Tucked away next to Fortnum & Mason is 45 Jermyn St, a delightful restaurant full of glamour and theatricality. Rosie Paterson paid a visit.
There may be a hundred and one great places to eat in London, but it’s rare that you come across somewhere so fantastic that you begin plotting your return whilst still paying the bill.
45 Jermyn St is one of those rare gems – a welcome oasis from the hoi polloi of Piccadilly, just a few steps away. You will find it on the ground floor of Fortnum and Mason – though it’s a separate entity to the shop, accessed through a revolving, wooden door that reveals an interior which is a pleasing swirl of burnished orange leather banquettes and herringbone parquet.
There’s a gleaming, old-school glamour bar at one end – and the bar isn’t just for show. There is a hefty and original drinks menu, which makes the most of the kitchen’s homemade sodas, but staff are just at ease if you stray away from the list of signature cocktails. A dry, gin martini appeared, deliciously cold and on the right side of potent. The Good Saviour cocktail (gin, elderflower, rose, strawberry, lemon and champagne) also went down rather well.
The current menu has fully embraced Autumn and Winter, and the bounty of new ingredients that the changing seasons bring – think Thai pumpkin and coconut soup and the signature beef Wellington, made with Glenarm 28-day aged beef, carved, flambéed and served tableside on the restaurant’s much-loved trolley.
In fact the trolley might be one of 45’s highlights, appearing whenever someone ordered caviar (served on top of lightly scrambled eggs), the lobster spaghetti for two and baked Alaska, my pudding of choice and a sophisticated, and much, much better take on a long-forgotten school favourite.
I am sure that the trolley isn’t a necessary – all of the above could have been produced in the safe anonymity of the kitchen – but every time it was wheeled out I couldn’t help but smile. And neither could the pair dining at a neighbouring table – an elderly gentleman and his grandson. That’s the thing about 45 Jermyn St; it is inherently fun. From the flambéing to the decadent floats that you won’t be able to resist for pudding.
Fresh yellowfin tuna to start with came generously garnished with spring onion and sesame, and cut like butter. The pork belly main was fantastically fatty and flavoursome, and the aforementioned baked Alaska, in all of its theatrical glory, served with kirsch-soaked cherries.
As if such treats weren’t enough, there’s the ambience of the place itself. The restaurant is bathed in the sort of rosy light that makes you feel ten times better-looking than you are in reality. The best excuse to never leave – and, of course, to quickly plan your return when you do.
The three-course menu at 45 costs £35, including a cocktail. Individual main courses start at £20, starters and desserts at £7.50. 45 Jermyn St, St James’s, London SW1Y – book via 020-7205 4545 or at www.45jermynst.com.
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