Darcy Fitzwilliam Tells You Where to Have a Romantic Meal in London
Darcy Fitzwilliam, chef extraordinaire and newly minted gelato entrepreneur is the heroine of my forthcoming cozy mystery novel, set in a small village in Hampshire, England. It features love, murder, and a television cooking competition.
FULL DISCLOSURE: WHILE THE RESTAURANT IS REAL, THE REVIEW IS NOT. I WOULD LOVE TO EAT THERE, BUT I HAVEN'T HAD THE OPPORTUNITY.
Imaginary Yelp Review: Clos Maggiore in London
Possibly the most romantic restaurant in London, Clos Maggiore is located in Covent Garden. You walk through the doors into a country inn in Provence or Tuscany. We were seated in the conservatory, which has a retractable glass roof and is adorned with masses of amazingly realistic cherry blossom. Being there in the winter, the roof was closed but the space was filled with candles, starlights, and warmly inviting fireplace. The quiet murmur of diners and no loud music meant that two of my pet peeves were averted. Nothing is worse than dining and not being able to have a conversation because the place is so loud.
While the ambiance seduces you, it’s the food that makes reservations so prized. If you have a special occasion, be prepared to reserve at least three months in advance for one of their coveted tables. The experience is well worth the wait, with impeccable service, and enormous wine list, and seasonal menus that will impress the most demanding diner. When my boyfriend told me he had managed to get a reservation, I assumed that since we are both trained chefs, this was a sort of busman’s holiday. He had chosen the tasting menu, five courses with the premium wine pairings. We began with a seafood soup of scallops, mussels, shiitake, and finely julienned leek, followed by steak tartare. The mains were a Cornish bass with beurre blanc and English Rack of Lamb, perfectly pink, with asparagus. Pudding was the house speciality, a cherry blossom parfait garnished with pistachio. And we finished with the optional cheese plate, five artisinal selections from British and European producers, served with a variety of biscuits. Liqueurs and coffee with petit fours gave a little fillip to end of the meal.
My only disappointment was that there was no game on the menu. All of the food is sourced from British producers and the game, when available, comes from Windsor Royal Park. Who wouldn’t want to feast like a queen? I’ve been promised at least one return visit.
The biggest surprise came at the end, when our server brought a box of Clos Maggiore’s handmade chocolates in a special presentation box. My boyfriend insisted on opening the box, and when he got down on one knee, presented the box for me to choose a chocolate, and I found the engagement ring nestled inside, I knew why this is the most romantic restaurant in London.