Restaurant review: Kettner’s, Soho

The dining area at Kettner's

The dining area at Kettner's - Credit: Archant

In the heart of Soho sits one of London’s oldest restaurants that has been turned into a 1930s-themed brasserie offering up modern European dishes and delicious cocktails.

Kettner’s opened in 1867 by Auguste Kettner, who was chef to Napoleon III and has seen the likes of Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie, Bing Crosby and now me, come through its doors.

As well as a large restaurant, complete with huge white piano, there is a chic cocktail bar boasting one of the capital’s longest champagne lists and seven private dining rooms upstairs.

On arrival, we were greeted by a friendly front of house who showed us to our seats. The decor is “shabby chic” – distressed white wooden chairs, mahogany surfaces, chandeliers and antique rugs.

The menu doesn’t throw up any surprises – classic brasserie fair, including beef bourbuignon, veal cordon bleu and chicken liver parfait to name a few. We had beef carpaccio and the parfait to start. Both were delicious and well-executed, not to mention generous.

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But the Millionaire’s Martinis – how apt for a lowly paid journalist – had got our appetites going. Made with Sipsmith gin, dry Martini and champagne it was just the ticket for a Monday.

For the main courses, we were torn between the stone bass, duck breast and the pollock. In the end I went for the duck – perfectly moist and served very rare, as it should be, with gratin potatoes and wilted spinach.

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My friend chose the stone bass which came with squid ink tagliolini, prawns and mussels in a buttery sauce. Also excellent and would definitely choose again.

The puddings were the only slight let down. I wasn’t tempted by the choices on offer to start with. We decided to try the dark chocolate and pear tart. It was a little too sweet for my taste, but the pear sorbet it was served with was light and refreshing and a welcome contrast to the super rich chocolate.

All of the desserts come with recommended wine pairings. These too are not exactly on the small side but at £7.50 a glass you could say it’s good value for money.

I liked how the wine list was divided up: savoury & fruity; warm & spicy; silky & fine; intense & mouth filling. Finally a wine list for people who know nothing about grape varieties.

Kettner’s is a safe bet if you’re looking for pre or post theatre dining offering good quality French cuisine and excellent service.

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