Conversations overheard at Wiltons, which was established in 1742, are always a cut above. On our last visit, an elderly gent recounted where he sat at the Coronation to his grandson, who later pronounced ‘grouse shooting is just the best’ when describing his summer plans. It’s no private club, though, as anyone with sufficient funds can enjoy the seductive comfort of the dining room (bustling but cosy) and the supremely attentive, courteous service – from men in regulation black-and-white and ladies in prim green dresses with a distinct look of school matron.
The kitchen doesn’t do experimental, but renders its chosen repertoire very well. Prices have even dropped slightly for the three-course set lunch, from which we tried a lovely, smooth warm vichyssoise with crisp-fried egg and truffle. Also included was the day’s roast, beautifully pink lamb cooked to perfection, and an apple and blackberry crumble that was also spot on. Transfer to the carte and you can enjoy other British classics – hefty grilled meats, more roasts, Wiltons’ famed fish, oysters and other seafood. The wine range is predictably grand, and details (breads, fresh petits fours) are exquisite. Nice to see standards being maintained, even if one can’t often afford it.