Light and Laid-Back

Lady Barbara Judge samples the magical menu at Jean-Georges’ latest opening at the Connaught

When the new Jean-Georges opened in what used to be the terrace dining room at the Connaught, I immediately made a reservation. I have been fortunate to have dined at many of Jean-Georges’ restaurants all over New York City and, most recently, in Tokyo – and they have always been beyond wonderful. So, it was with very high expectations that I joined my friend, Jürgen Wild, a German industrialist, there last week for dinner.

The restaurant is very new – that is – it almost looks like a cocktail lounge, with low oval tables spread around what was once the pavement and is now enclosed in glass. There are no tablecloths, and not too many flowers, but the place is still not too noisy to hear your dinner companion, which is a real treat these days, when blaring music seems to be called ‘atmosphere’.

Dinner was absolutely delicious, but it, too, felt like we were dining in a cocktail lounge. Between us, we shared tuna tartare and warm shrimp salad, both of which were simple, light and beautiful, and just what they were meant to be.

Then we shared the most fabulous pizza that I have ever tasted. It had a very thin crust, which is one of the trademarks of Jean-Georges, and was covered with fontina cheese and beautiful, bounteous, black truffles. This was pizza for royalty, and we ate it so fast that it was gone while we were still complimenting its look and taste.

The main courses were still to come, and Jürgen had roasted sea bass with a crust of nuts and seeds, served with a sweet-and- sour jus; a nice twist on very good, solid, sea bass – a fish that is hard to fault in almost any preparation. I had roasted halibut, which was served with celeriac and a green curry sauce. This was an interesting, light preparation of a lovely piece of fish and didn’t make us feel as guilty as we should have been with so much food.

Only one dessert was to be had on this occasion, but it was truly magical. We had one to share because the prior three courses were already surely to be seen on my scales the next day. It was green apple candy floss and elderflower mousse, served with apple and basil sorbet, strawberries, and elderberry and lime juice. This was definitely candy floss for grown-ups. I just loved it and the memories it revived of my youth at the country fair. In fact, I already have my next reservation so I can try some more of this magical menu.
jean-georges.com; 020 7499 7070

Lady Barbara Judge is currently the Chair of the Institute of Directors and has held many posts across the corporate and charitable sector. She has an abiding love for food and her frequent business travels have enabled her to indulge this passion in many top restaurants. Lady Judge pays all of her own expenses.

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