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AA Notable Wine List 2016-17
AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

Read more about AA ratings and awards

Assured French cooking in a riotously decorated club

AA Inspector

At a glance

Open all year
Private dining
Wines by the glass
Wheelchair access
Service charge
Credit cards accepted

Set in the swish St James Hotel and Club, William Drabble's restaurant is a seductively small-scale operation and with just 26 diners in a pair of intimate dining rooms to cook for, the kitchen can focus on ensuring that timings, textures and flavours are fine-tuned. What the setting lacks in size it more than makes up for in visual impact: mustard-yellow seating meets chocolate-brown walls adorned with expansive art nouveau foliage and eye-catching artworks – it’s certainly the polar opposite of the stripped-out greige minimalism of many a contemporary restaurant. Drabble's cooking is out of the top drawer, continuing the highly detailed contemporary French style he has honed over his decade-long tenure, and the whole show is backed by assured service that never misses a beat. Menus come liberally-sprinkled with high-end ingredients, as in a simple but flavour-packed opener of lobster ravioli with cauliflower purée and lobster butter sauce, or the perfectly harmonious partnership of seared foie gras offset by rhubarb and ginger. The unshouty finesse of main courses is typified in a combination of saddle of venison with parsnip purée, red cabbage, potato fondant and juniper-scented jus, while fish might be beautifully griddled sea bass with celeriac and apple purée, roasted celeriac emulsion and Périgord truffle. Two willing accomplices could finish with a benchmark tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream and toffee apple sauce. If you go for the set-price lunch menu, you can eat here at an amazingly keen price – as long as you can resist the siren call of the excellent globetrotting wine list.

Also at this location

Opening hours

  • Open all year
  • Days closed: Sunday to Monday
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 2
  • Dinner served from: 7
  • Dinner served until: 10

Chef

  • Chef(s): William Drabble

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Modern French
  • Vegetarian dishes available
  • Wines under £30: 3
  • Wines over £30: 421
  • Wines by the glass: 20

Price guide

  • Service charge
  • Credit cards accepted

Accessibility

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Accessible toilets

Facilities

  • Seats: 34
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 40
  • Off-site parking available: On street and NCP

Additional information

  • Seats: 34
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 40

Getting here

Nearest train station

Green Park
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