Flavours of the USAPosted on: 11 February 2019 by Michael Edwards
What was JFK drinking during the Cuban Missile Crisis? Michael Edwards dines his way to the answer at POTUS Restaurant, at the Crowne Plaza London - Albert Embankment.
For Americans working at their new nearby embassy in Nine Elms, the chic and elegant POTUS Restaurant serves up the welcome flavours of home: big New World tastes with the subtlety of Old World refinement.
And the name? POTUS pays homage to all 45 Presidents of the USA and the cuisine of their homeland. As the menu says, the POTUS abbreviation was coined back in 1890 by a telegraph operator with weary fingers.
But first a drink. The cocktail menu was inspired by the fascinating book, “Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: A Complete History of Presidential Drinking.” So, JF Kennedy may well have found that his favourite of a Bloody Mary took the edge of the Cuba Crisis. FLOTUS, Nancy Reagan’s First Lady favourite tipple of vodka, orange blossom and vermouth is another favourite.
Black-and-white photos of Clinton on saxophone, Obama on vocals, plus Nixon and Truman on piano help create a sophisticated Washington style ambience in the POTUS Bar. Sink into a sofa and browse a menu that sweeps the continent from Pacific Coast Octopus Salad to New England Chowder. No need to worry about food miles. It’s American concepts with largely local sourcing.
It is a menu that tells the story of America’s enthusiastic assimilation of immigrants’ foods. Italian flair created San Francisco Cioppiano - a rich broth of lobster, sea bream and scallops. Take a road trip east for French influences, by the Gulf of Mexico, on Cajun Chicken.
Yet stampeding across the prairie is the star of this American Dream of a Menu: the Cowboy Steak, 30 ounces of prime beef served with chimichurri and country potatoes. It is the ultimate succulent tribute to the John Wayne heroes who made sure that The West Was Won. Fortunately, other smaller steaks are available.
POTUS opened in October 2018 and with superlative service, every guest feels like a President or First Lady, has bedded in nicely. The waiter’s wine recommendations were spot on.
A wall of living fire brings colour to the dark grey and taupe decor with more black and white photographs of Presidential scenes. Although there is a picture of a very serious FD Roosevelt with Churchill and Stalin discussing the fate of the post-war world, there’s a casual ethos to dining at POTUS.
Heading for dessert, Down Mexican Way brings a touch of spice to chocolate tart and hazelnut. Staying in the Deep South, Banana Foster is a New Orleans classic whose banana slices infuse a light sponge topped with crumble and accompanied by coconut ice-cream. Back up north, on the east coast, the New York Cheesecake dreamily teams-up with eggnog ice-Cream.
The Crowne Plaza London - Albert Embankment is in pole position for a London short-break. It’s just a stroll along the river to the London Eye and Tate Modern and a mere five minute walk to Tube stations.
Once you feel that you’ve done your best to cement the Special Relationship with the USA take the exterior lift up to top floor Mezemiso. It’s a skyline restaurant with an artist’s vision of the Thames meandering through the flooring. An open kitchen enables you to watch chefs working on the Lebanonese and Japanese menus. Even in winter take the steps down to the open-air, but covered, shisha terrace with yet more stunning Thames views. Numerous patio heaters and under-table heating will keep you warm.
The Crowne Plaza London’s rooms are fashionably state of the art. With fingertip climate control, a huge TV and a NASA style panel controlling the high-tech toilet / bidet, there’s probably more computing power in your room than on an Apollo moonshot. Moreover, with rooms looking down on the Thames, this has to be one of the quietest places to stay in London.
And what if Barack Obama and Donald Trump dropped into POTUS for a drink? Though they are unlikely drinking buddies. Obama would probably order a cold beer whilst teetotal Trump would just have a Diet Coke.
Take a look at the Crowne Plaza Albert Embankment and POTUS
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