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London restaurants: Dean Street Townhouse spearheads a nursery food revival

If you want to stay in central London there are few better locations than the ineffably cool Dean Street Townhouse hotel, the latest opening from the Soho House group.

But given you’ve got some of London’s hottest restaurants on your doorstep such as Bocca di Lupo, Polpo, Hix and Quo Vadis, is it worth eating in-house?

The punters obviously think so. On an icy January night it was hard to get a table after 6.30pm and the restaurant was packed.

Not that the fashionistas gracing the bar were doing much eating; possibly they were envisaging what steamed ginger sponge and rice pudding might do to their skin-tight jeans.

Or maybe it was the lure of the room, which is utterly gorgeous – warm, clubby and lit with guttering candles that drip in a fetchingly Georgian way onto their holders.

The food is mainly gentleman’s club with a few modish twists such as scallops with ‘three cornered’ garlic (whatever that is) and salt beef with caraway dumplings.

You can even have mince and boiled potatoes, which I resisted in favour of a Townhouse mixed grill – a strapping plateful of steak, lamb chop, liver, kidney, sausage and bacon, let down by a bizarre bubble and squeak with large chunks of apple in it.

A couple of other dishes disappointed. A chicken, bacon and leek pie looked handsome with its blackbird pie funnel and crust wrapped fashionably over the top of its serving bowl but the filling was floury and overcooked.

Chips tasted as if they had been frozen. But a stylish Queen of Puddings with a piped meringue topping was spot on, as was an airy twice-baked haddock soufflé stylishly served with chive butter sauce in a silver sauceboat.

Chaps would certainly do better at their club when it comes to the respectable but slightly dull winelist (wines by the glass are particularly cheekily priced). But food and wine is not really what the DST is about. It’s a scene, and a very glamorous one at that.

Dean Street Townhouse

69 Dean Street

London, W1D 4QJ

020 7434 1775


What to eat: High tea (which includes Scotch egg and caper mayonnaise and Keen’s crumpets with picalilli) might be a better bet than dinner. Though leave room for the steamed ginger sponge

What to drink: In such a clubby atmosphere one feels one should be drinking claret. The Château des Gravieres 2005 is a modestly priced pick

Who to take: schoolboys during their half term break. Posh totty. (Don’t make the mistake of taking elderly relatives who will be shocked at the cost of the rice pudding (an inexplicable £6.25)

The damage? About £35 a head for food

Rating: 5/10 (though 10/10 for ambiance and candles)


10 unachievable

8-9 unmissable

6-7 enjoyable

4-5 feasible

0-3 unthinkable

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Written by Fiona Beckett

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