What’s in a name? La Belle Époque.
Origin of the beautiful French name…
In the words of the Restaurant Manager “La Belle Époque was Named in retrospect and translated as the “Beautiful Era”, our inspiration for this restaurant emerged from the period in European social history during the late 19th century that lasted until World War 1. It became recognised as the “golden age” – a time when new technologies and medical discoveries were found and when politics, art and literature underwent radical transformation. In Paris, restaurants achieved a new splendour and cachet for one to parade and where fashion began to move in seasonal cycles.
In the culinary sense this period is enormously relevant to our philosophy of progression, optimism and very modern.
We would like to think this beautiful era is strongly characterised by our cooking which is rarely serious yet rooted in classical French cuisine and have extended our repertoire to embrace some exciting ‘outward looking’ far eastern variations. Not only are we using some fantastic locally sourced produce, but are also featuring some carefully yet deliberately chosen ingredients from the Pacific Rim which we think make for some amazing texture and flavour combinations.
Champagne was perfected during this beautiful era which we would be churlish not to celebrate and we hope our carefully chosen list will compensate you for your all too brief time with us”(Mr. Mayur Nagarale – Head Chef, La Belle Époque)
Fine Dining in Heathrow
Heathrow Airport is not exactly synonymous with great cuisine, given the images that come to mind of long queues, immigration, security, the hustle and chaos of crowds … but La Belle Époque is a magnificent answer to the art of fine dining at the Airport.
Effectively changing the face of ordinary Airport restaurants that cater to quick, basic food alternatives for the average traveller, La Belle Époque takes it to the next level of World Class Fine dining.
Officially the only 3 AA Rosette awarded restaurant (pretty much the equivalent of a Michelin star in AA Guide terms) in the surrounding Heathrow area and suitably located in the Magnificent Sofitel London Heathrow. La Belle Époque offers the finest dining option in Heathrow.
The Restaurant – La Belle Époque
The restaurant is nested elegantly on the ground floor of Sofitel London Heathrow (Terminal 5) with exceptionally stunning décor, high celings and modern beautiful lighting. The aesthetic pleasure of it couldn’t be further removed from the hustle and bustle of the world’s busiest airport.
La Belle Époque has 2 private dining options:
With a Chef’s Table that can accommodate up to 10 guests with a great view of the kitchen where one can watch the brilliant chefs work their culinary artistry.
My Dining Experience
I’ll have the Menu Degustation thank you ( £64.00 per person)
I arrived at about 7pm after manouvering my way through the busy airport. Thankfully Sofitel Heathrow is conveniently located in Terminal 5 and was therefore very accessible. Once you walk through the hotel you are immediately transported to a world away from the busy airport vibe. The restaurant itself is richly and tastefully decorated with great textures and comfortable well lit booths. The staff are ever so charming and immediately led my friend and I to our reserved table.
As it was my birthday week, we settled for the tasting menu.
A tasting menu with 7 special dishes (with optional wine pairing).
Did I mention it was my birthday week? this simple fact made the optional wine a definite (I do not take celebration of another year lightly) the restaurant ambience does not disappoint and is worthy of any special celebration.
One of the shortfalls of many restaurants (in the name of innovation and culinary artistry) is the ability to over promise and yet under deliver. This was definitely not the case with the Menu Degustation . Every item on the menu (which is a well- balanced fusion of French cuisine with an excellent Asian culinary spin) was carefully and expertly selected to compliment each other. The World class wine list goes down a ‘luxurious’ treat and the result is an exquisite mouthwatering, delightful and indulgent experience for any fine dining connoisseur.
The 7 Courses Tasting Menu with optional wine pairing
• Foiegras torchon, preserved cherries, aniseed ash cracker and macadamia nut
Marsanne/Viognier, Rare Vineyards, Languedoc, France 2016(100ml)
• Confit of Norwegian sea trout, horseradish, cucumber and dill
Sauvignon Blanc, Vidal, Marlborough, New Zealand 2017(100ml)
• Pan fried fillet of Atlantic halibut, summer vegetables, lemon grass miso and bulgur wheatCôteaux de Provence, Château de Beaulieu, Provence, France 2016 (100ml)
• Roasted red leg Partridge, confit hens egg, pear and Autumn Truffle
Fleurie, Château de Fleurie, Beaujolais, France 2015 (100ml)
• Roasted tenderloin of pork, confit belly with chorizo, girolle and heritage carrots
Rioja, Bodegas Coral, Don Jacobo ‘Crianza’, Spain 2012 (100ml)
• Dark chocolate mousse, spiced blueberry, elderflower and fennel
• Pineapple roasted with pink peppercorn, coconut and kaffir lime sorbet, coconut marshmallow
Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, Saint-Albert, Plaimont, South West, France 2013 (100ml)
DC BEST RESTAURANT GUIDE Score = 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
As Fine dining restaurants go, La Belle Epoque has managed to set the standard as the Best in Heathrow without compromising on the fine food, excellent ambience and exceptional service. The Presentation of every elaborate dish was stunning with an exquisite artistic finish, the dishes were tasty and cooked to perfection. The Prices though not average are definitely value for money and the staff are attentive, effective and generous with their time. It is therefore no wonder that La Belle Epoque is deservedly the only 3 AA Rosette awarded restaurant in the Heathrow area. I would gladly recommend La Belle epoque as the perfect way to start your vacation/trip before you fly out of Heathrow or the 1st place (as you land into Heathrow) to introduce you to how amazing London and its fine dining experiences can be. A must visit when in Heathrow.