What do we need to know about 45 Jermyn St.?
A little bit of history might be useful. Older folk will know this as the spot where Fortnum & Mason's Fountain restaurant was. That in itself was a relative new bit of this eminent Piccadilly establishment - having been opened more than 140 years after the store was first established. But times move on and back in the summer The Fountain closed its doors for good while work began on this restaurant.The first thing you'll notice is how separate from the store it is - although it's possible to pass through into the Gallery restaurant which shares the same loos. It's also rather lovely looking - that'll be down to the work of the Martin Brudnizki Design Studio who were also responsible for The Ivy's new look.
Where should I meet friends for a drink?
There's not a separate bar here - otherwise we'd say that the cracking cocktails list would make this the best place to meet. The bar at Quaglino's is just around the corner or there's the wine bar inside Fortnum's itself.
And where should I sit?
Tricky one, this. There's a load of counter dining, which looked like a great spot to perch at lunchtimes and there are some fine booths in the centre of the room facing towards Jermyn Street, but we thought our table with a window view for top people watching on Duke Street was brilliant.
So, the food. Presumably we should try the caviar trolley?
It's one of the most talked about points of the menu - so yes of course you should try it. 10g is the minimum order which, depending on what you pick (Siberian sturgeon, golden oscietra or Iranian beluga) will set you back from £32 to £67 for the amount you see in our pictures - 10g is the minimum amount. The good news is that you get a lot with that - scrambled eggs cooked on the gueridon trolley, roast baby potatoes, toast, blinis and sour cream. You could easily split it between two and forgo the starters. Although that would be a pity as ours were pretty darned good.
Highlights of our lunch though was a Swinton Estate Red Leg Partridge with Fried Polenta and Jerusalem Artichokes (£26.50) and a dish of Spätzle with Dorset Blue Lobster and Sea Aster £14 for a starter (£25 as a main).
You are certainly going to want to leave room for desserts, not to mention making sure you're cabbing it home (or have a designated driver). A creme caramel (£7.50) was a superb version which almost eclipsed the boozy float of Brown Butter Syrup, Four Roses Bourbon, Soda, Cornflake Ice Cream (£12.50) which was lethally alcoholic.
And to drink?
To save ourselves from having to write off the afternoon completely we kicked off lunch with a champagne cocktail (£12) - it felt right to have The Pelican which featured grapefruit marmalade. And after that we had two lovely, old-fashioned 175ml size glasses of wine, the best of which was a Lombardy white, Brolettino, for £9 which seemed decent value.
This new look restaurant has certainly revitalised this corner of St James - it was heaving on a Friday lunchtime when we visited and presumably is packed most evenings, so it's certainly a hit with the locals. Great for people watching and eating delicious, uncomplicated food - just don't forget to get the caviar trolley to swing by.
Prices were correct at the time of writing. Hot Dinners ate as guests of 45 Jermyn St.