A Georgian Giant
Category : Bar, Hotel, Restaurant
| Cuisine : French
Address : 29 Romilly Street, Soho, London, W1D 5HP, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.kettnerstownhouse.com
Closest Tube : Tottenham Court Road, Leicester Square
The Soho House Group has laid its Midas touch on one of the most historic and iconic establishments in central London. Britain‘s original celeb chef Auguste Kettner opened this Soho institution over 150 years ago in 1867. Legends abound around the cook, namely that he was Emperor Napolean III‘s private chef. Following its founding, the building was occupied by a number of luminaries across the years including Oscar Wilde, and rumour has it Edward VII had a tunnel constructed so that he could secret Lillie Langtry into his chambers from the Palace Theatre next door. However, in recent years the Grade II listed property had fallen into a state of faded respectability. The Soho House Group scooped it up and has ensured a return to form with a shining, luminous refurbishment.
Kettner‘s Townhouse comprises of a champagne bar, a restaurant and thirty bedrooms which can be accessed by a striking wraparound staircase that might have been transposed from Downton Abbey. Original tiling leads you into the Champagne bar, which may become one of London‘s most sought after. Alternatively, guests can turn right and stroll through the lounge bar which serves cocktails to the tinkle of keys, with a live pianist performing nightly. Continuing through here delivers the restaurant. Anyone who has read a Jane Austen novel will feel immediately transported.
Banquettes and bergere chairs are all upholstered with beautiful with ornate Georgian patterns. There are white tablecloths, outsized mirrors, gorgeous moulding and smoked glass chandeliers that feel of another era altogether. The Romilly 29, a champagne cocktail of Ruinart, mango, lemon and Star of Bombay, paved the way for an excellent bottle of Kanu Chenin Blanc. Both were adroit partners to the small bites that arrived. A number of these deserve big shout-outs, including the gruyere gourgeres, the French onion tart with anchovies, and especially the smoked cod‘s roe with confit potato cake.
Our mains lived up to the promise of the starters. A Toulouse sausage with ineffably unctuous pommes aligout, white kale and Dijon ticked all the boxes. A truffle roast Banham chicken was similarly on point, served with duxelles and Pommes Anna. If you have a predilection for the truffles, you can sprinkle it on any dish on the menu for an extra £50 per 10 grams. All in, we were quite taken with the newest incarnation of Kettner‘s, and recommend you make the trip to Romilly Street to see it in action yourself.