We dine at Alex Dilling at Cafe Royal the day after Michelin has bestowed them with two stars just five and a half months after opening. To anyone who pays attention to this level of cooking it was not a surprise; Alex Dilling has pedigree. Senior positions within the Ducasse empire, followed by a move to the now three star Helen Darroze at The Connaught. He moved to The Greenhouse and an entire industry felt like it was watching the then two star restaurant, with one chef friend telling me that his team had spent two days figuring out how he cooked the hunters chicken. The Greenhouse closed, and Dilling spent his lockdown opening a restaurant in Malta, and teaching morons like me how to make scrambled egg. That video is well worth checking out if you can find it. Cold butter is the key. That along with caviar and veal Demi-glace.

The new restaurant has all of the feeling of an expensive place to eat in an expensive hotel. Some will hate the pomp and ceremony for every course. I loved it. From the fancy-as-fuck wine decanters to the giant tables where the best ways of communicating involve two yogurt cartons and a piece of string. How the opening move involves filling the table with so many little dishes it’s like the conveyer belt at Yo Sushi has broken down and turned into a free-for-all. The most perfect one bite of cured sea bream, prawn and sea urchin; the two semi circular discs coming together to offer the funk and freshness of the ocean. A bisque of bouillabaisse, light and saffron-dyed to the colour of the sun beaming over Marseille harbour. A disc of pissaladierre with onions and anchovy, and a wafer sandwich of the most intense duck rillette. Then the breadbasket with options of sourdough, baguette, and the most astonishing brioche filled with caramelised onions, served with a butter of curved edges and bearing his initials.

By the time we hit the first courses it’s clear that the kitchen is as good as any in this country, at any level. There is leek with the core removed and stuffed with a mousseline of brown crab, with plentiful amounts of buttery white crab kissed with a little citrus, and a potato and leek soup to suggest that this might be Vichyssoise; the soup born from the Ritz in New York. It’s bettered, as if that there were possible, by the Patè de Campagne; three precise cubes of Iberico ham, black pudding, and foie, either side with a slither of a heady mushroom jelly. Two things make this one of the very best things I have ever eaten: firstly, the subtle use of long pepper to bring a fragrant heat, and crucially, the black truffle croissant it arrives at the table with to tear and pile the patè onto. Give me this as my last meal.

Or maybe give me the hunters chicken, a dish I’ve waited four years to eat. Chicken breast wrapped in a layer of mushrooms, itself wrapped in a mousseline of chicken and Alsace bacon, glazed in chicken jus and caramelised across the contours. It’s worth the wait. It comes with pomme purée that’s the silkiest, most buttery mash in the history of spuds, and a bowl of asparagus from France, spears, purées and slithers; mostly green with the accent of the Comte cheese underneath. Completing it is a an Albufera sauce which I gather is a mixture of chicken juices and Madeira. Chicken, mash, and asparagus is humble enough to grace most homes, yet, like the patè and Vichyssoise, he makes the ordinary look extraordinary.

Dessert is a layered rhubarb tart with pistachio and champagne that would require a spirit level to assemble. It has pastry so short it’s grown up with a complex, pin-point acidity, and more levels than Candy Crush. It comes with a cream cheese ice cream with the slightest suggestion of pricey vanilla. Petit fours range from a flan that I dropped on a train floor, to a chocolate tart that I dropped on a train floor. It’s what happens when you fall to sleep on the train back with your box of petit fours teetering on the edge of your knees.

Alex Dilling at Cafe Royal isn’t cheap, nor should it be. It’s become apparent over the last year how much the price of eating out has risen, which is understandable given the hike in energy costs, the tariffs on imported goods, and the general whiff of Tory which appears to have stained the life of every diner, everywhere apart from the restaurant within the House of Commons. Some are harder to swallow than others, and I have no issue saying that maybe I’ve grown weary of spending £15 on a crap kebab in a car park, or twenty-quid on an average Sunday roast. It’s different here. They have almost as many staff as diners, and these are dishes that are labour intensive using only the most premium of ingredients. What comes out is almost perfection; the rarity that food this intricate tastes so good. Alex Dilling will be the UK’s next three star restaurant.