At the back corner of Fortnum & Mason is a restaurant that used to be something of a Mayfair institution. 45 Jermyn St stands in place of what was The Fountain, a local favourite for business types, Fortnum’s regulars and those posh enough to actually live in the area. There was something of an uproar when it closed, we’re told, but the new restaurant has managed to charm them in the end, bringing a new, trendier wave of diners with it.
We were treated to a seat at the bar to sample their new cocktails, created by in-house mixologist Patrick using handmade and hand-picked ingredients (many of which have, unsurprisingly, come from the food hall in the department store next door), and to have a taste of their menu, which they describe as being classic… with the odd flourish of caviar.
The cocktail menu is unpretentious but not without character. We choose two from the ‘Rickies’ (long drinks made up of homemade syrups and acids blended with a dash of booze and their house soda). The No.16 (blackcurrant and lemon thyme) is summery and savoury, while the No.17 (sour cherry and orange tea cordial) is exactly as sweet and sour as we’d hoped it would be. From the cocktails list, the Negroni Inglese (that’s English Negroni, obvs) is fragrant and delicate, containing only ingredients sourced from UK soil. Equally good is the Earl Henry Sour – creamy, tart and citrusy.
Food-wise, we enjoy a fish taco which is probably nothing like the one you’re picturing as you read those words. More a mackerel tartare, the raw (and perfectly fresh) fish is dressed in velvety guacamole, yoghurt, lime and – wait for it – caviar, served in a crisp shell that’s more like a fried cracker. Lightly seared tuna is simple, well-balanced and delicate.
Go there for breakfast (the duck egg on marmite crumpets sound divine), keeping your eyes peeled for the caviar trolley which makes its way around the restaurant’s booths each morning, and stay through lunch for cocktails.
We The Food Snobs x