Glass reviews the new weekend menu at 45 Jermyn St.

REINVENTING restaurants is often a tall order but Fortnum & Mason has undergone a bright new facelift of late. October to be precise, so not so recently, and their ground floor restaurant, formerly The Fountain to be even more specific. Once loved by regulars and unfortunately not so much by restaurant critics, the restaurant – one of six in the this luxury British institution – sits on the ground floor sandwiched behind shiny jars of conserve and the barrel tins of stem ginger biscuits. Relics of its past won’t be found in here and neither will be any reference to biscuit barrels or their duck egg blue shopping bags.

Now reincarnated as 45 Jermyn S., Martin Brudnizki who’s fitted out notable restaurants such as The Ivy’s well-documented revival late last year has thrown out the old and boldly brought in the new – burnt orange leather banquets frame tables and starched table clothes have been given the boot and a more informally smart approach has been ushered in. Staff are perfectly coiffured, the nod to informally is pressed with blue painter jackets.

The weekend is when 45 Jermyn St. comes into its own – service starts early and continues until late. It boasts a new menu dedicated to Bloody Marys – on a printed slip over the sometimes stuffy style of binding a wine menu – and in a new bold graphic style that doesn’t go unnoticed.

Dirty mary and virtous maryA Dirty Mary and a Virtous mary. Photograph: David Loftus

45 Jermyn St. hasn’t forgotten its classy roots though, starting the ocean parade as a means to go on, we compared the Morcambe Bay against the Marennes D’Oléron rock oysters – the former being supremely sweeter and a second round hard to avoid – followed quickly by an entourage of dressed Portland crab sitting on a grated salad of carrot, parsley and topped with shaved boiled egg, the crisp raw salad lifting the plate, along side a luxuriously heavier lobster benedict. A plate of Wye Valley asparagus balanced out the earthy tones to our crustacean based afternoon.

Lobster BenedictLobster Benedict. Photograph: David Loftus

You often find that many restaurants at this standard who have a wine selection to boast about will do exactly that and I’m often very grateful. Taking our waiters lead we were guided to an Lebanese Château Musar, deep gold in colour and interestingly full in body and character for a white but well paired with our crab and lobster – a stop after lunch to Fortnum’s wine store has kept the Château Musar party going ever since.

A crispy fillet of seabass with panzanella and seaweed was well revived, as was the Dorset crab linguine. The Glenarm estate sirloin and Goosnargh chicken for two both came recommended, but it’s rare that I find more dishes than will fill me up tempting and this new menu was good at appealing to my greedier side. When I return the pine nut scallops, smoked salmon on soda bread and scrambling prawns will certainly be mine.

When a waiter suggests something more than once, I often find it’s rude to ignore so rounding off the indulgent Saturday afternoon we beckoned in the sweet delights to round it all off.  A Piña Colada colada coupe – essentially an affogato without the coffee but with sweet boozy alcohol on fresh zingy sorbet – sat deliciously alongside a few dark truffles.

Victoria coupe

Victoria coupe. Photograph: David Loftus

Fortnum & Mason has changed it shoes for a smarter cooler version in this restaurant, keeping an eye on its classic roots and small details but jumping leaps ahead with a menu and setting that’s not easy to forget.

by Stephanie Clair

45 Jermyn St., St. James, London, SW1 6DN. Tel: +44 (0) 207 205 4545 Instagram: @45JermynSt

The weekend menu is served: Saturdays 12:00 – 17:00 and Sundays 12:00 – 16:30

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