Daniel Humm’s first project outside the US is a stunner, combining precise cooking with classy service
Daniel Humm and Claridge’s go way back. Aged just 15, the Swiss-born chef toiled in the bowels of the London hotel peeling tomatoes, chopping veg for mirepoix and cutting the crusts off cucumber sandwiches to form perfect little triangles. Three decades later the now world-famous Humm – his Eleven Madison Park (EMP) restaurant in New York topped The World’s 50 Best list in 2017 – is back at the hotel offering a truly world-class restaurant experience.
Named after the intersection of the two street’s Claridge’s corners, Davies and Brook retains roughly the same configuration as previous occupant Fera save a more prominent bar and remodelled entrance. Brad Cloepfil, the American designer behind the jaw-dropping 2017 overhaul of EMP, has designed the dining room. The space is understated and contemporary while referencing Claridge’s classic look with glowing walls, Irish cast crystal colonnades, banquettes shod in velvet and leather in warm silver and terracotta tones and dramatic lighting. To the rear of the space is an equally luxurious-looking kitchen that has a near identical layout to that of EMP.
The cooking – which is regularly overseen by Humm himself – is incredibly precise with example dishes including white asparagus with celtuce, broken rice porridge, apple and ginger; roasted black cod with turnip, savoy cabbage and miso; and the restaurant’s signature dish of dry-aged duck flavoured with honey, lavender and spices. The service in the dining room is expertly choreographed but has a welcome lightness of touch.
The experience is surprisingly flexible and accessible given Humm’s status as a culinary heavyweight and Claridge’s unabashed luxury with a £145, seven-course tasting menu offered alongside a speedier four course a la carte option for £110. Hardly cheap, but sending a clear signal that the place is not solely for special occasions, a big difference to its older Manhattan sibling, which is tasting menu-only.