You could argue that St James’s is late to the restaurant revolution in London – and perhaps all the better for it.
But newcomer 45 Jermyn St on the ground floor at the back of Fortnum and Mason (at 45 Jermyn Street) is a welcome addition to the area, beautifully bridging the gap between classic and contemporary.
Head straight to the bar for a very well made aperitif – it allows you to take in the bright room and do some people watching before you’re cosseted into your comfortable booth.
Backing onto the BAFTA members’ club on Piccadilly, the restaurant was full of that very specific British celebrity that you feel might be an uncle or an aunt rather than a multi award wining actor or playwright. Impressive, but understated.
The menu didn’t jump out and grab us, but perhaps that’s continuing on the understated theme. Portions are generous and dishes classically and often table-side presented.
We enjoyed a hearty dressed crab to start with delicious, flavoursome meat; the same can also be said for the steak tartare.
For mains it was tricky to pick again, and the Dover Sole à la Meunière won me over – beautifully prepared table-side by a charming waiter, the old school charm impossible not to fall for.
A steak was top notch – beautifully cooked, flavoursome and elegant with a watercress salad on the side.
Perhaps we were wrong not to go for the now famous dessert floats, but those generous portions made us a little shy. So the Soufflé with two spoons and a couple of glasses of dessert wine ended an enjoyable meal.
45 Jermyn St is ideal if you’re looking for that buzz, grandeur and glamour that only St James’s or Mayfair can provide. The bar, in particular, is a great spot. Just be a better guest than me and try and save room for those floats.