[London] Vivre - at the Sofitel, Heathrow

We hadn’t planned to eat at the hotel where we were staying before a flight next morning. Oh no, the plan was dinner at the Carluccio’s on the airport concourse – the only other option at Terminal 5 before you go through security. But we stalked out of there in a huff when the number of items “off” the menu got beyond a joke.

So, back the hotel and soup to start on one side of the table. A well made pea, mint and ham one. Tasted of fresh peas which is pretty much what you want from a pea soup. Chicken liver parfait on the other plate. A rich pate with a little croute of toasted broche, topped with gooseberry chutney and a couple of plate-decorating cubes of a wine jelly. All surprisingly nice for an airport hotel restaurant.

Gnocchi wasn’t the wildest success of a main course. The gnocchi themselves were pleasant enough, although they’d have benefitted from more of the sundried tomato paste, in their middles, that was only just about in evidence. They sat in a thin cream sauce that, frankly, didn’t add too much to the experience. Also swimming around in the sauce, some chunks of tomato and a couple of pieces of broccoli and asparagus.

Rack of lamb was much better. Perfectly pink and with a crumb of Moroccan spices, the three chops sat well with couscous, a cheffy smear of aubergine puree and a dollop of wilted spinach.

We didn’t bother with dessert but the espresso was good.

It’s worth pointing out that they operate an entirely disreputable practice with the billing. As you might expect, a discretionary 12.5% service is added. But then the bill has a gratuity line underneath the total. I bet it catches out a goodly number number of American customers who are used to paying a “gratuity”, but not twice!

John - did you consider any of the “posh indians” that have sprung up in a couple of the airport hotels…? Andy Hayler seemed to like them and they maybe a decent option if you need to stay at the airport again.


The plan had just been a quickish bite at Carluccio’s which would have been fine. FWIW, the Sofitel buffet breakfast offered a number of South Asian dishes but I confess that would was too challenging for me that early in the morning.

Wimp - a nice masala dosa is the perfect start to the day…although may not be to sociable if flying later that day.

1 Like