37 Eccleston Square
Tel: 020 3489 1001
Comfortably sitting within a terrace of opulent houses that would not look out of place in Upstairs Downstairs you will find the Eccleston Square Hotel. It is unassuming but somehow rather grand. As you walk in it hits you that this place has been exquisitely decorated. Muted grays and creams swathe you with clean lines while accomplishing a nod to the building’s past.
The restaurant, situated on the entrance level up a few grand steps is all calm and tranquil. Our visit coincided with few others so it was very quiet and as a result lacked the sort of hum that makes a restaurant more relaxing.
A-M was impressed with the decor as well and pointed out the use of colour had achieved a calmness. We sat in the window (probably the best table) and perused the smallish menu. To assist with this we sipped a good Kir Royale cocktail. Why is it always so hard to get the raspberry at the bottom of the glass out?
A-M and I have exactly the same tastes it turns out. She wanted the Burrata, tomato, and Parma ham and walnut salad and so did I. She won as I am or at least try to be a gentleman. I had my second choice, spiced squid and prawn fritters with sweet chilli sauce. I was expecting the fritters to be spicy but they weren’t the sauce was. They tasted fine and freshly cooked they were presented in one of those ‘pretend’ deep-frying baskets and fake sheet of newspaper.
A-M’s salad was good with the burrata and walnuts forming that perfect uncomfortable marriage of hard and soft quite amiably. We were served by Marco an Italian who has been in London for two years. His graceful ways seemed to complement the pace of our evening. He became more animated when we chatted to him about his homeland. Mind you I’ve never met an Italian who doesn’t.
The mains were full of flavour and with one small exception very good. A-M continued her “I thought of it first” routine and picked ‘my’ main. A Moroccan spiced lamb tagine with lemon and coriander couscous and an excellent pomegranate laced slaw. I rather fancied a salad with my 28 day aged rib eye that was coming with fries and a small cluster of watercress. So I asked for a side salad.
The food came and the salad was frankly disappointingly tiny and bereft of any individuality, the steak on the other hand was very good as was the béarnaise that came with it. A-M was keeping quiet about her main, I tasted it and could see why – she had lucked out again. The smooth and richly succulent lamb was a winner and I award it dish of the evening, the accompaniments all working in unison.
Oscar Wilde used to hold salon picnics in the gardens of Eccleston Square. The residents all have a key to access their own green space; this privilege is extended to those staying at the hotel. Although I don’t think you have to be as witty as Oscar or a prolific playwright it is nice to know you can escape to your own bit of green.
The dessert menu is short and although A-M was filling up (she’s tiny so I have no idea where it all goes) chose the test of all pastry chefs – chocolate fondant. I was trying to be good so ordered a fruit salad with sorbet. The salad was generous and full of lovely colourful fruit with a slightly sweet but still delicious citrus sorbet. A-M’s fondant was a near triumph. The chocolate had already started its escape before the plate arrived at the table so the presentation was not what it might have been. But it did taste good and had a gooiness that you know is bad for you.
Eccleston Square promises the style of a high-class boutique hotel and that it does deliver on many levels. The staff are polite and the food is pretty good on the whole, with a few tweaks and a little more care with presentation it could be much better. The location though is top notch. Sharing the same post-code as Jimmy Choo, Burberry and Tom Ford to name just a few can’t be a bad thing and just a short walk from Victoria station makes it all the more appealing. The one thing I did learn about having an evening out with A-M is next time I’m going to choose from the menu first!