St. James’s has long been a haven of regal elegance in the madness that is our city. Nestled in this calm corner Duke’s Hotel has long been a luxurious home from home. The hotel marries its quaint historic charm, with the refined finish you’d expect of a five star hotel. This year they launched their Great British Restaurant, a dining experience that seeks to emulate its surroundings by bringing a modern take to British classics.
The restaurant itself is beautifully designed, elegant, yet refined, with attentive but friendly service. The perfect setting for a special occasion, be a romantic dinner or a private dinner. Although its abbreviated name, GBR, doesn’t necessarily fit with the ambience of the space itself, perhaps better suited to its sister location in Dubai than a quite corner of St. James’s. True to its name the restaurant’s menus are packed with quality British produce from Scottish scallops to Cumbrian lamb to English Rabbit. The drinks menu boasts craft beers and ciders from around the country and a selection of English wines.
The starters certainly lived up to the atmosphere, as elegant as the surroundings and modern in their presentation. Perfectly cooked scallops were balanced well with delicately seasoned celeriac and sharp balls of apple, topped with a generous shaving of truffle to bring a hint of luxury. A flavourful and smooth pressed rabbit leg with the sweetness of a fluffy miniature sweetcorn scone was a delight topped off with plumb Dublin bay prawns. Both were wonderful to the eye with taste to match.
Onto the main, lamb cutlets with a shepherds pie and cabbage, the perfect dish for a wintry night, and reassuringly homely. The lemon sole could not have been cooked better. Evoking all that you would expect of great British dishes. we were helpfully steered towards the chef’s signature lemon meringue pie, a spectacular delivering and the knockout flavour you could want alongside a chewy meringue. The only thing that could be said against it is perhaps that the warming, comforting bread and butter pudding could possibly transport you to a cosy armchair by an open fire, exactly what you want on a cold, dark winters evening.
I certainly had an enjoyable experience, but couldn’t help feeling, it didn’t quite hit the mark. For the quality of experience GBR is seeking I feel the main courses don’t quite meet expectations, and with the variety available in London’s restaurant scene there are better meals to be had for the money. Despite that, GBR is a wonderful example of design and style, and makes a wonderful place to take visitors to for a sense of traditional British luxury!
36 Little St James Street
Written by Alex Keighley