Kettner’s has lived. Surviving four kings and a queen, the blitz, several booms and more than a few busts, Kettner’s has seen it all and is an integral part of the vibrant, glamorous and debauched Soho we know and love today.
We went along to sample the new brasserie menu and ordered a glass of champagne (would be rude not to in the home of fizz) and a black Russian whilst we browsed the extensive offerings. Both of us decided to skip starters though they were tempting, especially the Dorset crab “on toast” with lemon and mayonnaise, the baked goat’s cheese beetroot marmalade and the warm salad of duck confit, duck livers with apple, french beans and cider dressing. For the main we both opted for the lobster, I with chips and my friend with a garden salad, we also ordered spinach on the side. The lobster was grilled to perfection and had just the right amount of garlic butter so not to overpower the meaty goodness.
Satisfied with our mains we moved our attention to dessert and went for the seasonal special, a honeycomb cheesecake with a 2011 jurancon moelieux dessert wine and a fig, orange & walnut sticky toffee pudding with salted ice cream and the recommended dessert wine pedro ximenez triana. My accompanying dessert wine was literally Christmas in a glass, the figgy flavours really complemented the dessert’s flavours creating a rich sweetness.
Gorgeously glamorous, the music was a playlist of New Orlean jazz, 1940s blitz and possibly some roaring 1920s too. There were a number of private parties taking place whilst we were lunching, guests mingled in 1920s get up, seemingly continuing its tradition of incredible (if not always so risqué) parties. After all, it was originally a series of four Georgian Townhouses, Auguste Kettner, (chef to Napoleon III,) opened Kettner’s as a restaurant in 1867 – it quickly became infamous as the rendezvous of choice for deliciously colourful characters of the time, renowned for hosting incredibly risqué parties. Oscar Wilde dined here and Kettner’s is mentioned as his venue of choice in his trial notes. Agatha Christie and Bing Crosby were also celebrated regulars.
The Grade II listed building boasts a Brasserie, a Champagne Bar and eight Private Rooms, all available for hire. Keep an eye out for the Afternoon Tea with Laurent Perrier tasting flights – they’re next on our list!