What? A seasonal provenance-led menu of British classics, served in an elegant dining room.
New? Shepherd’s is a Westminster institution but has had a new lease of life breathed into it by Lionel Zetter, who took over in 2013.
Where? Shepherd’s of Westminster, Marsham Court, Marsham Street, Westminster, SW1P 4LA, www.shepherdsresterant.co.uk
On the Menu: Head Chef Karl Goward has worked in London and New York and with over 20 years of experience in the kitchen has created a well-designed and concise British menu, covering all the key bases; 7 starters, 8 mains and 8 puddings. When we visited there was a selection of game available, proving the menu to be seasonal and considered. Homemade mulled wine and Christmas cake were nice touches too.
First Impressions: Hidden away between Smith Square and Vincent Square, a discreet entrance leads you to Shepherd’s. Right from the start things are promising, with exceptionally attentive staff welcoming us and efficiently seating us at an intimate table.
The Look: Quintessentially British, Shepherd’s is a lesson in polished elegance with a muted colour scheme, wonderfully heavy white tablecloths and great lighting. Charmingly Art Deco with a luxurious feel, we were very impressed with discreet and intimate table layout, great for a more personal dinning experience or to discuss business. If you want even more privacy, two private dining rooms can accommodate 8 to 30 guests.
What We Ate: We started with a smoked chicken salad, which came on a bed of gem lettuce and drizzled in a light citrus glaze; nicely presented, it delivered everything we wanted. The other starter, which came highly recommended, was the roast Jerusalem artichoke with an unexpected spiced crab apple twist – equally impressive. On to the mains. The Shepherd’s pie and sirloin steak both came strongly recommended and when a dish conveniently shares the name of the restaurant you expect good things. Unbelievably tender slow-cooked pulled lamb marinated with bone marrow made for a mouth-watering smelling dish, served in an individual sized portion – not just scooped onto a plate. The humble Shepherd’s pie was taken to a whole new level. The steak too was cooked to perfection. Delicately presented with an arrangement of green peppercorns and shallot butter, a side of savoy cabbage was so vibrantly green in colour it was clear to see the freshness of the ingredients.
Finishing off, we went for a pear and prune crumble to share. It was exceptional; a classic which let the ingredients left to do the talking, and a suitably impressive end to a truly delicious evening, proving that Shepherd’s do classic dishes very, very well.
What We Drank: There is an extensive wine list with over 100 bottles to choose from – predominantly French. Shepherd’s also has a selection of some Reserve wines so there is something here for everyone, at all price points.
Go With: On first thoughts, Shepherd’s is ideal for a working lunch, but equally it would do just the trick if you are trying to impress a date and want privacy, discretion and failsafe food.
Final Word: Shepherd’s really is “a hidden gem in the heart of Westminster” – a friendly team and first class service make it a great premier dining destination in the heart of London.