Award: One Michelin star
Chef: William Elliot – Head chef at the Westminster hotel since 1994. Born near Le Touquet (in Cucq) in 1964, (with Canadian ancestry, hence the English name) he used to lend a hand at his uncle’s restaurant, the ‘Guillaume Tell’ in Mulhouse, during the holidays.
He became an apprentice at his uncle’s restaurant before working in Paris (from 1985 to 1988) at restaurants Le Dôme and L’Ambroisie with Bernard Pacaud. He then moved to the Royal in Deauville where he stayed until 1991 before arriving at the Westminster where he became head chef in 1994, age 26.
He became a Michelin-starred chef in the 2007 guide and won the Guide Champérard ‘2009 Chef of the Year’ trophy for the Nord-Pas de Calais region.
Visit: 11 August 2017, dinner for two.
The hotel Westminster, in Le Touquet on the Opal Coast of northern France, affectionately known as Le West, is a huge Art Deco building with 115 room and suites. Some of the rooms look out over a lighthouse, which can keep you awake at night when it periodically illuminates your room.
Unfortunately, the 1920s style has faded, and the hotel is pretty tired now, and in need of a refurb. It has an impressive open cage double elevator, and there is an indoor pool and spa. It was difficult to find staff to serve you in the bar, even when it was so busy there were no seats available. We have visited twice, and I would recommend paying the extra to upgrade to a suite, which look newly refurbished. The superior rooms were disappointing, with plumbing from the 1920s. However, it has an excellent Michelin restaurant.
The corridor leading to the restaurant takes you past a great selection of signed photos of Hollywood stars, and royalty who enjoyed the discrete extravagance here. You will see signed pictures of Winston Churchill, Noel Coward, Edith Piaf, Sean Connery (who actually signed his first Bond film contract at the Westminster), Marlene Dietrich and others.
Pavillon Restaurant review: The food was excellent, and the service polished. The waiter made sure he was aware of any allergies, and every course was described in detail. The restaurant experience was amazing, and if you like a large tasting menu, then this is for you. I would definitely go back to the restaurant, but spend the money and book a suite in the hotel.
The Hotel and Restaurant:
Vouvray Clos Boudoin 2010 Francois Chidaine
Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 2005 Trimbach
Condrieu 2012 Gangloff
VDF ‘Grolleau 85’ 2015 Chateau de Bois Brincon
Cotes de Provence ‘Prieure’ 2010 Chateau Sainte Roseline
Pessac Leognan 2008 Chateau La Louviere Haut Brion
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise ‘Rougexclusif’ Caves de Beaumes
Vieux Porto Blanc 10 ans Andresen