looks great, though as I found to my cost yesterday, looks can be deceiving.  I look more closely...

Two nicely formed poached eggs on top of an abundance of ham, and one half of a largish muffin. A decent, but not overwhelming amount of hollandaise with a pinch of paprika. My knife glides through the egg revealing a medium cooked egg with a yolk that flows down over the ham and muffin, but is not indiscreet enough to damage the texture of either. The ham is a honey roast ham, organically sourced, and full of flavour; and the muffin is nice and fluffy. The hollandaise, is creamy, but could do with just a touch more acidity - but I feel I'm splitting hairs now.

I enjoy the venue, the eggs Benedict were good. The service, other than waiting for too long, was fine and I leave in good humour  - joking with the staff as I leave.  One tells me his favourite egg joke: 
How do Monsters like their eggs cooked - Terri-fried.


I had breakfast again this morning, and things have definitely deteriorated since my last visit.  Eggs were undercooked, the staff kept trying to sell us pastries every five minutes and I had to ask for juice three times.  A glass of grapefruit juice finally arrived, but had been watered down.  I also had to ask for a cup of coffee twice, and finally got it at the end of the meal.  The bill also had to be requested three times!  17/9/12

Apsleys: A Heinz Beck Restaurant on Urbanspoon