Last week, a little black envelope was popped through our letterbox. It contained a sleek white box and a scented bit of tissue paper. The box was tied with a black ribbon and a handwritten note was tucked inside. TRULY, a luxury gift company, had sent Jorge and I a much appreciated early wedding present – a lunch at the Michelin star Spanish restaurant Ametsa in Belgravia.
And so we set off for a walk on Saturday afternoon, the rain spitting and stopping, spitting and stopping. We stopped for a coffee at The Pie Man on Cale Street along the way, a little area with a real neighbourhood feeling about it, and settled in to a little square with a few benches lining the walkway.
It’s a pretty walk through Belgravia, even if it was a bit wet, with its creamy coloured stucco houses and grand terraces laden with olive trees and potted plants. This time of year, the roses are in bloom and there are plenty of stunning houses and expensive cars to keep you in awe of how the other half live. Belgravia is one of the wealthiest districts in the world when it comes to property and there’s no hiding it. Among many others, it’s home to Elle MacPherson and Nigella Lawson and Cara and Poppy Delevingne grew up in a mansion somewhere around here.
So we were pleased to be lunching a bit like the other half that afternoon. The luxurious gift box that TRULY sent definitely carried the same luxurious vibe as Ametsa which is tucked away on Halkin Street inside the Halkin Hotel. According to their website, “Ametsa with Arzak Instruction is a unique collaboration between Elena Arzak – voted Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef in 2012 – along with her father Juan Mari Arzak, and Mikel Sorazu, Igor Zalakain and Xabier Gutierrez.” So we knew we were in for a treat.
We were greeted with smiles and seated next to a window that overlooked a small, quiet garden, a green space full of cherry blossoms whose blossoms had turned to leaves a few weeks ago. A glass vase with some flowers and long leaves decorated each table.
They brought bread almost immediately, along with menus. The staff were attentive and quick throughout the whole lunch, yet we stayed for more than two hours enjoying our meal.
We were there for a set lunch menu which included tapas, a main, tea and coffee and petit fours. We added wine and dessert, of course.
The tapas arrived soon after we ordered and filled the table.
We started with the emerald mackerel salad and smoked artichokes, which was Jorge’s favourite.
Then we move on to the colourful plate of some sort of raw fish, seaweed, sesame seeds and a pink sauce which was delicious and probably my second favourite.
Then the black ink squid with a sauce. This was unlike any squid I’ve ever had and was my favourite part of the lunch. It was melt-in-your-mouth unforgettable.
Then we tried the red peppers which were tasty, even though peppers in general are not usually something I love.
And the last of the tapas which was the essential Iberico ham with some sort of really crunchy crackers that were hollow in the middle and impossible to eat without making a mess (at least for me). Yum!
While we were waiting for our mains, a friendly waiter, Ednor, came back with more bread. He told us Ametsa had been open for about a year and three months and that everyone assumes he is Spanish (because most of the staff is) even though he is Italian. We decided while we had his attention, to find out the story behind the restaurant’s impressive ceiling.
He said it’s made up of 7,000 tubes of different spices, positioned at different heights to create a wave. Inside are cumin, paprika and mustard among others. It was inspired by the huge “flavour bank” that the chef has at the main Arzak restaurant in Spain. Along the opposite side of where we were sitting, there’s a mirror that runs along the wall which is engraved with images of the same flowers that make up the spices in the tubes. Ednor also said that the colours have faded in the past year and they will have to be changed every two years or so. What a job!
Not long after that conversation, our mains arrived. Jorge had a scrumptious piece of fish – pollock with celery illusion, accompanied by a salad with pieces of grapefruit inside.
I went for the guinea fowl with soufflé which came with a sort of orzo side which was also delicious.
Then, of course, it was time for dessert. We rarely go out for a meal and skip dessert. This time there were two options, so naturally we chose both and shared them. They were both incredible, but the first one was one of those where you take a bite and just can’t speak for a while, it’s so good. This was the french toast with mango and coconut which came with a mango gelato. The mix of textures and flavours was incredible.
The second was also very tasty. It was clove custard with toasted milk and pineapple ice cream.
Then, of course, the after lunch coffee and a plate of petit fours. The waitress who brought them pointed to the caramel looking one and said she recommends having that one in one bite. Luckily, we followed her advice because it was a very thin outside layer that immediately exploded with tons of orange flavoured liquid inside!
Outside, the sky had grown darker, the leaves were fluttering in the trees and it started to rain. It was time to head home, so we pulled on our coats, checked for our umbrellas and headed outdoors, happy and full. We stopped to admire a wall made of stones around the corner from the restaurant.
And then carried on through the streets of Belgravia, back toward Chelsea. On the way, we stopped to check out a curious gated area with purple bricks tucked away in a corner in a very residential area. It was the offices of a company called Niquesa. Think diamonds, expensive property management, etc.
It had stopped raining by the time we reached Sloane Square so we stopped once again to admire the display outside of Kate Spade for the Chelsea Flower Show, Chelsea in Bloom, etc. and onward toward home.
Thanks again TRULY, for a wonderful early wedding present and a luxurious Saturday afternoon. If only we could do this every day (or any of the many other amazing looking experiences on their website!)
This post is brought to you through collaboration between Little Observationist and TRULY. Even though the food portion of our lunch was free, I’d definitely recommend both TRULY and Ametsa! If you do purchase an experience from TRULY, use the referral code TR393121227 for £50 off anything over £150. Thanks for supporting the sponsors who make this blog possible.