February 5, 2007

7-9 St James’s Street; 020 7321 2111;


(January 2007) London’s weather was dreary and cold the day we arrived at our Quintess apartment at 5 St James’s Street. Lunch was our first order of business, and since it was already late, we wanted to eat close by. At 7 St. James’s, @venue was the perfect choice. At lunch, they offer a two-course menu at £19.95 or three courses for £21.95£. For Varian, the day dictated a hearty soup, and the pureed lentil, chestnut and bacon soup clearly filled the bill. Gary’s butternut squash risotto with parmesan and fried sage was just the comfort food he needed. For our second, and only other course, Varian tucked into a braised beef with herb dumplings that just fell off the bone, while Gary savored his perfectly cooked pork chop with roasted vegetables.Our 2003 Chianti Classico at £34 was a good choice with these dishes.The restaurant is more to see and be seen than to have a gourmet experience. The food is acceptable but not inspired. However, the space is the real star with its double height ceilings and floor to ceiling windows out onto the street. On the walls, there are large modern paintings hanging in various heights on the white walls. The staff wears unisex blue aprons, white shirts and neckties with dark pants. Service is efficient.

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