Precise and non-technological modern British cooking
At a glance
Open all year
Wines by the glass
Discreetly hidden away in a turning off St James's Street, Dukes is a luxury hotel of elegance and refinement. Fittings and furnishings are of the highest order, and guests are pampered by correct but relaxed and friendly staff. The Champagne Lounge is a popular place for a pre-dinner drink, while the restaurant is a relatively modestly sized room with the stylish, moneyed look expected in a hotel of this calibre. Nigel Mendham is no fan of high-tech culinary alchemy, preferring to focus on time-honoured techniques and the best British ingredients. That's not to say that he steers clear of contemporary innovation, adding his own personal stamp to his output. A well-rounded starter of artichoke hearts and purée gets a kick from winter truffle gel and a salt hit from duck ham, crowned by a confit duck egg. Main courses extend to turbot fillet in a herby hazelnut crust with the contrast of pancetta, accompanied by celeriac, mussels and sea parsley. A meaty alternative might be rump of lamb and spiced neck with curried cauliflower and couscous. Desserts are worth exploring too, among them perhaps a theme on apples: compressed fruit, sorbet and purée, goats' curd adding a degree of richness.