When Fortnum & Mason first opened its storied doors — in 1707, if you were wondering — it soon garnered a nationwide reputation for sourcing and selling the best food and drink in Britain. And, over the years, it’s a reputation the department store has traded and built on, releasing a London Dry Gin in 2014 and establishing an annual Food and Drinks Awards.
But perhaps Fortnum’s greatest contribution to the culinary scene can be found attached to the back of the department store — albeit with a separate entrance; a heady whirl of pastel greens and orange leather casting a delectable foody spell over the streets of St James’s. This is 45 Jermyn St, and it is one of the most eccentric, exclusive restaurants in London.
The fish will have you diving into your wallet
It’s a confident restaurant that has its own dedicated caviar trolley. But 45 Jermyn St., with its bold, Martin Brudnizki designed interiors, is dripping in confidence and theatricality. Serving Iranian Beluga 000, Golden Oscietra and Siberian Sturgeon caviars from £2 per gram, the eggs are weighed and served at your table, accompanied with toast, baked new potatoes, blinis and scrambled eggs.
It’s a bold way to begin dinner, but highly recommended. And the fish offering doesn’t end there. The ‘Raw’ dishes are masterclasses in global cuisine, from Yellowfin Tuna Poke and Raw Orkney Scallops to the Cornish Mackerel and Caviar Tacos — a fantastic clash of gastronomic cultures that’ll have you clamouring for seconds.
The fish may be good, but the meat’s hard to beat
The crowning glory of our visit, however, came after the fish. Grilled Bones with Ox Cheek Soliders and Parmesan may sound a little suspect, but the dish is one of the richest, most lip-smackingly sumptuous on any menu we’ve found in London.
And that’s just one of the starters. The Burrata with Trombetta Courgette, Confit Lemon and Pesto is rich enough to give the Grilled Bones a run for their marrow-filled money, and the asparagus menu (because of course there’s an asparagus menu) does wonders with these spears of run-of-the-mill veg.
This quality of meat continues well into the mains. The Tagliatelle of Rabbit Ragout, Kalamata Olives and Parmigiano-Reggiano perhaps gets the ratio of pasta to meat a little off, but the Suffolk Pork Belly with Mangalitza Black Pudding and English Peas will have you standing at your table and singing the national anthem it’s so home-grown and hedonistic.
Fire things up with a flambé
Despite working our way through most of the menu — or so it seemed — one oversight committed at our table was not to order anything that came flambéed in front of us. So, when a column of flames erupted across the eatery, the pangs of jealously cut through the haze of Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir.
There are two selections that’ll bring this dazzling floorshow to your table. Firstly, the Beef Wellington, Dauphinoise Potatoes, Green Beans and Peppercorn Sauce. Secondly — and perhaps the best choice — the Lobster Spaghetti, Artichokes and Lemon Verbena. Epicureans with a penchant for pyrotechnics are in for a treat.
You’ll get your just desserts
And just when you think you can’t order one more thing, the charmingly named ‘Afters’ menu is set gently down in front of you, tempting you out of your stuffed stupor with promises of Apricot Soufflés and a truly stellar Knickerbocker Glory.
We’d advise you take a look at the ‘Floats’ section of the menu. Less of a commitment than your seventh plate, there’s also a pantry-full of ingredients present in the five ice cream concoctions on offer. But there’s only one sensible decision; the Cornflake Ice Cream with Brown Butter Syrup and Four Roses Bourbon.
And then, when you’re fit to burst with some of the finest dishes in London, why not make a mental note to rebook — for you’ve not completed 45 Jermyn St. 100 per cent until you’ve ticked every item off the menu…
45 Jermyn St.
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