One of those smart venues that’s more restaurant than pub (just a few seats at the bar), the Duke of Wellington attracts a well-heeled Marylebone clientele to enjoy food a tad more adventurous than the gastropub norm – roast veal and lobster salad with endives and a sweet dill dressing, say, or a truffled mozzarella starter – alongside the genre’s regulars of fish, pork belly and confit duck.
On a recent visit, pea and mint soup was full of flavour but watery; steamed prawns was a generous portion of meaty crustacea, with own-made mayo. A main of slow-roast lamb shoulder with pomegranate was exquisitely tender, with warm, mellow spicing and a subtle sweetness, served with nicely dressed salad. But provençal fish stew (mussels, prawns, octopus and hake hardly swimming in half a centimetre of fish stock) was disappointing. The kitchen got experimental with pudding, offering a chocolate and beetroot brownie with horseradish and mascarpone ice-cream. Instead, we shared a superb lime and chocolate crème brûlée.
An excellent bottle of New Zealand sauvignon, a 12.5% service charge and a pound each for four bits of bread helped the bill to just under a ton.