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Kettner's (CLOSED)

Restaurants, French Soho
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

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A Soho icon, now a French brasserie owned by the Soho House Group.

Once the champagne-quaffing ground of Oscar Wilde and his young lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, Kettner’s Townhouse is now a chintzy hotel brasserie. It’s cosy, and has a handy £20 set menu – but overall, this feels like a pretty unglamorous transformation for a Soho icon originally opened by Napoleon’s chef.

Refurbished by the Soho House Group, who are usually A+ at interior design, the dining room looks a bit like someone’s aunt has been let loose with the brocade. There’s also a live piano player, who on my visit spontaneously performed a stuttering rendition of Shaggy’s ‘It Wasn’t Me’. It was a shameful low point.

Food-wise, there was a succulent vegan dish of hispi cabbage, served with lentils and tart sauce verte. Devon crab was delicate, if overwhelmed by strange blobs of apple jam, and they brought really nice brioche rolls at the beginning of the meal. But everything else was a disappointment. Steak tartare came, inexplicably, with literally hundreds of capers in it. And the signature Kettner’s Omelette was so over-salted it was actually inedible.

This is a historic townhouse in the best area in London – right now it’s being wasted. Here’s hoping someone turns it back into a hotbed of illicit desire.


Address: 29 Romilly Street
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus
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