A man as famous as his Oscar-worthy clientele, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck joins our dinner date at Mayfair favourite CUT at 45 Park Lane.
On a very special early summer evening, whilst nestled between Hyde Park and busy Mayfair, a tanned gentleman with a million dollar smile gently walks over to our table at CUT at 45 Park Lane’s Riva yacht inspired al fresco terrace. In a distinctive accent he introduces himself; “hello, I’m Wolfgang.”
In a flurry of excitement, we watch as TV royalty and cooking legend Wolfgang Puck pulls up a chair to our table. He joins us in choosing a glass of Champagne, although he requests his to only be served in a wine glass and not a flute – we take note for all future Champagne drinking. Between appearances on morning shows, Wolfgang is in London to welcome executive chef Elliott Grover to his new home at Dorchester Collection’s sexy, sleek 45 Park Lane. A hotel more like a member’s club with an impressive collection of art throughout, including Damien Hirst pieces lining CUT, which was Wolfgang’s first opening in Europe.
Elliott brings to the table our appetisers (spicy tuna tartare cones, warm pretzel bread, beautifully presented oysters, and perfectly prepared scallops), and talks us through how he has adapted Wolfgang’s famous menu. “It is hard to improve on Wolfgang’s dishes, they are what our guests come back for time and time again.” Says chef Elliott. “But having spent time with Chef in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, really understanding the ethos of the modern American cuisine, I wanted the focus here in London to be on the sourcing of the ingredients and building great relationships with our suppliers to ensure we only ever have the very best produce in our kitchens.” And it shows, the dishes at CUT are outstanding.
Whilst we await our mains, Wolfgang receives a tap on the shoulder. “Excuse me sir.” Appearing from behind Wolfgang, a boy of around seven or eight wants to say hello to chef. “I wanted to let you know you, my family love your food.” Visiting from Bombay, Wolfgang jumps up to go and chat to the boy’s family who are sat across the terrace, soon taking group photos and selfies. Having Wolfgang in town is a real treat, he takes the time to greet each table, making every guest feel like a Hollywood movie star. And besides how to make the world’s best Schnitzel, one thing that Wolfgang Puck knows is what the Hollywood elite like to eat. Having catered for the Oscars for over a quarter of a century, chef Puck has the ultimate black book of diners who regularly visit his institution restaurant Spago in Beverly Hills, which is as popular now as it was when it first opened 40 years ago, and his namesake restaurant at 45 Park Lane’s sister Hotel Bel Air. Two of many successful restaurants under Wolfgang’s belt, having most recently opened Spago in Budapest.
Soon our mains arrive and on Wolfgang’s recommendation we decide to share plates, which chef insists on serving himself. The showstopper is a crispy whole baked sea bass, with a sweet & sour pineapple coating, which sizzles at the table. Its divine. Alongside we share spaghetti pasta, made in-house obviously, with native blue lobster which Wolfgang masterfully scoops up and swirls on to our plates. A real treat for the table comes a Tomahawk steak (something CUT has come renowned for), sprinkled with truffle shavings and accompanied with the signature creamed spinach and onion rings on the side. The creamed spinach is a dish Wolfgang serves in honour of his mother and their humble beginnings in Austria, where in absence of meat she would serve an egg on their plate of spinach, and has now become one of CUTs most famous offerings.
Charmed by the food, you almost don’t realise how beautiful the new CUT terrace is. With limited space on Curzon Street, the designers used a luxury yacht for inspiration to neatly line seating with a captain’s table at the stern and a large awning to counter the unpredictable British weather.
As the sun slowly sets over Hyde Park, our deserts arrive. Dining at CUT, every calorie is worth it, and there are no regrets ordering three of the most delicious deserts we have ever tasted. Thanks to an extremely talented pastry chef, Niamh Larkin, we dive into a Spanish style burnt Basque cheesecake with strawberries; a yellow peach pavlova with coconut tapioca and raspberry sorbet; and our personal favourite the CUT s’more with dark chocolate and whiskey cremeux. And to pair we opt with a night cap negroni, made the Wolfgang Puck way, with mezcal. Bliss.
Address: CUT at 45 Park Lane, London, W1K 1PN