Review: Massimo at The Corinthia Hotel, Charing Cross
Style Points: 5/5
The Corinthia Hotel London is a decadent setting, with giant lavish chandeliers, floral arrangements, and a reception boasting an elegant mixture of tall pillars and pretty orb lighting. Once at the hotel, we breezed past bar and quaint gift shop and into the Massimo restaurant where we were greeted warmly and our coats taken.
Would I Want Seconds?
Our waiter at Massimo introduced himself as did our sommelier Adriana, both were happy to explain and recommend dishes and pair wines to our tastes. We were in the mood for a refreshing glass of prosecco and Adriana recommended an Italian cuvee that by her description (and respected standards) was bound to be better than any regular prosecco. When the glasses arrived, the Ca'del Bosco (Cuvee Prestige) a golden colour and tasted smooth and rich, closer to a fine champagne and was really easy to drink.
We nibbled on the parmesan topped breadsticks which tasted crunchy and very addictive, this was soon followed by a selection of various fresh and soft white and brown breads accompanied by olive oil.
My guest ordered the aubergine parmigiana with smoked cheese which was very fragrant and tasted as good as it looked in all it's cheesy and tomato-ey goodness which complimented the aubergine flavour and texture. For my starter (antipasti), I had the scallops with saffron dressing, apple and celeriac salad. The scallops were soft and fresh with a slight crisp and had lots of flavour, there was a sprinkle of salad in the centre and the dish was garnished with edible flowers. The course on the whole was very light.
The waiter rushed out to warn me that my starter contained dairy before I touched it however I decided to brave it. I really must remember to mention it prior to booking or shout it on arrival. Note to self!
Adriana returned to offer a wine pairing with our food choices. We asked for something white and fruity and she delivered on our request, next came the fruitiest white wine I've ever tasted, this was a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (Saint Claire, Pioneer Block from Marlborough New Zealand). The fruity notes didn't overwhelm the food and instead complimented it. Again, it was very easy to drink.
Time for the main act, my guest was excited to tuck into her pork fillet with spiced apple and chestnuts which was tender, flavoursome and meaty with a gorgeous dressing. My main of homemade cuttlefish ink spaghetti with lobster and sweet chilli was very tasty. Authentic Italian taste, fresh pasta in a fresh hot tomato sauce with lots of chunks of lobster. The ideal portion size, in my opinion and I had never had black spaghetti before so that was exciting. Due to my dairy intolerance, I often think the only Italian meals I can have are spaghetti bolognaise and penne pasta however there were a few choices for me to decide from which was a relief. Massimo manage to execute delicious meals that are light yet filling.
Time for the Grand Finale! Dessert (Dolci) came in the form of an Amalfi lemon, white chocolate and almond cake. Soft, sweet and (white) chocolatey with a subtle hint of citrus. For me, I tried a selection of their homemade sorbet: pineapple, lime, and a raspberry scoop which came along with a meringue swirl which was a refreshing addition to the simple sorbet I usually order due to many choices being heavily dairy based. This was the perfect combination of bitter sweet and the smooth light sorbet contrasted with the crunchy meringue.
Your dishes will always come out at the same time as your guest, I'm not quite sure how they manage it but they do. All the staff are Italian and can advise you on authentic flavours, foods and products (and not to mention any tricky pronunciations). The entire menu is filled with food from Italy, many dishes are named after the cities they hail from.
The Head Chef at Massimo also kindly invited us into the kitchen which is a huge honour, it was interesting to see the kitchen staff live in action with the high-intensity atmosphere and excitement you would expect. The staff move around each other in chaotic harmony and respond to the chef calls (all in Italian might I add). And I feel slightly in the way but also very privileged to be welcomed in as a fly on the wall spectator. One chef even allowed us to watch him plate up the perfectly presented desserts while we saw another rolling the fresh dough for the breadsticks.
Could I Afford Seconds?
At Massimo, without drinks our three course meal came to £46 each which is what I would have expected to pay for the quality of food, ambience and service. Of course drinks will push that figure up a notch. Based on this, this would be a treat rather than a weekly regular visit.
I was absolutely full from my three course meal plus extras at Massimo, and very satisfied with the wine and prosecco recommended to us. The customer service at Massimo has been sublime as everybody I encountered in different areas of the Corinthia Hotel was professional and polite which always enhances my experience.
All that is left to do is to collect our coats and wander back to the nearest tube station. In conclusion, excellent Italian cuisine, excellent surroundings and excellent customer service. This restaurant comes with a high recommendation from us!
Reviewed by Guest Writer Syeshia Sweeney
Address: 10 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N
Closest Tube Station: Charing Cross Underground