St Ermin’s Hotel is iconic and legendary due to its extravagant design and links with Winston Churchill during World War II. The hotel was originally built in 1889 as a mansion block (with smart serviced apartments) by E.T. Hall (the same designer who was famous for creating Liberty & co. department store).
Only ten years later, in 1899, the mansion block was to become a hotel with the help of theatre designer JP Briggs. This makes perfect sense when you step into the magnificent entranceway filled with balconies, magnificient chandelliers and embellished plaster work.
Throughout the Second World War, the Caxton bar in particular was where the Secret Intelligence Service and MI5 would meet. As you can imagine it was exciting to step into the bar aware of it’s intriguing history.
My husband Oliver and I started the evening with a glass of one of my favourites, Nyetimber. It is always great to see that British hotels are championing a fine British sparkling wine.
I rarely eat bread but as soon as I am presented with it in a restaurant and it is freshly baked and warm, I always have to try it. I was delighted when we were brought a selection of rosemary and also olive bread with whole green and black olives inside. This was served with a gorgeous green margarine spread, with fresh herbs and basil.
Executive Head Chef Alexander Boyd creates a modern European menu using locally sourced produce, with charcoal grill specials. I was looking forward to experiencing Alexander's skills in the kitchen and to start with I ordered an impressive lobster mousse, with poached prawn, puffed cereals & sea herbs.
It was the perfect variety of crunchy, creamy and meaty, served with a generous piece of juicy lobster. It was so much more than I had expected and very impressive.
My husband had the slow cooked duck egg, delicious and unique in it’s use of aniseed jelly and liquorice flavours. A very interesting combination that worked well together.
We drank a glass of the Domaine du Pelican Arbois, a beautiful chardonnay, fresh, fruity and oaky. It was an excellent choice to accompany both our starters and mains.
It was a pleasure to be hosted for the evening by the Assistant Manager, Flavia, who told us all about the incredible roof garden where ingredients such as pumpkin, squash, olives, apples, plums, raspberries fresh herbs, onions, lettuce and tomatoes are grown. She pointed out that we were eating them on our plate that very evening! Flavia also spoke about the beehives they have installed on the roof, home to 300,000 bees that have made their home (and lots of honey!), also available to eat in the hotel’s restaurant. A really unique feature that forms part of the hotel's eco story.
For our main courses, I opted for the British rose veal loin with heritage carrots, Taleggio and lemon thyme tortellini whilst my husband ate the John Dory with Jerusalem artichoke, cockles, black pudding & lemon verbena.
In terms of its exquisite presentation and colours, this dish certainly commanded centre stage. I absolutely loved my juicy and tender pieces of venison with a moreish sauce. The lemon and thyme tortellini really cut through this overall rich and indulgent dish. We ordered a side of broccoli with almonds which also complimented our dishes.
My husband Oliver’s John Dory fish looked intriguing but I definitely preferred my choice of main.
You would think that we'd had enough food by now, but when the dessert menu's came, we couldn't resist trying one of the very interesting dessert options. I decided upon the vanilla cheesecake, Yorkshire rhubarb and basil granita. It was a fresh and zesty deconstructed cheesecake which very unusual, I liked it but I would have loved more crunchy biscuit as for me, that is the best bit of a cheesecake!
Oliver has the iced maple syrup mousse cream cheese, walnut and poached pear. The caramelised walnuts were my favourite aspect of this dish and Oliver certainly seemed content in his choice.
I wasn’t sure what my impression might be of the Caxton Grill but it surpassed all expectations with it’s relaxed and welcoming setting, attentive staff and delicious food. It was a fantastic place for a fun date night and we especially enjoyed retiring to the very cosy bar afterwards for cocktails by the fire.
If you happen to be in the Victoria or Westminster and in need of a great dinner venue, I'd highly recommend a visit to the Caxton Grill at St Ermin's Hotel. It is worth noting that there is a private dining room and semi-private dining options available should you require them.
On your visit to the Caxton Grill, show the code CITYINTRIGUE to staff and you will receive a complimentary glass of wine with your meal. It would be great to see your foodie photos so do tag @City_intrigue #Cityintrigue on instagram.
Caxton Bar and Grill,
St Ermin's Hotel,
2 Caxton St,
For reservations tel. +44 (0)207 227 7777