If you really want to test your self-confidence, head to Claridge’s straight after work when you are feeling haggard and decisively not fresh.

If, like me, you are not landed gentry, once you step through the heavy doors you might find yourself a stranger in a parallel universe carved out of marble and statement flower bouquets, where chipped nail polish and singular middle names don’t exist.

The fabled Mayfair hotel is even more impressive than its very impressive royal pedigree and reputation, and its interiors – modern yet nostalgic and grandiose all at once – are dizzying.

Harrow Times: The restaurant's bar is backlit beautyThe restaurant's bar is backlit beauty (Image: Claridge's)

Claridge’s Restaurant should make your head just as fast. It is as magnificent as the hotel is. However, Claridge’s new flagship all-day dining spot does a really good job - mainly thanks to the disarmingly unaffected floor staff - at dissolving any feelings of interloping and making such opulence feel so very every day.

New to the hotel, the restaurant fits like a glove. An exquisite treat, it officially opened this month following a soft launch through September.

It takes over from the Michelin starred Davies and Brookes, the modern British restaurant where Head Chef Coalin Finn once worked, and which finished its run in 2021 after the hotel rejected the restaurant’s fully vegan ambitions.

Harrow Times: The dining room is a timeless art deco triumphThe dining room is a timeless art deco triumph (Image: Claridge's)

There is so much to dine out on in the restaurant, beyond the novelty of sitting in the 16th best hotel in the world and the UK’s best, as decided on by the recent 50 best hotels award.

For a start, the art deco dining room is a timeless alchemy of tile, marble and leather banquette seating and impeccable style. A central bouquet of hydrangeas, so big it was more of a tree, sat under sunny art deco-style stained-glass skylights, while the bar is just divine. 

The restaurant hopes to lure more than just hotel guests in for a meal, and if you’ve ever wondered what sort of crowd Claridge’s pulls for dinner, the answer is mixed.

Harrow Times: The restaurant's grilled native lobsterThe restaurant's grilled native lobster (Image: Justin De Souza)

A great spot for people watching, we spotted a John Major lookalike and a well-heeled older woman using her personal magnifying glass to read the menu. To the right of me there was a family with two late-teenaged boys, and to the right, a couple; the man wearing a hoodie and stubble.

As part of efforts to entice a more diverse crowd, dish price-points have been considered, although the restaurant is by no means a cheap eat. Starting your meal off with a round of caviar will set you back £580 before you get to your oysters, but with entrees floating around the £20 mark, and mains starting from £36, an occasion dinner here is doable, even if you’re not a shipping heiress.

Seafood platters, Dorset lamb loin and grilled Native lobster sit alongside goat cheese and pear salad, and leek and watercress velouté on the menu. These refined dishes are joined by elegant modernisations of vintage plates; a black truffle crumpet and a baked Alaska to share for example.

Harrow Times: Dishes are classic and refinedDishes are classic and refined (Image: Claridge's)

Dinner started with a golden loaf of house-made dense brioche and an emblem of butter which was quickly destroyed as we wiped it on the heavenly sweet bread.

This was followed by a log of confit aubergine, its crispy fried shell encased a mush innards, delightfully squidgy and briny, which were brightened by smears of tart spiced yoghurt.

The Orkney scallops were a particularly pretty dish. Plump salted scallops perched along the edge of a bright verdant puddle, with sharp pops of pickled Jerusalem artichoke slivers dispersed in-between.

For mains, the block of Cornish seabass – the flesh flaky and soft, its skin salted and crisped – was sublime. It came perched on a pile of zucchini matchsticks dense with the cheerful saffron sauce it was sitting in.

Harrow Times: There are also revamped nostalgic dishes, such as the black truffle crumpetThere are also revamped nostalgic dishes, such as the black truffle crumpet (Image: Claridge's)

The steak au poivre was equally flawless. The hefty round of meat still pink in the middle sat in a moat of deep auburn sauce dotted with truffle shavings.

Our leafy side salad was bulked out with fingers of radishes and carrots, and green strawberry halves which were all pickled to a pleasing fizz. And the rosemary fries, which were wickedly salty and herby, became mere vehicles to trough up the conversation-stopping mayonnaise.

The baked Alaska, as exquisite looking as it was, turned out to be a controversial dish. The vintage sweet is having somewhat of a resurgence if the number or recent mentions in press releases is anything to go by. Yet I’ve never tried the dish.

Harrow Times: The show-stopping, yet controversial, baked AlaskaThe show-stopping, yet controversial, baked Alaska (Image: Claridge's)

Anna, my dinner date, insisted the retro dessert should be made with Neapolitan ice cream inside the meringue shell, while my boyfriend when asked as a second opinion later on said it should always be made with crap vanilla ice cream, even at Claridge’s.

Perhaps this baked Alaska won’t appeal to the puritanical eaters out there, although it doesn’t sound like tradition is anything to hold onto in this instance. This baked Alaska was a sharp, palette cleansing, lemony sorbet encased in a ripple of meringue flambeed at the table so that the casing tasted like campfire-burnt marshmallow. Sublime. All of it, sublime. 

Address: claridges.co.uk

Website: Brook Street, London W1K 4HR