A Culinary Symphony at Allegra: A Gastronomic Journey at The Stratford Hotel
As an avid connoisseur of fine dining, my recent excursion to the Allegra Restaurant at The Stratford Hotel was nothing short of a gastronomic revelation. Nestled in the heart of vibrant Stratford, this culinary gem caters to the discerning palates of an epicurean clientele, offering an exquisite dining experience that seamlessly fuses opulence, innovation and culinary mastery. By Samantha Ready
Upon entering Allegra, which you do so from the private lift that escorts you skywards, the first thing that captivates the senses is the chic and sophisticated decor. The design is a harmonious blend of contemporary elegance and understated luxury, with a palette of muted tones creating an atmosphere of refined intimacy. The meticulous attention to detail is evident in every aspect of the interior, from the bespoke furniture to the tasteful artwork that adorns the walls, creating a setting that is both inviting and aesthetically pleasing.
At the helm of this culinary haven is chef Patrick Powell, a maestro in the kitchen whose reputation precedes him. Powell’s culinary journey includes stints at several Michelin-starred establishments, and his innovative approach to modern British cuisine has earned him rightful accolades. His commitment to using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients is evident in each meticulously crafted dish, showcasing a deep respect for the rich culinary heritage of the region.
The star of the dining experience is undoubtedly the taster menu, a symphony of flavours that takes diners on a journey through Powell’s culinary imagination. The menu is a carefully curated selection of dishes that artfully showcase the kitchen team’s creativity and skill (though for those wanting a more laid back lunch, the hidden burger menu should be your go-to). Each course is a revelation, with unexpected flavour combinations and exquisite presentation that elevate the dining experience to new heights.
Beginning with market oysters with pickled seaweed mignonette, we were soon in full enjoyment of Allegra’s renowned snacks: aubergine with pickled daikon and hen of the wood tart, and a delightful curried fried hake with mustard fruit, which was swiftly followed by bread. The evening’s dining dishes were then a showcase of regional seasonality with contemporary British flair. First, beetroot and blackberry salad bursting with beetroot textures with yoghurt, pecan and sorrel. Next, a delightful gnocchi Parisienne with confit chicken wings, Vin Jaune and girolles, which was followed by a delicious scallop with cucumber and butter dashi sauce. The fish course presented a fresh take on aged chalk stream trout served with French beans, pickled celery, smoked butter, seaweed and trout roe. While the meat course was a delight of grass-fed beef, Brandywine tomato, pomme paillasson and pepper sauce. Possibly the most intriguing dish was the fig leaf ice cream sandwich. Savoury, yet creamy, palate-cleansing yet decadent; it was particularly moreish. We finished with a light raspberry and almond verbena éclair and divine apricot macaron.
Adding another layer of sensory pleasure were the perfect wine recommendations. While no longer offered as a typical wine pairing to the taster menu, be sure to ask for some sommelier expertise; they will effortlessly recommend from the wine list that complements the diverse flavours of the taster menu. From rare vintages to carefully selected local wines, the pairing enhances the overall sensory experience and ensures that each sip is a perfect accompaniment to the culinary masterpiece unfolding on the plate.
For those looking to make a weekend of this extraordinary dining experience, The Stratford offers luxurious accommodation that echoes the same level of refinement as the restaurant itself. The plush rooms and impeccable service provide a seamless extension of the opulence experienced at Allegra, creating a truly immersive and indulgent getaway.
For those making the trip from Kent, the journey to Allegra is both convenient and scenic. Opting for the high-speed rail services ensures a swift and comfortable trip, allowing diners to revel in the anticipation of the culinary delights awaiting. Arriving in around half an hour, meanwhile, makes Allegra an enticing destination for those seeking a culinary escape without the hassle of a long journey.
Allegra at The Stratford Hotel is a gastronomic haven that transcends the ordinary, offering a dining experience that is as much about artistry as it is about taste. From the exquisite decor to the inspired taster menu, every element of the experience reflects a commitment to excellence that is truly unparalleled. For those with a taste for the extraordinary, Allegra is not just a restaurant, it’s a journey into the sublime world of refined culinary mastery.
Manhattan Loft Gardens
20 International Way
[Entrance via The Stratford hotel]