Open now for a couple of months, the Restaurant at St Paul's Cathedral brings fine British dining in a tasteful setting to the crypt of one of the world's most iconic churches. Our recent experience there was (not withstanding a foible or two) truly divine, and this review counts the blessings of such a lovely restaurant gracing our city.
Service at the restaurant was friendly, cordial and extremely helpful but just this side of excruciatingly slow. We think there might have been some sort of cock up with our order or its preparation as the table next to us received their dishes well ahead of us, even though we'd been there a good 15 minutes or so before them. We won't hold the delay against the restaurant this time (these things happen) but feel it would be an incomplete review not to mention the waiting before courses on this particular occasion was longer than we're accustomed.
This review would also be incomplete if we failed to mentioned that every bite of every dish was extraordinarily delicious. From the succulent marinated olives served alongside savoury home made Montgomery and rosemary biscuits (all for £3) at the start of our lunch to the final bite of Regent's Park honey ice and gingerbread sandwich - this was a quality meal. And at two courses for £18 or three for £22, prices were more than reasonable considering not just the scrumminess of the food but also the location.
The menu changes monthly, but if you visit during October, you can't go wrong with a first course of poached Barrington egg, cavelo nero, shaved Brussels sprouts and butter or an ample bowl of the light and flavourful Cornish fish soup. As for mains, the roast pheasant with prune and walnut stuffing and Brussels tops is earthy and satisfying, while the grey mullet with cauliflower, shallots and raisins provides the palette with a melange of intrigue. Sides (£3) of “forgotten vegetables” (turnips, roast garlic and pasley) and new season parsnip and potato mash complement the mains solidly. Indeed, the caramel and creamy parsnip and potato mash was one of the most delightful sides we've tasted in some time. From the wine list, a smoky Serle Noir Viognier (£21.95 for a bottle) accompanied our meal exquisitely. A thoughtful menu in a historic venue - St Paul's addition to London's dining scene is most welcome!
The Restaurant at St Paul's Cathedral is open for lunch from 12pm-3pm daily (amen to that!). Visit the restaurant online at www.restaurantatstpauls.co.uk.
Photography by Chris Osburn