The classic St James’ restaurant, Le Caprice has been going strong for over 30 years, and was the perfect choice for us ladies who lunch when we decided we wanted to go for a little old school glamour ahead of our visit to see McQueen’s Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A this weekend.
Known as one of London’s best-loved restaurants Le Caprice is possibly best known for its celebrity clientele and unfussy, comforting food. We were super excited and half hoping we may even rub shoulders with one of its celebrity guests but as soon as we arrived we were too busy nattering to notice anyone or anything outside our immediate surroundings. Le Caprice has a way of relaxing you from the moment you arrive, the maître d greets you with a warmth that immediately makes you feel at ease and the ambient piano music playing quietly in the background takes you back to another era. Helpful waiters recommending fizz to kick start our girlie lunch doesn’t hurt either and thus our afternoon adventure begins…
Le Caprice’s timeless monochrome art deco interior is complemented by a collection of iconic photographs by David Bailey. Tom Phillips has designed the menu covers and an interesting “wooden word block” that sat behind us. The idea of this word sculpture is that the ‘text’ should be made up of appropriate words, the first letters of which descending order spell ‘Le Caprice’ with each word having a relevance to the restaurant (a similar piece can be found at The Ivy).
The menu features classic British, European and American favourites, and we delve straight in and all order seafood starters; seared scallops with chilli and garlic butter that were tasty and light in texture, fresh and melt in your mouth good tuna and salmon sashimi with wasabi tobiko, yuzu and soy from the shosu (a few) part of the menu and dressed Dorset crab celeriac rémoulade & watercress, the dressing is perfectly balanced and brings out just enough sweetness in the fish to allow the crab to be the star.
For mains we opt for a mouth watering pan-fried sea bream with slow-roast tomatoes and wild garlic gremolata, a hearty and crispy on the outside and tender within chicken alla Milanese with rocket and lemon and a juicy, perfectly cooked Bannockburn rib eye steak with pommes allumettes and béarnaise. The food is simple and unfussy as expected but flavoursome and tasty nonetheless, and we all simultaneously make delicious noises as our waiter pours us another drink.
Mains done we move our attention to the dessert menu and order a divine mint choc chip sundae, a zesty Amalfi lemon tart that is simply exquisite and a heavenly white chocolate cheesecake with Gariguette strawberries – the desserts were truly out of this world good.
The service at Le Caprice is superb and our friendly waiters are knowledgeable on the food and drinks. The ambience is definitely old school glamour and the clientele are clearly regulars that have been coming here for years. We had a thoroughly relaxed afternoon of good company, good food (and drink) that we will no doubt be repeating again in the near future for another exceptional dining experience.