Wiltons review: Working Lunch at this Jermyn Street institution where Queen Victoria used to get her oysters

 
Melissa York
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Wiltons

55 Jermyn St, SW1Y

WHAT AND WHERE? This old charmer celebrates its 275th birthday this year with a commemorative green plaque from Westminster City Council. Sitting on stylish Jermyn Street in Piccadilly, it currently boasts six Royal Warrants, but was famously Queen Victoria’s favourite place to get oysters. Expect plush booths with velvet cushions and a proliferation of oil paintings.

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WHAT’S THE DEAL? The set lunch menu changes with the seasons, but it’s generally £35 for two courses or £43 for three courses, each with three dishes to choose from.

WHAT’S ON THE MENU? It’s spring, so expect lots of sprightly green veg. Good luck resisting the waft of meaty juices that unfurl from the carving trolley, a treat that’s only available at lunchtime. Right now, it’s lamb, served with mint sauce, gravy and spectacular homemade roast potatoes. Other options include a parsley crusted cod, with a side of sweet pepper sauce and a rich wild mushroom risotto, an unimaginative vegetarian main – and it’s your only option on the set and a la carte menus – but it’s exquisitely rich and more substantial than it looks.

WHAT SHOULD I ORDER? The burrata was shown up by its courgette, artichoke and olive accompaniment, but the smoked eel starter is what Wiltons does best. Fresh British seafood, simply served with a garnish, soda bread and a horseradish sauce with real depth. Two slices of lamb – delectable and theatrically sliced at the table – are exactly as advertised. Compliment your meat and potatoes with a side of pickled cucumber salad instead of greens. It’s a marriage made in heaven.

ROOM FOR DESSERT? The apple crumble is a stodger for this season. Go for the ice cream, which is made in house – the blood orange sorbet comes heartily recommended – or attack the cheeseboard. There are three delightfully smelly blues and a Cornish yarg that’s worth your time. Cheese will cost extra, though.

NEED TO BOOK? Yes, it was relatively rammed for a Monday lunchtime. Book at wiltons.co.uk or call 020 7629 9955.

THE VERDICT... A top location and immaculate service makes Wiltons a reliably classy and comfortable experience. An ideal place in which to indulge your inner Victorian dandy.

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