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Restaurant in St James' area, London


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I'd be grateful for a restaurant recommendation, please, somewhere within an easy walk of the St James's/Mayfair area in London. I'm asking on behalf of someone else who had Mirabelle in mind for a celebratory lunch. I have lost track of how Mirabelle is doing these days. Does anyone have any recent experience or any alternatives to suggest?

Thanks.

Rachel

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I suggest "Le Gavroche", one place where I have never been disappointed. Great classic French dishes, elegant clubby atmosphere, one of the best (if not the best) front of house crews in the country, tremendous wine list.

If you fancy something more adventurous, more modern in style, try lots of little dishes at "Maze".

"The Square" has always been good but is let down by a lack of atmosphere in my opinion. It feels a little bit unpersonal, a little bit sterile for my likings.

Should you want to go for a very good Indian, try either Tamarind or Benares.

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Agree with the above - also Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, L'oranger, Wolseley, etc. I have to be honest I think the Mirabelle is very over rated. It is right over the road from my office so I end up there more than I would like to for a last minute meal near the office with clients. To me it should not have a michelin star as the menu never changes (although there is a menu du jour which is reasonable value and changes daily I believe), food quality is not consistent and service can be rather slow and stuffy.

Don't get me wrong, it is not a bad place, and the room is lovely in a very art-deco way, but for the price you could do much better elsewhere unless you stick to the set lunch du jour menu. Certainly not a place to go to for the glitz and glam gastronomic meal of the visit!

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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also Gordon Ramsay at Claridges,

Seconded. Had the full prestige menu there the other day, which was damn near faultless. The place seems to be firing an all cylinders at the moment. Great value at lunch too.

Mirabelle, meanwhile, appears to have replaced the pre-Galvinized Windows as the favoured place for heavy-set gentlemen to take their Eastern European nieces out to dinner.

Edited by naebody (log)
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Just had a very pleasant meal at the Greenhouse, and would definitely recommend it for lunch. Not the best meal that I have ever had there but some seriously competent cooking, and the set lunch looks to be very good value (although I must admit we went ALC).

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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You could always go upmarket Indian at Tamarind. In St James I have always enjoyed the Italian restaurant Franco's but I may have been lucky as some people have griped. But then an Italian restaurant no matter how 'posh' is never really 'fine dining' but more like 'fun dining' and has to be approached in that spirit.

S

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  • 4 weeks later...
You could always go upmarket Indian at Tamarind. In St James I have always enjoyed the Italian restaurant Franco's but I may have been lucky as some people have griped. But then an Italian restaurant no matter how 'posh' is never really 'fine dining' but more like 'fun dining' and has to be approached in that spirit.

S

uhu sunbeam, you really risk to get me going :sad: I could not disagree more, though I admit that on average Italian restaurants here (in the UK I mean) lack that bit more adventurousness that one can find in italian restaurants in Italy: it seems to me that expecially restaurant critics tend to have an idea of Italian food which is definitely not up to date, but has the unfortunate effect of conditionaing chefs... enough of my personal gripe!

But as for good food, in the St. James area I can suggest two places to eat well (and no, I would not recommend Franco's either), Semplice and a little further east Latium. I find Via Condotti also reasonable.

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You could always go upmarket Indian at Tamarind. In St James I have always enjoyed the Italian restaurant Franco's but I may have been lucky as some people have griped. But then an Italian restaurant no matter how 'posh' is never really 'fine dining' but more like 'fun dining' and has to be approached in that spirit.

S

uhu sunbeam, you really risk to get me going :sad: I could not disagree more, though I admit that on average Italian restaurants here (in the UK I mean) lack that bit more adventurousness that one can find in italian restaurants in Italy: it seems to me that expecially restaurant critics tend to have an idea of Italian food which is definitely not up to date, but has the unfortunate effect of conditionaing chefs... enough of my personal gripe!

But as for good food, in the St. James area I can suggest two places to eat well (and no, I would not recommend Franco's either), Semplice and a little further east Latium. I find Via Condotti also reasonable.

Oh I didn't mean to include Italian restaurants in Italy in my generalisation, sorry. Quite different, of course.

I like Latium very much, but still find little to fault with Franco's given the specified area, with its consequent high rates and demographic clientele's preferences.

S

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Had a dinner recently at L'Oranger - first time back for many months. Rather disappointing - over fussy dishes, and not quite as well cooked as they should have been for the money they're charging. My sole was on the verge of being dry, although a fellow diner's rack of lamb, to be fair, was as flavoursome and well cooked as any I've had recently. But it's still one of London's more lovely dining spaces, especially if the weather's kind enough to allow dining in the courtyard.

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Oh I didn't mean to include Italian restaurants in Italy in my generalisation, sorry. Quite different, of course.

I like Latium very much, but still find little to fault with Franco's given the specified area, with its consequent high rates and demographic clientele's preferences.

S

Hi sunbeam, hope i did not sound too aggressive, but you see I have a problem with the Italian restaurants in the UK, above all with their perceptions: it is mostly the fault of countless anonymous places, so that as you mentioned above it seems almost impossible to have "fine dining" and "Italian" go together. But even here in London it can be done, thankfully it is done in some places, but still I have the feeling that many restaurant critics do have a problem with chefs venturing beyond carbonara (ok, I am exaggerating a bit here), and are all to happy for them to stick to grilled sausage as "authentic" italian fare (which, frankly, it ain't).

You see, I have been living in London for about 15 years, and being not too bad in the kitchen myself, I always refused point blank to go to Italian restaurants: "why pay such ridiculous amounts when I can do as well at home?" was my thinking. Then I was dragged to Latium, and it all changed: the flair, the lightness of touch, the creativeness. To give you an idea, he served us a buffalo ricotta mousse with candied artichokes: sublime! well, I am so glad you like Latium, too, I am so utterly fond of what the chef can do and how the all operation works.

ok, I guess enough of advertising, too :smile:

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Oh I didn't mean to include Italian restaurants in Italy in my generalisation, sorry. Quite different, of course.

I like Latium very much, but still find little to fault with Franco's given the specified area, with its consequent high rates and demographic clientele's preferences.

S

Hi sunbeam, hope i did not sound too aggressive, but you see I have a problem with the Italian restaurants in the UK, above all with their perceptions: it is mostly the fault of countless anonymous places, so that as you mentioned above it seems almost impossible to have "fine dining" and "Italian" go together. But even here in London it can be done, thankfully it is done in some places, but still I have the feeling that many restaurant critics do have a problem with chefs venturing beyond carbonara (ok, I am exaggerating a bit here), and are all to happy for them to stick to grilled sausage as "authentic" italian fare (which, frankly, it ain't).

You see, I have been living in London for about 15 years, and being not too bad in the kitchen myself, I always refused point blank to go to Italian restaurants: "why pay such ridiculous amounts when I can do as well at home?" was my thinking. Then I was dragged to Latium, and it all changed: the flair, the lightness of touch, the creativeness. To give you an idea, he served us a buffalo ricotta mousse with candied artichokes: sublime! well, I am so glad you like Latium, too, I am so utterly fond of what the chef can do and how the all operation works.

ok, I guess enough of advertising, too :smile:

Fish ravioli. mmmmmmmmmm

s

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Latium is a long term favourite, not least because it is so consistent, and untroubled by fads. Last meal I had there finished with a special dessert of chocolate raviolis stuffed with lightly sweetened, lemon infused ricotta, and served in a just warm bitter orange flavoured sauce. Wonderful!

Edited by SpikeyD (log)
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Latium is a long term favourite, not least because it is so consistent, and untroubled by fads. Last meal I had there finished with a special dessert of chocolate raviolis stuffed with lightly sweetened, lemon infused ricotta, and served in a just warm bitter orange flavoured sauce. Wonderful!

ehm... you mean these? :wink:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a very, very impressive meal at The Square a few weeks ago.

Among the highlights were:

A set of very amusing amuses. beetroot ravioli lollipop, foie gras parfait in a mini ice cream cone...

Fabulous sweetbreads sauteed with girolles... The humongous sweetbreads were THIIIIIS big...

Pre-dessert of a super-fresh beignet with raspberry and yogurt - the beignet's insides so soft they were almost custardy...

"Sauce separates you from the money. Make a good sauce, you make the money."

-- James Willis

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