Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
StewieMac

Help - dinner near St James

Recommended Posts

Parents across for a couple of days next week, and taking us out for dinner Wednesday. They're staying in St James and had booked a table at Quaglino's, as Dad had walked past a couple of times and thought it looked small and intimate (!) and it's got two red forks in his Michelin, which apparently means that it's 'particularly welcoming'. I swiftly disabused him of its diminutive size and intimacy, to which he suggested that I book something instead.

First thought was L'Oranger, but haven't been for years and concerned that it might get a bit pricey. Second thought was Le Caprice but also haven't been for years and concerned that it's not particularly welcoming (for non-regulars).

Having been lurking for a long time, I know what an opinionated bunch you all are (although less so without Simon M's input), so can anyone either comment on the two choices noted, ideally based on recent experience, or suggest something else.

Would really like to keep it to £300-400 for dinner, with a modest attack at the wine list.

ta


Edited by StewieMac (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about Luciano? It's one of the restaurants under the MPW banner. Had dinner there about a month ago - good, clean flavours, simple Italian food although I found the service to be pretty arsey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they'd be interested in someplace uniquely British with food to a very respectable standard, Wilton's in Jermyn Street is worth considering. Mary and I have been there for Sunday lunch within the year and the service was surprisingly "homey".


John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nothing "pretty" about Luciano, although agree about the "arsey" (and some).


Edited by algy (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't know where your folks are from but you could consider the Stafford Hotel. It has a nice bar - you could always pop in there for a drink first and check out the restaurant. They have an intriquing museum of WW2 artefacts in the cellars so if you ask them nicely they will usually show you around if they haven't got a private function down there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wolesey is everything Quags should be

The recently much beloved arbutus is a ten minute walk from st james up shaftesbury ave

ta

J

Helen and I have done Wolesy twice and back Jon 100%

Cheers,

Stephen Bonner

Vancouver


"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a couple of good experiences at Fiore in St James Street. It's what was the original Petrus so its still that long, narrow room but the Italian food really is very good and the service is very switched on. It would meet you budgetary demands as well.

I'm interested by your comments about Le Caprice. I've never been but have been to the Ivy (both part of the same group of course) a couple of times and had perfet service both times and never felt second best in the celeb packed dining room. Do they do things differently at Caprice?


Edited by Andy Lynes (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm interested by your comments about Le Caprice. I've never been but have been to the Ivy (both part of the same group of course) a couple of times and had perfet service both times and never felt second best in the celeb packed dining room. Do they do things differently at Caprice?

I went to Le Caprice (over a year ago now though) and found the service perfect with no distinction between celeb and non celeb - Bill Clinton and family even turned up and it still didn't miss a beat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks for all the comments.

Sorry, it was a crap brief to begin with, as I should have mentioned that:

a) parents are from the UK but will be 'across' from France, so not really over-interested in showing them 'trad' English stuff, and

b) they will be lunching at their club on Wednesday, so think that Wilton's might be a bit similar for the evening (nice thought for the future though).

My comments on Le Caprice were not meant to be comdemnation of the service, just that in the past I found it very 'buzzy', all hard surfaces in black and white, so not quite as intimate as I wanted. However, on reflection we're going to try either the Ivy or there, as they are spot on in terms of food/price/formality. If we can't get in either then we'll try the Wolesey.

And will post back with the experience.

:smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, he wants small and intimate in St James's, values friendly service, and has a trad French leaning (as evidenced by using Michelin as his guide)? Meanwhile, you want proficient food that comes at a price that won't create communal alarm?

May I suggest playing safe with Boudin Blanc?

Edit: ah - didn't see your last message that they're over from France. That means scrubbing the Boudin recommendation: while it's fine by London standards, they'll be appalled.

As for simple Italian food without the addition of arsey service, there's nothing much wrong with the unpromisingly named Franko's. For somewhere uniquely London, Inn The Park is okay (although like all Oliver Peyton-owned restaurants the level of service can be dreadful, for explicable reasons.)

Caprice is still a bugger to book, but once you're through the door the front-of-house remains as egalitarian as ever. You get the same treatment whether you come down the road from the Ritz or down the stairs from the brothel that shares its building. I've never been knocked out by the food though, which seems to hedge towards the kind of blandness favoured by business lunchers and slebs.


Edited by naebody (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If The Ivy is on the cards, I've always found Rules on Maiden Lane an easier place to dine. The Wolesey is very nice, but the pace of the room is quite brisk.

If you want to try somewhere really, uh... special?.... perhaps this quiet little palce on Jermyn Street. :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update - couldn't get into Le Caprice or The Ivy, so ended up in the upstairs grill room at Bentley's. Couldn't find anything about it here but it had various good reviews when it opened (although several mentioned hit-and-miss service).

Upstairs is split into two dining rooms, around 30 covers in each side - quite formal, with starched tableclothes and napkins and waiters in aprons.

We'd already had a bottle of fizz elsewhere so no apertifs - three types of bread offered, two of which were dreadful semi-stale baguette. Fortunately the third was the home made Irish soda bread which was excellent (more was requested and delivered to mop up juices from the starters).

Starters chosen were baby squid stuffed with chorizo and feta, sauted and then served in a cooking juices sauce with lots of parsley (my choice and really excellent - I was the soda bread requester), duck-egg omelette with cured salmon (I got a teeny taste and it was very nice, rich but light at the same time - plate wiped clean) and a carpaccio of smoked haddock, which was a let down. We decided that it was probably an ill-conceived dish in the first place.

All stuck with fish for the main course - simply grilled dover sole (three thumbs up from the 'not sure about fish' eater), special of turbot, sea bream and royal fish pie. The three 'straight' fishes were all proclaimed great (I didn't get any), while the fish pie was a bit rich for me, consisting mostly of lobster, scallop and prawn.

Puds were sherry trifle (not very trifley, being more like an eton mess but with creme anglais instead of the meringue, but v v tasty), chocolate pot and cherry clafoutis (don't think that it was called that on the menu but that's what we got). Cheeses were unexceptional apart from Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire, although the oat cookies were excellent.

Prices were not bad considering the surroundings - around a tenner for starters, around 20 for mains and 6.50 for the puds. Unfortunately a couple of bottles of a nice Chablis doubled the bill, but I wasn't paying.

I can understand why the comments about service were made when it opened. It's bedding in now, but still a little too much standing around, and then getting in each other's way. Certainly not a downer on the evening though.

We'd go back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep on popping into the downstairs bar at odd times for a swift half or two and haven't yet been back to eat upstairs (had dinner at the oyster bar when they first opened and Corrigan was still shucking the oysters himself). I must prioritise a return visit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(had dinner at the oyster bar when they first opened and Corrigan was still shucking the oysters himself).

He still is about the place - had dinner downstairs twice recently and both times he was around - not actually shucking but chatting to customers about what they thought about the food and just generally. The bar has a great atmosphere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By bague25
      Which are the pickles you have in your pantry right now?
      Which are the ones you dream of?
      Any recipes? Any secrets? Any reading material?
      Please share - as Monica says Inquiring minds want to know...
    • By newchef
      I'm trying to make a Roasted Poblano and Black Bean Enchilada recipe and I don't know if the tomatillo cream sauce will be freezer-friendly.     Basically I process the following ingredients in a food processor to make the cream sauce.  I plan on freezing the sauce in ice-cube trays for individual servings.  The sauce will then be thawed and spread on a baking dish and also used to top the enchiladas and cook in a 400 degree oven.   Thanks!   INGREDIENTS:   -26 ounces canned tomatillos, drained -1 onion -1/2 cup cilantro leaves -1/3 cup vegetable broth -1/4 cup heavy cream -1 tbsp vegetable oil -3 garlic cloves -1 tbsp lime juice -1 tsp sugar -1 tsp salt
    • By markovitch
      A while ago, to learn the ins and outs of Horseradish, I began making my own mustard. I have managed some really really good varieties, (one with black mustard seeds, rice-wine vinegar, horseradish and Kabocha squash) and some really god awful ones too. I recall that my grandmother used to make her own ketchup too. it wasn't all that good.
      has anyone made their own condiments before?
      care to share experiences?
    • By Lisa Shock
      The basic formula for these cakes was developed by the wife of a mayonnaise salesman in an effort to help him out. I did a bit of research, and have found many variations. Early variants generally involve using less cocoa, which I cannot recommend. Later variants involve using cold water instead of boiling, adding salt, and additional leaveners. I personally do not feel that any additional salt is needed, as mayonnaise and that famous, tangy brand of salad dressing (sometimes the label just says 'Dressing') both contain a fair amount of salt. If you are using homemade mayonnaise or a low sodium product, an eighth teaspoon of salt may boost the flavor a bit. And, of course, somewhere along the way fans who prefer a certain salad dressing over mayonnaise started using it to make this cake. Nowadays, the Hellman's website has a different formula -one with added eggs and baking powder. I have not tried this newer formulation.
       
      Some versions of this recipe specify sifted cake flour. This will result in a very light cake with virtually no structural integrity, due to the paucity of eggs in this recipe compared to a regular cake. Cupcakes made this way give beautifully light results. However, every time I try to make a traditional 8" double layer cake with cake flour, I experience collapse. I recommend AP flour or at least a mix of cake and pastry flour.
       
      I have never made this with a gluten-free flour replacer. This recipe does not have very much structural integrity and as such does not make a good candidate for a gluten-free cake.
       
      I have made this cake many times, the type of sandwich spread you choose will affect the outcome. Made with mayonnaise, the cake has a good chocolate flavor and moistness. Made with that famous, tangy, off-white salad dressing that gets used as a sandwich spread, the cake has a subtle bit of extra brightness to the flavor. If one chooses to use a vegan mayonnaise, the result is tasty but lacking a little in structure; I would bake this in a square pan and frost and serve from the pan.
       
      The cocoa you use will also affect the flavor.  For a classic, homey flavor use a supermarket brand of cocoa. To add a little sophistication, use better, artisan type cocoa and use chocolate extract instead of the vanilla extract.
       
      Supposedly, the traditional frosting for this cake should have a caramel flavor. Look for one where you actually caramelize some sugar first. Modern recipes for the icing seem like weak imitations to me; using brown sugar as the main flavor instead of true caramel.
       
      Chocolate Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing Cake
      makes enough for two 8" round pans, or a 9" square (about 7 cups of batter)
       
      2 ounces/56g unsweetened, non-alkalized cocoa
      1 cup/236g boiling water
      1 teaspoon/4g regular strength vanilla extract
      3/4 cup/162g mayonnaise, vegan mayonnaise, or salad dressing (the tangy, off-white, sandwich spread type dressing)
      10.5ounces/300g all-purpose flour
      7 ounces/200g sugar
      0.35ounce/10g baking soda
       
      Preheat your oven to 350°.
      Grease or spray two 8" round pans or an equivalent volume square or rectangle.
      Place the cocoa in a medium (4-5 cup) bowl. Add the hot water and stir with a fork to break up any clumps. Allow to cool down a little,  then add the vanilla extract and the mayonnaise or salad dressing spread. Beat well to eliminate lumps. In the bowl of an electric mixer or larger regular bowl if making by hand, sift in the flour and add the sugar and baking soda. Mix the dry ingredients to distribute evenly. Slowly beat in the cocoa mixture. Mix until the batter has an even color. Pour immediately into the pans. If making two 8" rounds, weigh them to ensure they contain equal amounts.
      Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the center of the top springs back when touched lightly. (The toothpick test does NOT work well on this moist cake!) Allow the cake to cool a little and shrink from the sides of the pan before removing. Removal is easier while still a little warm.
      Good with or without frosting.
      Good beginner cake for kids to make.
       
       
       
    • By Sheel
      Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it. 
      For the balchao paste you will need:
      > 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
      > 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
      > 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
      > 1/2 tsk turmeric powder 
      > 1 tsp peppercorn
      > 6 garlic cloves
      > 1/2 tsp cloves
      > 1 inch cinnamon stick
      > Vinegar 
      First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...