An injection of old school glamour is never something to shy away from, especially when it’s at 45 Jermyn St.; a St. James staple that oozes allure. Just off the main drag, you’ll swirl in past the doorman and position yourself on plush tangerine-coloured chairs and booths which are charmingly trapped between herb green wood and a sociable, marble-topped bar.
There’s a real sense of nostalgia inside the space; small lamps sit proudly upon each table – making for marvellous light when snapping pics of the food, eek. The restaurant is sophisticated and stylish without being overbearingly pretentious and la di da. It’s a non-judgy spot that has every right to be given its cut-above-the-rest reputation and stalwart status, situated on the corner of Fortnum & Mason – though it’s a separate entity to the shop.
When visiting, asparagus season was upon us; consequently I was billed to try some of the best asparagus I’ve ever tasted, slathered in hollondaise sauce and whirled in from Wye Valley; straddling the border between England and Wales. Consumed alongside an espresso martini that was positively bulging with a frothy top, and as delicious as can be, I moved swiftly on and boy, was it a culinary eye-opener.
The British menu is evidently rich in sustainable, fresh ingredients, with ‘farm’ being the word du jour across the pages. Starter highlights included the moreish raw Cornish mackerel and caviar tacos – who knew tacos and caviar went hand-in-hand? Presented elegantly they were quickly eaten in a fashion more closely resembling inhalation. The menu is carefully divided into meat, fish and veg sections making it undemanding to comprehend.
Food is wheeled out and presented afore you by waiting staff clad in attractive suits; there’s a real theatricality to the dining experience and it translates like a space you’d expect Lawrence Jamieson and Freddy Benson sharing a bottle of wine in, in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Drenched in rosy lights, we moved onto the main event. I was all aboard the spiced monkfish, drizzled in a delicious coconut curry sauce with mussels and red pepper. Whilst rice aficionados can opt for this accompaniment, I delved into the many side options; one of which includes a fresh purple sprouting broccoli with chilli and sesame.
There’s a thoughtful vegetarian menu; tofu dumplings are housed next to grilled leeks and black truffle which pointed towards no sacrifice of flavour to enjoy meatless dishes. Yet, perhaps one of my most significant highlights, and the menu that sent me slightly AWOL, was the dessert menu. For such a fine tuned and glam establishment you’d perhaps be surprised to find ice-cream floats.
Alas, it totally works! 45 Jermyn St. offer glutinous goods and play on the nostalgic by interweaving childhood dessert classics – with naughty, alcoholic twists – throughout their ‘afters’ menu, inclusive of show-stopping flavours that include lemon sorbet, vanilla ice cream, 12.50 blackcurrant, verbena and Fortnum’s gin and more tasty alcoholic floats. Now, I don’t have a misbehaving sweet tooth per say, but an alcoholic ice cream float is so far up my street it’s crossing and turning the corner. Another whopper of a highlight was the vanilla rice pudding with prunes and armagnac flambéd at the table. Quite the spectacle! There’s little else to say but wow. For fire, the finest of food and a flambé it’s got to be 45 Jermyn St.
Grab yourself some glam and go to 45 Jermyn St. at St. James’s, SW1Y 6JD, www.45jermynst.com