Nestled behind Piccadilly Circus, a short distance from Green Park, the bright lights of The Ritz and the many high-end market shops, you’ll find St. James’s Hotel & Club, tucked away on a quiet, homely side street. With Christmas coming up, away from the bustle of Jermyn Street, pretty Burlington and the Royal Academy, the hotel resembles a gingerbread house or fairy tale dollhouse, all sparkling with light. lamp and two chestnut guards beside the splendid property of Mayfair.
Hotel & Club St. James, dating from 1857, was originally intended as a club for traveling diplomats, with the likes of Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming and Henry James decorating its halls. It has long had a monopoly; Charles Dickens wrote that “members are elected by ballot, but members of the diplomatic corps, of the British diplomatic service, and of the Foreign Office, may be accepted without a vote, according to certain limitations”. Fast-forward to the 1980s, and members include Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore, Peter Townshend, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Tim Rice, Michael Parkinson and Lord Attenborough.
The newly re-opened 1857 bar, which features a multi-port menu, a Murano glass chandelier and an impressive art collection – Impressionist, Expressionist and Cubist works from across Europe Europe – gives the place a pleasant cool feeling.
The hotel’s highlight is undoubtedly the superb, Michelin-starred restaurant, Seven Park Place. The restaurant’s head chef is William Drabble, who prides himself on using locally sourced food – hardly an original food philosophy these days – but his creations are crafted from scratch. exquisitely transformed and presented to a perfectly unique standard. Drabble was influenced by his beloved grandmother, who was also a chef on the great Yorkshire estates in the 1930s. The origins and character of the food are local and British, but with highlights and French influences are intertwined on the menu – we calculated for the Gourmand menu, seven courses for £105.
Standouts are the plump, sumptuous scallops with celeriac and apples, the lamb in the Lune Valley and the dessert an enchanting jungle of bitter chocolate and sweet oranges. Not to be missed is, as we’ve learned, Drabble’s signature dish of foie gras marinated in ginger bread, truly a taste sensation unlike any other. Warm, with a slightly crispy exterior, the offering is utterly sumptuous, evil, and indulgent.
Impeccable service and surroundings, all white tablecloths and plush deep rugs, with regular recommendations on fresh bread and knowledgeable staff stocked with perfectly paired wines, making the whole dining experience a real occasion to enjoy and prolong in the presence of Company delicacies.
Room and amenities
The downsides of our stay were the lack of room service (although this could be due to Covid restrictions, it’s not obvious) and our room itself was quite small, with some outside noise. Outside can be heard at night (though I think room size does vary quite a bit at the hotel). The hotel does not have a spa, although in-room therapies are available, and we struggled to get the television to work. Breakfast struck us as a bit of a sad affair, with no natural light in the basement and an unloved buffet, but perhaps the next meal after such a sumptuous dinner will always be a disappointment.
It’s possibly the hotel’s most unforgivable sin – the lingering, nagging fear that hits you as you check out and head back into the Christmas frenzy, that you won’t eat anywhere better than Seven Park Place for a period of time. .
St. James’s Hotel & Club Mayfair, 7-8 Park Place, St. James’s, London SW1A 1LS; stjameshotelandclub.com
https://www.theweek.co.uk/arts-life/food-drink/955523/seven-park-place-review-st-james-hotel-club-london Review: Seven Park Place at St. James’s Hotel & Club, London