Walking into LIBRARY, nuzzled into London’s iconic theatreland just off Trafalgar Square, is quite theatrical in itself. In Alice In Wonderland, Through The Looking Glass style, you’re transported from streets paved with suit-wearers and clumps of tourists to a quiet reception area with an odour of slight muskiness and history, lined with an eclectic range of books, new and old. The sole partition between worlds being the elegant, charmingly blue front doors.
LIBRARY London is best described as ‘quirky’. It’s a members’ club and hotel that would impress minds like Lewis Carroll and Wes Anderson with drama, enlightenment, escape, nourishment and more. Grabbing a couple of libations from the central bar area we awaited our St Luke’s Table feast, intriguingly casting our gaze over adolescents snug in corners, crumbly books in hand, and in-depth discussions being had in the nooks and crannies of the room.
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“When we no longer have good cooking in the world, we will have no literature, nor high and sharp intelligence, nor friendly gatherings, no social harmony.” Marie-Antoine Careme was the founder and architect of French haute cuisine, so you can take his word for it. Book into our restaurant and treat yourself to a festive feast this season
St Luke’s Table is one of Covent Garden’s newest fine-dining destinations and, hot off the press, we journeyed down there to indulge in the vegan additions to the already popular menu. The menu was born from guest requests and a growing awareness about restaurants’ carbon footprint. Sure to be a welcome addition to the club, founded in 2013 by Ronald Ndoro, the up-cycling paradise made for an idyllic spot to enjoy vegan fare.
Meandering down to a highly obscure restaurant, you arrive at broad doors that, upon opening sesame, lead you into a tiny dining room that seats just 40. The intimate space is brought to life by up-beat French music, a juxtaposition to the dim and romantic lighting found inside. It’s a room you can imagine many a famous writer to have acquainted, and many a secret liaison to have been had. And, all in all, the latter led to a dining experience wholly different to the rest.
When a restaurant is armed with an entire menu serving up plant-based offerings, it’s guaranteed to win over a life-long veggie. Designed by Head Chef Alessio Piras, the menu draws on his Italian roots, whilst showcasing the best of British produce without sacrificing the flavour. To start our foodie journey, we opted for both the grilled asparagus, which came accompanied with pea shoots and purple potato salad, and the quinoa salad, packed with fresh, seasonal veg.
The quinoa salad was drizzled with wholegrain mustard adding a refreshing little spice to the dish. Thanks to Alessio’s authentic techniques the fresh veggie flavours shined through. Trying purple potato was a first for us both, and although we were a little unsure of the result paired with quinoa, it worked incredibly well. Definitely not the heavy, washed-out feeling you get from her white potato sibling. When salads are jam packed with fresh ingredients it allows you to truly appreciate their unique flavours. From the aniseedy fennel to the crisp asparagus, these dishes freshened our palette, leaving us eager for more.
The main courses soon arrived paired with a beautiful cabernet sauvignon. The focus behind their plant-based main courses is on grounding root vegetables. First up was the beetroot risotto which, of course, came out bright pink, perfect for snapping a colourful ‘gram (or 12). Topped with walnuts, dill and golden beets, the risotto was silky smooth but with an added crunch. And it’s safe to say the absence of dairy in the dish did not constitute a lack of creaminess. We also devoured the linguine artichokes, laced with walnut pesto, sundried tomatoes, and topped with a garlic and parsley toasted breadcrumb, which we were recommended especially to try by the restaurant manager. Feeling slightly like a dolled up carbonara, it truly had everything you could wish for in a pasta dish – richness, creaminess and full of flavour.
As a vegan, when you see a choccy pud on the menu and it’s plant-based, you have to order it. The dairy-free chocolate mousse was topped with sweet berries and a scattering of nuts. Although the mousse itself was on the richer side (and after a plate of creamy linguine it was a little much), the bursts of juice from the oozing berries refreshed the palette and rounded off the night perfectly. While the pineapple carpaccio was replicant of the savoury kind – delicately sliced pineapple trickling its sweet juices down the fork with every bite.
With a wild culinary philosophy of adventure, innovation and tradition, it was hardly surprising how exquisite the food was. Although located in LIBRARY, a members’ club, St Luke’s Table is fully open to all with reservation in advance. It’s perfect for a romantic date night or to impress your friends next time it’s your turn to organise a gathering. Despite only opening three months ago, the restaurant is certainly pulling out all the stops, both with its interiors and flavours, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store in the future.
St Luke’s Table can be found at 112 St. Martins Lane, WC2N 4BD, www.stlukestable.com