The Belvedere is by no means the new kid on the block. This Kensington stalwart has long been a favourite of the affluent locals; nestled in the heart of leafy Holland Park, its location is second to none if beautiful surrounds are your thing. The building dates back to the 17th century when it was used as a summer ballroom to the Jacobean Mansion, Holland House.
Having never eaten here, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from The Belvedere. Long gone are the days where Marco Pierre-White was the name on everybody’s lips but perhaps not entirely for the right reasons. Ask anyone who knows anything about food, particularly when it comes to the best restaurants in the eighties and early nineties… they will know that Marco Pierre-White was the undisputed King of the London restaurant scene with a constellation of Michelin stars under his belt.
Saturday lunches at The Belvedere are Jazz Piano-filled and although at first I was filled with dread, it proved to be a pleasant accompaniment to our meal. The dining room was buzzing with patrons from ‘ladies that lunch’ to families and friends. Service is very area-appropriate; formal and courteous without being overly stuffy. The menu is an elegant balance of old classics and traditional French cuisine but the sight of ‘Caesar Salad a la Belvedere’ did leave me feeling a little uneasy. Fortunately my starter Parfait of Foie Gras was excellent; rich and creamy with a silky finish on the palate and that decadently salty and unmistakable flavour of fatty goose liver that prevents Foie Gras production from extinction. The Parfait is complimented beautifully by a sweet pear chutney and a toasted slice of thick Brioche bread.
The main course of swordfish with salsa verde and oven roast potatoes was outstanding and deserves honourable mention. The swordfish was charred to perfection, meaty and succulent with every bite melting in the mouth and the potatoes were crispy and comforting as you would hope roast potatoes to be. I didn’t manage dessert, but expect lots of hearty, seasonal favourites such a pear and almond tart as well as crème brulee and a selection of English and French cheeses.
I would say that I left The Belvedere feeling incredibly impressed not only with the food but also the attentive service. The value offered here is really hard to beat in the locality, with a 3-course lunch priced at just £24.50 you really are getting excellent value in stylish surrounds reminiscent of the days of Art Deco and Chinoiserie. A revival is most definitely in order and The Belvedere is a wonderful yet affordable treat.