The most recent restaurant opening at the refurbished Savoy Hotel was named after the hotel’s 3 foot high feline sculpture, Kaspar, in a nice nod to the hotel’s history (and the fishy focus of Kaspar’s menu.) Occupying the space that was formerly home to the River Restaurant, the restaurant is split into a large bar and grill area, and a smaller restaurant area, with large windows providing panoramic views over the Thames. The look of the place is glitzy brasserie style, with a touch of the theatrical (in keeping with the hotel’s neighbourhood.)
Front of house staff were friendly and ebullient, with a touch of the theatrical (a recurring theme) and, indeed, we were seated in time to order from the pre-theatre menu. While we studied the rather extensive set menu (a pleasant surprise to have such a large selection of dishes available), the restaurant filled up very quickly with an assortment of well-dressed couples and groups, giving it a nice buzz.. I settled on snails and pan-fried sea bream for my 2 courses (2 or 3 courses can be ordered.) Water and wine orders arrived promptly at the table, as did the bread basket, with a particularly pleasant butter. As is often the case in upscale restaurants, there were several waiters handling the various elements of our meal; service was well managed and seamless, and prompt, without being intrusive.
The snails were plump and juicy, swimming in a rich garlicky sauce (happily mopped up with the extra bread accompanying the dish.) While snails may not be everyone’s cup of tea, if you do like them, it’s definitely worth trying them here, maybe the best I’ve had anywhere in London so far.
The sea bream came with calamari, and a bouillabaise, on a bed of fennel, with a lobster sauce on the side. The fish itself was well cooked, with the skin very crispy, and the flesh soft enough (though, personally, I would have preferred it a little softer still.) The relative simplicity of the flavour of the bream was nicely complemented by the richness of the bouillabaise and lobster sauce, with the strong taste of the fennel (tender, but not overcooked) providing a good contrast.
Overall, this was a fine meal, offering excellent value, in a pleasantly buzzy and glamorous, but friendly destination restaurant. The pre-theatre menu is a great option for an early evening meal, if you’re in the neighbourhood- even if you’re not going to the theatre, Kaspar’s will provide a slightly theatrical experience anyway, in the best sense.