This bright and chic brasserie tucked away in London’s St James’s offers refined respite from the busy shopping thoroughfare of Piccadilly
Dukes London is everything you’d hope a five-star boutique hotel in London would be: grown-up, stylish, welcoming and ever so discreet.
So it seems fitting that the latest revelation in the hotel’s overhaul is its wonderful all-day brasserie, GBR (which, fittingly, stands for Great British Restaurant).
Open from morning through night and offering everything from inventive bar snacks to afternoon tea and modern British fare, it is the latest venture of Norfolk-born executive head chef Nigel Mendham, who has previously worked in some of Britain’s best kitchens, including at country house Stapleford Park and The Lygon Arms in the Cotswolds.
What strikes you first as you enter the restaurant through the elegant hallway, is the huge amount of light that floods the room, immediately setting it apart from many of the capital’s stuffy hotel restaurants.
Everything about Dukes seems to whisper understated elegance and this room is no different: it’s like entering a private members’ club, except this one doesn’t have a snooty hostess on the front desk.
But enough about the setting, what about the food? Ah, where to begin?
The sausage rolls, consisting of spicy lamb merguez and minted cucumber yoghurt, were every bit as delicious as they sound. And the South Coast Plaice with burnt leek crumb, cockles and rock samphire was so tasty that I found myself savouring every last mouthful. Even the side dishes that we ordered – cauliflower cheese, and broccoli with pancetta and almond, were thoughtfully put together.
And the best bit? It won’t break the bank. The all-day set menu (until 6pm, which conveniently includes that South Coast Plaice), provides two courses for £19 and three for £25.
We haven’t tried the afternoon tea but with sandwiches such as gammon with tomato chutney alongside classics such as coronation chicken, it is definitely one for our wish list.
Dukes Hotel is one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Opening hours at GBR: breakfast 7am-11am; Brunch/lunch 11am-6pm; afternoon tea 2pm-6pm; dinner 6pm-10.30pm (Monday-Saturday).