Glass explores Beverly Hills’ thriving food and drinks scene

“THE best way to start eating the Belvedere’s Fabergé egg is to take the back of your spoon and smash  it,” says acclaimed pastry chef Stephanie Boswell, a tattoo of the chemical compound for sugar inked out in blue peeking out below the sleeve of her chef’s whites as she demonstrates. “I enjoy any art you can destroy.” If anything so perfectly illustrates “ladies who lunch” it’s The Peninsula Beverly Hills’ signature Belvedere restaurant. Boasting striking interiors (and a wonderful sun-trap terrace) a Mediterranean-inspired menu (try the spinach and Medjool date salad), exquisite edible art desserts and that enviable 90210 postcode, this is the place to while away an afternoon. Then again, Beverly Hills is full to bursting with places where you can go to see and be seen.

The Belvedere Dessert Tasting Menu

It’s a case of breakfast at Tiffany’s – or near enough: above it – at 208 Rodeo, where the cuisine is decidedly Californian, though there are pan-Asian and French influences. Think hearty dishes such as the 208 Rancheros, a crispy corn tortilla with fried eggs, black bean salsa, Colorado sauce, avocado and queso fresco (fresh cheese) alongside Steak N’ Eggs. There are also lighter dishes and a great “Good Morning” cocktail list, which includes the Pretty Woman (Saint Germain elderflower liquor and champagne) and the Breakfast At Tiffany’s (orange juice, Chambord and champagne). The bistro, which is tucked between the upmarket designer shops of Two Rodeo Drive, is also open for lunch and dinner.

The Peninsula Beverly Hills

Owned and run by the charismatic Austrian-born Norbert Wabnig, The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills  is well known for its selection of charcuterie, wine and more than 500 cheeses (ask Norbert to choose his favourite, and he answers Manchego “a simple Spanish cheese”). The shop on North Beverly Drive is also an incubator for food entrepreneurs and items stocked here are more than likely to develop a cult following. Take, for example, self-taught bread maker Colleen Delee’s loafs, which foodies call for days in advance to acquire – simply pair a slice of her billowy rye boule with slightly salted French-made Échiré butter to get what all the fuss is about.

Chef Curtis Stone

There’s a genuine community feel along this stretch. As we’re leaving, Norbert offers us a baguette and some brie to eat from our handbags at Maude, Curtis Stone’s intimate chef’s table experience, where we’re headed for dinner: “You can tell Curtis that his bread isn’t good enough,” he laughs.  He’s joking, of course. Besides, many of the local eateries will send their kitchen porters to Norbert’s back door if they’ve run out sun-dried tomatoes, soft cheeses or truffles, so there’s a real chance you could be biting into food made with ingredients from this iconic store when dining at any number of Beverly Hills’ top-tier restaurants.

Maude interior

Named after his grandmother, Stone’s “dream, little restaurant” seats only 24 and focuses on a seasonal set menu inspired by the world’s leading wine regions. While Maude’s current menu is influenced by the flavours of California’s renowned Sonoma Valley, when we visit, the dishes are dreamed up with Burgundy in mind.

In the beautifully presented tasting menu, vegetables warmed with goats’ butter are served with the 2015 Samuel Billaud Les Vaillons Premier Cru Chablis (we try to guess the scents of wet limestone, yellow plum and a touch of white peach), the flavours of buttery escargot mingle with that of a glass of nutty 2015 Comte Armand Bourgogne Aligote and by the time we reach the eighth course – roast lamb with potatoes and nettles accompanied by a gamy 2014 Gerard Mugneret Vosne-Romanee – we’re well into a warm glow induced by good food, good wine and good conversation.

The Beverly Wilshire

Another of Beverly Hills’ outstanding dinner options is Cut by Wolfgang Puck. Housed on the ground floor of the Beverly Wilshire, the space is sleek and modern, adorned with artworks by conceptual artist John Baldessari. It’s billed as a classic American steakhouse – albeit a very upscale one – and offers a variety of select beef cuts, but its the 100 per cent Wagyu cuts slowly grilled over American White Oak and mesquite charcoal that are the main attractions here – Puck himself even comes over to our table to recommend them. Another of Cut’s classics is the bone marrow flan and there is a selection of farmers’ market greenery to go with all that red meat – choose from tempura onion rings, creamed spinach, wild field mushrooms and baby Brussels sprouts.

Gallery Ten Pound

For after-dinner drinks, it’s pure indulgence at £10, Montage Beverly Hill’s intimate and exclusive bar, which specialises in Single Malt Whisky from The Macallan Estate in Speyside, Scotland. A note on how extra this spot is: the ice clinking against the Lalique crystal glassware is made from water imported from the Scottish Highlands and laser etched with the £10 logo. “These glasses are $650 a piece,” says head barman Cash Black, placing down our drinks and flashing a Hollywood actor smile, “so please cheers gingerly”.

by Natalie Egling

Fly to Los Angeles via Dublin with Aer Lingus, Ireland’s only four-star airline, and preclear US Immigration before your transatlantic flight thereby avoiding the queues upon arrival in the States.

Visit Love Beverly Hills to plan your trip