I had a lovely lunch at Seven Park Place by William Drabble in the rather quirky St James Club and Hotel, but that was mainly down to the company and the fact that I ordered À la carte rather than going for the Set lunch menu.
We were a fairly large group and ordered a mixture of À la carte dishes and Set Menu dishes. À la carte dishes are usually larger portions and perhaps more extravagant, but in a Michelin star restaurant you still expect the set menu to be of a pretty high standard as well. I tried some of my companions dishes and it did seem like the set menu ones had come from a different kitchen.
From the À la carte menu I had the delicious Poached lobster tail with English asparagus, pea shoots and truffle dressing for starters, that dish was definitely up to scratch. I followed this with a tasty pigeon dish. This was in stark contrast to the mousse of foie gras and wild mushrooms starter from the set menu that I tasted which was pretty bland and the pork belly that was a bit too fatty and insipid in both taste and color, with tiny slithers of crackling. My companions were not blown away by the other dishes they had either.
The desserts were pretty ordinary all round, although the home made chocolates presented at the end of the meal and the boxes of marshmallows were a nice touch.
There were also several issues with the service. The staff were very nice, but one of our groups main course did not arrive with the rest of the tables so he had to wait a while for it. We were also seated in a booth like area that made it impossible for the staff to serve the people in the back three seats, so plates and cutlery had to be passed around the table. I have never been in a restaurant of this calibre where the waiter has to ask a customer to use his napkin so he can pass him a hot plate! There was also a couple of minor mix ups with the wine too.
On a completely different subject, there was a piece of art on display, which was most definitely a talking point for all the wrong reasons. It seemed to us to be in rather bad taste. Quite offensive actually, take a close look at the picture of the statue above and you will see what I mean.
So if I was looking for a word to sum up the experience I would have to say “Flawed”.
Marks out of 10
Food (two sets of markings for the food as the menus were so different)
5.6 (À la carte)
4.4 (Set Menu)