Review: Seven Park Place at St. James’s Hotel & Club, London

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Snuggled behind Piccadilly Circus, a stone’s throw from Green Park, the bright lights of the Ritz and plenty of high-end shopping, you’ll find the St. James’s Hotel & Club tucked away on a quiet, unassuming street. As Christmas approaches, away from the hustle and bustle of Jermyn Street, the beautiful Burlington Arcade and the Royal Academy, the hotel looks like a gingerbread house or fairytale dollhouse, all lights sparkling and two nutcracker guards flanking the magnificent Mayfair property.

The St. James’s Hotel & Club, which dates back to 1857, was originally intended as a club for traveling diplomats, with the likes of Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming and Henry James gracing its hallways. It has long had a whiff of exclusivity; Charles Dickens wrote that “members are elected by ballot, but members of the diplomatic corps, the English diplomatic service and the Foreign Office may be admitted without a ballot, subject to certain restrictions”. Fast forward to the 1980s, and members included Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore, Peter Townshend, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Tim Rice, Michael Parkinson and Lord Attenborough.

Its recently relaunched 1857 bar, which offers an extensive port menu, Murano glass chandeliers and an impressive art collection – Impressionist, Expressionist and Cubist works from all over Europe – gives the place a special feel. effortless freshness.

The food

The hotel’s piece de resistance is undoubtedly the fabulous Michelin-starred restaurant Seven Park Place. The head chef behind the restaurant is William Drabble, who prides himself on using locally sourced food – hardly an original culinary philosophy these days – but his creations are exquisitely prepared and presented to a high standard. blameless. Drabble was influenced by his beloved grandmother who was also a cook on the grand estates of Yorkshire in the 1930s. The provenance and ethos of the food is local and British, but with French touches and influences intertwined throughout. along the menu – we opted for the Gourmand menu, seven courses for £105.

The standout dishes were the gorgeous, plump scallops with celeriac and apple, the Moon Valley lamb, and the dessert which was an enchanting forest of bitter dark chocolate and sweet orange. Not to be missed, we were told, is Drabble’s signature dish, pan-fried foie gras with gingerbread, which is truly a taste sensation like no other. Warm, with a slightly crisp exterior, the offering is utterly sumptuous, wicked and indulgent.

The service and setting are impeccable, all white tablecloths and thick fluffy rugs, with frequent offerings of fresh bread and a knowledgeable staff armed with perfectly paired wines, making the whole dining experience a real opportunity to savor and enjoy. linger in the presence of good company.

St James's Hotel and Club Mayfair in London

The room and the equipment

Downsides to our stay were the lack of room service (although this may have been due to Covid restrictions, it was unclear), and our room itself was quite small, with some outside noise Audible late at night (although I think room sizes vary quite considerably at the hotel). There’s no spa at the hotel, though in-room treatments are available, and we had trouble getting the TV to work. Breakfast seemed a bit dull to us, in the basement with no natural light and an unloved buffet, but perhaps the next meals after such an upscale dinner were always going to be a disappointment.

It’s perhaps the hotel’s most unforgivable sin – the lingering, creeping fear that creeps over you when you leave the hotel and venture into the bracing bustle of Christmas, which you won’t eat anywhere too although Seven Park Place for a while. .

St. James’s Hotel & Club Mayfair, 7-8 Park Place, St. James’s, London SW1A 1LS; stjameshotelandclub.com

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