Last Updated on December 27, 2018 by Fiona Maclean
Seven Park Place – Small but Perfectly Formed:
William Drabble, perhaps inspired by his Norfolk upbringing, has long been known as a champion of seasonal local produce – even before it was fashionable to cook that way. And, it’s served him well, Seven Park Place, the fine dining restaurant at St James’s Hotel and Club has held a Michelin Star for seven years without a break and has four AA rosettes. I was delighted, on my recent staycation, to be invited to try the food for myself. With the added bonus of only having to walk upstairs at the end of the meal to go to bed…
We’d started in the bar with cocktails before moving into the exclusive and stunningly appointed restaurant, Seven Park Place. I was particularly impressed at the comfort and privacy of each seating area. Even before we started to eat, I could tell that this would be a luxurious experience.
We picked the Menu Gourmand (£87) and were happy to let the Sommelier match the wines for us. There are three levels of wine pairing, starting at £55 and there’s also a juice pairing for those who don’t want alcohol.
The hand dived scallop had a delicate sear and came served with a puree of Jerusalem artichokes, an artichoke crisp, Madeira jus and a touch of Perigord truffle. Very dainty despite the truffle and perfectly cooked, we enjoyed the pairing with a Reisling, Weinbach Sylvaner 2015, which was light and slightly fruity.
We carried on with the same wine to pair with the warm salad of poached native lobster tail which followed. This came with a mixture of white and green asparagus, a little potato, arugula and some very fresh herbs. The lobster tail was delicious, served off the shell and perfectly cooked so that it was well flavoured and not in the least chewy.
Seared foie gras with rhubarb is the sort of dish that gets awards. Two small slices of poached asparagus, a ginger crumb, a mouthful of rhubarb coulis and some neat touches of sweet ginger sauce were plated with a portion of just-seared, foie gras with a perfectly caramelised exterior and a soft, melting middle.
For this dish, a sweet wine, il Palazzino’s Vinsanto. The wine is made from white Malvasia di Toscana grapes along with a very small amount of Trebbiano Toscano and the result of traditional drying and then five years in barrel. An excellent choice to pair with the foie gras, it seemed a little less sweet than the normal sauternes, but every bit as delicious.
Next a griddled fillet of seabass with celeriac and apple puree and with a roasted celeriac emulsion with Perigord truffle. Cooked faultlessly, my only complaint is that after the richness of the foie gras I struggled to taste the truffle here. This cooking is subtle, there were tiny rounds of apple and a couple of small pieces of celeriac to add texture to the dish.
Our wine was a Sicilian white, Tenuto Terrenere Etna Bianco 2014. The predominant grape variety here, an indigenous Carricante has been growing on the slopes of Mt. Etna for centuries and the wine is made from old vines. It’s lovely to drink, a beautifully balanced white, and it paired perfectly with the sea bass.
Saddle of venison was served with a juniper jus, parsnip puree, potato fondant and red cabbage. Classic flavour combinations that work. The rare venison was beautifully tender and I loved the touch of bitterness added by the juniper. And of course, the dish was once again plated exquisitely.
We both enjoyed the Tesa la Monja Victorino Toro, a Tempranillo from Toro in Castilla y Leon Spain. It’s a rich wine with plenty of tannins and a great pairing with the venison and juniper.
If we’d been feeling hungry there were cheeses available. I wonder if anyone DOES add in the cheese course.
Next to arrive for us was a pre-dessert of white chocolate and lime ganache with pineapple sorbet, chunks of fresh pineapple and a tiny biscuit.
Then, this picture on a plate, a dark chocolate cremeaux and sponge with marinated blood orange, blood orange sorbet and ginger foam.
Little disks of chocolate added extra texture to one of my favourite desserts ever. With this a Mas Amiel vintage reserve 2010 sweet wine.
I ordered coffee and, despite really being far too full to eat anymore, was more than happy to indulge in some of the pretty petits fours we were offered
It was the end of an excellent meal – one which I hope I have an occasion to repeat soon, for a special event or just because…
We were guests of St James’s Hotel and Club and of Seven Park Place
If you are looking for one of the most intimate fine dining experiences in London do check out Seven Park Place – or pin this post for later
Seven Park Place
St James’s Hotel and Club,
7-8 Park Place,
London SW1A 1LS
St James’s Hotel and Club is part of the Althoff collection of hotels and a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.