The term ‘celebrity chef’ is one of the great irritations of modern life, like the congestion charge and Louis Walsh. Many who aspire to the title are no more ‘celebrities’ than the cast of Made in Chelsea; like them they just happen to be on TV, and some others are not ‘chefs’, they’re just cooks who have never faced the wrath of the Michelin men.
Wolfgang Puck, however, is both a celebrity and a chef. His Spago in Beverley Hills has two Michelin stars and he has appeared in both The Smurfs movie (as, of course, Chef Smurf) and The Simpsons (as himself). He also got a namecheck in Die Hard (from evil baddie Richard Thornburg who reassures a phone-caller: “Of course we can get a table. I know Wolfgang personally”). It’s clear that a bona fide Hollywood star has arrived in this town.
But is his food any good? Well, I have never eaten a better steak. And steaks are what Cut is about. Self-described as a ‘modern American steak restaurant’ they also do some spectacular things with lobsters. Highlights include Wagyu short ribs with Indian spices, slow-cooked for eight hours – spectacular and addictive. The sautéed scallops, with Yuzu Kosho butter, and the lobster with black truffle emulsion are both probably the best use of either main ingredient I have ever tasted.
The decor at 45 Park Lane (the micro-hotel from The Dorchester) is breathtaking, a rich wo/man’s pleasure dome of Damien Hirst adorned walls and modern deco vistas. The bar is perfect for a discreet power meet and the restaurant plays Led Zeppelin, very quietly.
Some celebrity restaurant critics have complained about the prices. I won’t bore you but it’s probably best to budget for £100 per head if you want to enjoy yourself. But then: A) What did you expect? It’s Wolfgang Puck, on Park Lane, dummy. B) I suppose restaurant critics have to find something to complain about even when faced with one of London’s top five restaurants. And C) ‘Celebrity restaurant critic’? Don’t get me started…what kind of a job is that for a grown man?
Cut, 45 Park Lane, W1K 1PN; 45parklane.com