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The Crescent Restaurant, Marble Arch W1

May 1999 review of the winner of our
Dine Online Accolade 1998/9 for the Best Value Haute Cuisine

NB Prices and opening times updated April  2002, Events update April 2003

Gourmet Events
Summer 2003

Californian Wines & Dinner
Wednesday 21st May

An evening of fine wines from Round Hill Vineyards presented by Morgan Zaninovich, one of the family of owners.
£40.00 per person including 3 course dinner

Champagne Dinner
Wednesday 25th June 2003

Champagne Delback was the supplier of wines to the French Court of Napoleon III as well as many of the great Victorian royal palaces.
Grand Cru wines and dinner to match for £49.00

For details of all these events call 020 7402 4288

In the ever changing world of London restaurants, chefs come and go very quickly. Sometimes this leads to a period of flux from which some restaurants never seem to recover. Fortunately this is not the case at The Crescent, which is situated in a very pretty and quiet Georgian crescent just behind Marble Arch. Every time we've visited we've enjoyed the cooking greatly, and almost impossibly, it seems to get better every time. We've also had heaps of emails from readers saying how much they've enjoyed it too.

But things in the kitchen have moved on again yet again, and earlier in the year (1999) Stephen Whitney joined The Crescent Restaurant as head chef. He previously worked as Executive Chef for Anton Mosimann at Mosimann's, at The Savoy and for Nico Ladenis at 90 Park Lane. In May 1999, Dine Online went along to sample Stephen's cooking; not only can we report that standards have remained high, if anything our meal was the most memorable we've had at the Crescent so far. We've been back since and standards have continued to rise.

Stephen Whitney's fixed price menu features an imaginative choice of dishes including seasonal specialities. During the summer months (2002) it costs a bargain £25.00 for three courses and this includes a bottle of wine shared between two diners. Whitney's philosophy is that taste is far more important than over complicated presentation and ingredients should be simple and freshly cooked. In the event we found his dishes were actually quite complex, containing some interesting ingredients but without being over elaborate.

Crescent RestaurantWe tried his signature starter, the Calamari and Shellfish Laksa with Rice Soup Noodles. For a starter this is a substantial dish which also includes clams and tofu, finished off with a Blue Clan Tiger Prawn that's the size of a small lobster! The Marinated swordfish with soft shell oyster and sauce vierge is a another luxurious and somewhat exotic fishy concoction. Another very successful starter was made from artichoke hearts stuffed with a mixture of crabmeat and guacamole, topped with a crispy potato and cumin tart. A sauce of chilli salsa with grapefruit segments completed the colourful decoration. The Chilled Boudin of guineafowl was a faultless construction of the kind I'd never attempt at home! The cross sections of boudin were served on a sort of carpaccio of finely sliced confit beetroot with some very creamy Vichyssoise around the perimeter of the plate.

With twelve different and individual sounding main dishes to choose from, you can imagine we were in a bit if a quandary. I had a delicious roast squab pigeon that was so tender and juicy without being too raw inside. It came on a base of carrots and leeks with a very pretty pastry pie containing perfectly cooked pommes gratinées laced liberally with black truffles - on a £25 three course set menu!

The Poached breast of chicken with shellfish featured a breast of chicken beaten out flat, rolled and stuffed with scallops mussels and clams. The roulade is then gently poached in a light stock and served with elegant turned potatoes infused with saffron in a bouillabaisse nage. It looked and tasted wonderful.

Crescent Restaurant Our guest enjoyed her roasted cod wrapped in pancetta with wild mushrooms topped with a poached egg and surrounded by a fresh and vivid tomato coulis. The potato and truffle pie that went with my roast pigeon was so perfectly executed that I suspected that there is a rather talented pastrycook in the brigade. He is John Kerr and his brother Douglas is the sous chef. Puddings were rather spectacular - I had an impressive pear soufflé which came puffed up and overflowing from a rather antique looking copper sauce pan. The citrus brulée was fresh and sharp, but the chocolate millefeuille was rather too thick, and I'm never very convinced by the combination of lemon and chocolate. The selection of cheeses was first rate. We sidled off to the sitting room to enjoy our coffee and petits fours.

Crescent RestaurantThe Crescent Restaurant used to be rather a well kept secret, tucked away from the more obvious passing trade. But its reputation has begun to gather momentum amongst London's foodie set and the restaurant is often busy nowadays. But the service remains very personal and relaxed with admirable attention to detail. I'm not sure whether the temptation offered by the free bottle of wine is necessarily a good one, as it's too easy to overlook some of the rather better wines on the list. I'd be tempted to trade up.

It's so nice to able to continue to warmly recommend a restaurant year after year. But please Chef Stephen Whitney, stay just a little longer! 

Update: he's still very much in action in May 2002!

Clifford Mould May 1999 updated May 2002

The Crescent Restaurant, Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London W1
Tel: 020 7723 4440
Open for lunch Monday to Friday, 12.30 - 2.30pm. Dinner from 6.30 to 10.30pm Monday to Saturday
Special Sunday supper menu £15-£20

Click here to read our review of the Montcalm Nikko Hotel, which is next door to the Crescent Restaurant.
Summer promotional  menu


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