Restaurant Review: Seven Park Place by William Drabble at St. James’s Hotel and Club, London
A restaurant fit for royals that also neighbours a few – with a rich and sumptuous décor with food to match and spot on wine pairings, I could think of few better ways to spend a few hours in London than in Mayfair’s Seven Park Place.
This eatery has been delighting diners since 2009 and was swiftly awarded a Michelin Star and 4 AA Rosettes and I can see why. The dishes are compiled using British ingredients, of the season, and presented with classic French influence and are full of wonderful flavours.
The restaurant sits in St James’ Hotel and Club, a 5 star hotel that holds 60 utterly gorgeous rooms and suites including the Terrace Suite in which I enjoyed a most luxurious stay a year or two ago. Sitting rather close to Buckingham Palace and St James’ Palace, in the heart of Mayfair, this is certainly a place worth visiting for so many reasons.
My lucky guest, Nick, and I set aside a good few hours one February Saturday lunchtime and allowed ourselves to be fully indulged in the delights of this Michelin Starred haven. A glass of Champagne was offered, ‘yes please!’ we said, extra courses were brought to us and wines were chosen from the experts at hand to pair to our food. We sat back, ate, drank, chatted and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
The décor can only be described as rich and glamorous. Golds, black and dark wood mixed with soft leather, geometric shapes and large white vines, which sit upon the black wallpaper. The restaurant is separated into a few areas and the room in which we were seated had three spacious booths offering secluded dining spaces.
Not long after we were seated we were handed that glass of gorgeous Champagne with its tiny, smooth bubbles, which was quickly followed by some warm bread and a crab veloute with scallop. The amuse bouche had some lovely sweet, rich flavours and was a very positive sign of things to come! Food choices were made and our wines were poured in preparation. We were offered two options for each course – a classic and a dynamic choice (I had a feeling this afternoon might get blurry at some point!) and each were described in detail and explained as to why they were a good match. A lunch menu is offered at £65 for two courses and £75 for 3 courses with an additional cheese course at £15.
For my starter I had chosen the galette of slow cooked pork, grilled Scottish langoustine tails, shallot and caper dressing and I was offered a glass of Riesling and a white Merlot. The crisp patty with textured pork was a contrast to the gentle texture and flavour of the shellfish. The flavour of the langoustine was lifted by the capers, which also suited and therefore bridged the gap with the pork. A posh surf and turf, this was a light, well thought out dish that was complemented so well by the full Riesling and smooth Merlot – I couldn’t pick a favourite!
Next up was an extra course for us of poached native lobster tail with cauliflower purée, roasted cauliflower and lobster truffle sauce. It was delightful. The buttery fried cauliflower thins and purée were a great accompaniment for the sweet, succulent lobster and, with a floral white from Alsace to sip, we loved the delicate and delightful dish.
I had sampled various delights from the water and I wasn’t about to stop. My main course consisted of roasted fillet of turbot with slow cooked smoked streaky bacon, wild mushrooms, chestnut purée and roasted chicken emulsion. My stomach just rumbled at the memory of this. A generous portion of turbot greeted me and salty bacon pieces were a nice pairing as well as the dense chestnut purée and light gravy. I really enjoyed it and the wines too, two wonderful white pairings. I perhaps would have liked something crispy on the plate but a minor comment on an otherwise delicious dish.
Nick enjoyed his seared foie gras, poached Yorkshire rhubarb, confit ginger and gingerbread for starter and saddle of Lune Valley lamb with garlic purée and rosemary jus for main as well as his generous and well considered wine pairings. In fact the wine was going down very well for us both!
We were treated to the cheese course and were proudly presented with a selection of 15 British cheeses to choose from. From an ash covered sheep’s milk selection to a Gouda style and a Stilton in there too, we enjoyed every morsel, complemented so well with the red in which this is the only establishment you’ll will find this variety in this country (Herri Mina, 2015, Irouleguy). A light pre dessert of vanilla rice pudding, caramelised pear and pear sorbet left me pleasantly surprised (I could take or leave pear and I’ve never been a fan of rice pudding) and this was starting to feel like quite the banquet.
There was no doubt that I had made the right choice for dessert and I very magnanimously shared my dark chocolate ganache with caramelised banana, banana ice cream, chocolate sponge and caramelised condensed milk. The words rich and divine came to mind, all elements were prepared well and the combination of textures – ever so crisp banana thins, airy sponge, smooth ganache – and flavours – banana and chocolate, need I say more?! – were a delight to taste.
Nick had opted for the apple and cinnamon soaked savarin, cider jelly, cinnamon poached apple, apple compote and green apple sorbet – a little heavy on the apple chunks but a fresh, sweet, tangy and light dessert nonetheless.
By this point we were feeling like a pair of indulgent mid century royals so when the wonderfully presented petit fours arrived we weren’t surprised to see a gold three tier dish containing a plethora of delights such as coconut marshmallow, pistachio and chocolate macaron, chocolate nougat, jellies and fudge.
We had indulged, enjoyed and relaxed and we headed off into the afternoon a little heavier but a lot more joyful.
IN A NUTSHELL
With a varied menu using excellent quality ingredients and presented in uncomplicated yet pretty ways, this restaurant excels in its ability to serve, pair wines and offer its diners a very enjoyable experience. I loved it, and that’s not just the Champagne and wine talking!
Address: 7-8 Park Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1LS / 020 7316 1620