If Kettner’s didn’t exist the stylish man or woman about town would lose a classic spot for whiling away time. Oscar Wilde ate there. The Suffragettes met in its elegant rooms. It’s a restaurant with history, as well as eight private rooms and three public dining rooms. The decor suggests a tired, bohemian Twenties, as though Daisy and Gatsby did get together, went off honeymooning and left his town house in the hands of some debauched roisterers.
Situated on Romilly Street in Soho Kettner’s was originally opened in 1867 by the chef to Napoleon III. Though the menu has probably changed a little since then, the Frenchman’s emphasis on Champagne remains, with the wine list including over 100 different varieties of Épernay’s finest.
Ideally located for London’s West End theatres, Kettner’s offers a pre-theatre menu, served between 5pm and 6.30pm Monday to Saturday (and also 10pm to close). In the mirrored dining room on the ground floor you can order two courses for £21.50 with a choice of three options for each. I can recommend the meaty sea trout, served on a large-grained sun-dried tomato risotto with the added piquancy of a tapenade dressing. Though the rich onion jus of the pork chop that I spotted on another table did make me sigh wistfully. I’ll have to visit again.
The pre-theatre menu changes, here is an example
Upstairs there are floors of good-sized private rooms, where The Flaneur intends to host exquisite dinner parties, if we can ever get round to fixing a date. But you don’t have to hire a room. With special events such as 1940’s parties, afternoon teas and a Champagne club there is lots going on and downstairs in the restaurant there is a live pianist in the evenings from Tuesday to Sunday.
The Studio private room at Kettner’s. Is it a Singer Sargent?
Relaxed and chic, the brasserie serves modern European dishes all day, including a world-renowned* burger and there are various nooks and grannies crannies where you can sit and sip. Located only a few steps from the Palace Theatre, Kettner’s will get you fed and watered (or champagned) before your big night out in the West End.
*world-renowned might be going a bit far, but I’m told it’s good.