This glamorous dining room on London’s famous tailoring strip could have been lifted straight out of an ocean liner. From the lacquered tables and salmon red leather banquettes (one of which snakes down the centre in a dramatic double S bend) to the Art Deco lamps and crackled glass panels, 45 Jermyn St makes you feel under-dressed in anything less than a beaded shift (ladies) or spats (gents). Fortnum and Mason green is the second theme colour, which is no coincidence: they own the joint.
Conversation was hushed despite the restaurant being half full. Dimming the lights would help, but this is a place to see and be seen and the greeting from waiting staff was warm.
Given that the place wasn’t crammed, the meal felt a tad rushed – starters arrived within 10 minutes of ordering and mains followed with barely time for a convenience break (on that note, follow the door marked ‘Peas and Leeks’ – not a dedicated vegetable kitchen, but a punning pointer to the loos). But you can’t fault the food, which is served in generous portions and lovingly put together. Oysters and caviar top the menu – if you like theatre, the latter arrives by trolley and accompanying eggs are scrambled at the table. A dressed Portland crab and a tomato, treviso and goats curd salad were both excellent. Main courses include as many vegetarian as meat dishes, an unusual touch. in the end, I couldn’t resist flesh, so ordered a perfectly executed calvados braised guinea fowl and a fillet of hake with white beans and cockles. Desserts feature an exciting range of ice cream floats and coupes, as well as more traditional choices.
It’s a great place for a grown-up treat and, if you choose carefully from the wine list, pretty reasonable too.