We nipped into The Beverly Hills Hotel for lunch at the Polo Lounge and what a delightful, happy surprise it was. Although we did not see a single polo player or polo pony, we did see a bevy of buzzing glamorous people enjoying superb cooking. This iconic clubby spot is still the insider’s top watering hole for stars and deal makers, a premier power dining mecca for legends and aspiring legends. And Ladies Who Lunch. Since the 1930s, the Polo Lounge has catered to the powerful who are drawn to its excellent no-nonsense cuisine, samurai-sword-sharp service and a tropical setting fit for Hollywood royalty. We sat on the terrace amongst the bougainvillea, Brazilian pepper and banana trees watching the VIP toffs and swells enjoy themselves.
The menu offered avocado toast ($38) and their famous chopped McCarthy salad, a heavenly bowl of Romaine, grille chicken, organic egg, beets, tomatoes, cheddar, smoked bacon, avocado, topped with a balsamic vinaigrette, ($44) but we opted for two starters: a tasty crab cake with a caper remoulade and summer pickles ($40), lusty tortilla soup made with Jidori chicken, queso fresco, green onion avocado and tortilla strips ($22). Then came perfectly prepared pan-seared sea bass with mixed grains and sauce vierge. From the very deep wine list we ordered glasses of excellent Chablis. A refreshing plate of sorbets ended this happy adventure. There’s something for everyone on the considerate menu: Wagyu burgers, tuna Niçoise, rigatoni Bolognese, grilled shrimps or steaks, steak tartare, fish tacos, club sandwiches, oysters, and, of course, caviar.
The Beverly Hills Hotel, a proud Dorchester Collection hotel, is known for the dusty pink of the buildings and the bungalows; the tufted, circular pink velvet couches in the lobby; and the iconic Jungle Palm wallpaper that is so welcoming. Martinique, the distinctive design, with its large, bright green leaves, was created especially for the “Pink Palace” in 1942 by decorator Don Loper. With its waving banana palm leaves, it is probably one of the most recognizable wallpapers in the world. The Beverly Hills Hotel is owned by the Sultan of Brunei and they’ll treat you like a real sultan here. This is one hotel at which where we feel truly honored to be a guest. Reservations are mandatory; Pepe, who started at the Polo Lounge in 1986l, is the amiable manager.
Ask him to seat you at Table 6, a secluded corner where Marilyn Monroe preferred to sit or one of the prized nine patio booths. Sit back and enjoy a beautiful meal served elegantly while watching Hollywood heavies and string-pullers, superagents and Tinsel Town kingpins do their thing. One more detail: a talented tuxedo-clad pianist tickles the ivories during lunch. Visit www.dorchestercollection.com/en/los-angeles/the-beverly-hills-hotel