Imperial Treasure – not for the undiscerning
All in, Imperial Treasure isn‘t for the undiscerning, but if you‘re well-versed in upscale Cantonese, it‘s probably for you.
26 June 2019
It‘s a testament to the diversity of London‘s food scene that a chef like Quique Dacosta, who boasts an eponymous restaurant in Denia, Spain which has held three Michelin stars since 2013, another Michelin star at El Poblet in Valencia and a raft of other restaurants, that he has chosen Britain‘s capital to launch a restaurant entirely devoted to rice. Situated on Eastcastle Street, Arros QD is named for its signature ingredient - arros is Spanish for rice - and its chef‘s initials. We popped in on a Friday evening to investigate and found a gastronome‘s haven characterised by hard work, professionalism and commitment to pure flavour.
Situated on Eastcastle Street in the very south of Fitzrovia, the restaurant dining room is a sultry, seductive affair with industrial ventilation painted lacquer black, black stone tiling on the walls, brass rails and birch bark installations on the ceiling and coping on the walls. There‘s a giant open-plan kitchen where chefs toil over outsized paella pans and grill over an open flame parrilla. Upstairs there‘s an inviting, intimate cocktail bar where you can post up and wait for a table, as well as two gorgeous PDRs. The bathrooms deserve special mention. They‘re entered through a mesmerising, narrow hall of mirrors that‘s more catwalk than funhouse.
We sat down on our table and were given sage guidance by the waiting staff and especially the sommelier, who introduced us to some unfamiliar Iberian varietals such as merseguera, which was an exceptionally supple pairing with seasonal cherry tomatoes and sundried tomato emulsion buried under frosty tomato snow, as well as parmesan and manchego cream wrapped in cocoa butter to resemble smooth black pebbles. The rice was quite definitively the main event. We were beguiled by a traditional Mediterranean paella of cuttlefish, tiger prawn and monkfish with a noras aioli, but bewitched by the heady flavours of wood pigeon breast with wild mushrooms, rosemary and porcini aioli. There was very little room for dessert but we managed to fit in a helium-light cheesecake with forest fruit syrup and biscuit ice cream hatted with shards of almond paper.
Arros QD certainly lives up to its chef‘s pedigree. We‘ll be back to experience more of the menu.
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