Empowering women is a mission close to my heart and the amazing female designers on emma & louise are a true testimony to this. There are of course many areas where women are making their mark and being recognised for their talent and skills. Professional kitchens are one of those areas. The London restaurant scene has been buzzing for many years and female chefs such as Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers of the “River Cafe” paved the way for future stars. Recently, a few new female pioneers have entered centre stage and I have had the pleasure of dining at some their restaurants.
Ella Canta – Martha Oriz
I have to admit that Mexican food is not top of my list of favourite world cuisines. I associate it with heavy and saucy dishes, often dominated by fried beans and guacamole. To be fair, I find it hard to find a good Mexican restaurant in London. I was therefore thrilled and intrigued when I found out that renowned female chef Martha Oriz was taking the London restaurant scene by storm with her new restaurant, Ella Canta. I had to try it.
The location of Ella Canta is very central, right on Park Lane, but I had not realised that it was located on the ground flour of a large international hotel. Once my disappointment had dissipated, I could see the advantages of choosing such a spot. Ella Canta is a spacious restaurant, yet it is cleverly partitioned to minimise the intimidating effect of a large room. The lighting is dimmed and the tables are nicely spaced out so one is not listening in on neighbouring tables’ conversations – a plus in my book. Our table was near the kitchen which added a sense of entertainment and excitement to the evening.
From the start we were impressed by the level of service and attention to detail throughout. Our waiter was very knowledgeable, down to the finer ingredients of each dish, and helpful in guiding us in our choices. Everything on the menu looked appetising which made the task of ordering quite daunting… but this was a small challenge for our waiter who took us under his wing and suggested his favourite dishes. We immediately fell under his spell. From “Velvety and psychedelic cream of roasted tomatoes contrasted with beets” to “Pink mole with stuffed organic chicken and crown of flowers” and “Hibiscus sorbet with fiery Pasilla chile” – these descriptions alone were music to our ears. It is clear that Martha Oriz is a creative, passionate and sensual chef. The perfect marriage of her ingredients, the poetry of her menu and the festival of flavours she offers are simply unparalleled.
The evening was a delight in every aspect. I would return to Ella Canta in a heartbeat, probably with friends from abroad or out-of-towners to dazzle them with what London’s food scene has to offer at its best.