We have been meaning to go to Kettners for a long time now; for dinner and even more so for the ‘Herr Kettner’s’ 1940’s Berlin inspired nights. We had finally got round to going for lunch with a couple of friends. Situated on a corner of Soho this restaurant was originally a series of four Georgian town houses, Kettner’s was popular with Oscar Wilde, Edward VII, Lillie Langtry, Agatha Christie and Bing Crosby.
We walked in the bright glamorous hall way and gave our names for a booking; I suddenly remembered that I had forgot to book! Playing it cool I said that I had done it online (which I had tried in my defense but an error occurred and I meant to call up). We were taken into the large airy L shaped room which was painted a peppermint green and white with plenty of mirrors to increase the feeling of space.
We were seated around the corner past the bar on green velvet benches and wooden tables with wooden chairs on the other side. It was incredibly empty and I wondered why – I expect it is because this is more renowned for a evening restaurant that is a little naughty but nice (it is renowned for its risqué parties).
We ordered a glass of red malbec by the foreign waitress who had issues understanding us (and visa versa). We went for the express lunch menu which consisted of six simple dishes for main and a selection of desserts for a set menu. Three of us ordered rump steak (two mediums and a rare) with chips and fish and chips. With my steak I asked for vegetables or salad instead of chips. The waitress has trouble digesting this information but we finally go there. I was little disappointed with the express menu options as they were all very traditionally English and a little old fashioned.
The dishes came out fairly quickly but I was served chips with my steak instead of salad or vegetables. The waitress looked at me as if I had made this up and went back out to get a salad. The salad took a good five minutes to do even though it was made up of just lettuce and a fresh dressing and there were no other people dining in the restaurant apart from two together couples. The steaks were very small but I guess that is to be expected as it was lunch. The main disappointment was how it was cooked, my rare steak was medium to well done and the medium steak we asked for was so tough it was like eating an old boot. The fish and chips were the best choice with a thin crisp batter and juicy white flesh. It was served with crispy thick chips.
We were muttering under our breath about the waitress lack of common sense (I ordered mustard and she came back with mayonnaise) and the manager came over to us. He was a big Italian looking man who was very friendly but succeeded to ruffle my feathers as he slapped the two men who were sitting opposite us on the backs asking us how it was. We mentioned about the tough steaks and he apologised and said we could have the desserts free; despite the back slapping at least he had the business sense to make us feel slightly better about our choice of restaurant. We ordered crème brulee, ice cream and sorbet. I asked about the flavours of sorbet and had clue about what they were when the waitress rattled them off so I just asked for a selection. As luck may have it the selection of apple, strawberry and a fruit I had never heard of (or more likely the waitress couldn’t pronounce in English) was delicious, fresh, zingy and tasty. The ice creams; caramel and salted caramel were lovely but for both the sorbet and ice cream we are unsure if home made. The crème brulee had a nice caramalised layer and was speckled with vanilla seeds – all in all the desserts were a success. The manger then came over and slapped the boys on the back again – I visibly cringed and we said our thank you’s and paid the bill swiftly.
The food was a little of a letdown and the service was appalling but I still fancy their famous party nights. As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls give Kettners:
Food Atmosphere Service