It's Father's Day. We've left it until the last minute. Every where is fully booked. Bugger. Bugger. Bugger!
What does Dad like....? Jazz.... and wine.... and food.
Google search: Jazz Wine Food.
Top Result: Jazz Brunch at Fortunum and Mason's Fountain Restaurant.
Yelp search: 3 stars. Umm... aaah.... Book it. Too late to find any where else!
Phew! It was all, in a word, LOVELY.
Relaxed, not pretentious. 1st class service, attentive and friendly. Great musicians, who weren't overpowering conversation. Delicious food and a superb choice of rare teas and coffees. (Ended up having the best coffee of my life - Jamacian Blue Mountain)
At £125 for three for lunch (including wine, coffee and desert) , value for money isn't the words I use. But I, and most importantly - my Dad, had a wonderful memorable Father's Day here.
Upsides: great food, great service, touch of class that gives everything a sense of occasion. Out of this world coffee, and a great Eggs Benedict.
Downsides: Jazz duo took 2 breaks during our 1 1/2 hour sitting which was a bit dissappointing as what sold it to us was the "jazz" element of this brunch. Slightly too pricey to want to rush back.
If it sounds like the kind of place you'd like to go - book ahead. Many groups of people got turned away, despite a less than sold out restaurant just because they didn't book.
Whilst visiting Fortnum & Mason we enjoyed lunch at The Fountain Restaurant. A bright, airy and beautiful restaurant found on the ground level where I enjoyed a late lunch of what I know as a UK staple, fish and chips.
The meal started with a beautiful bread offering of which I chose the rustic rosemary apricot bread. An tasty work of art with dried apricots, figs and rosemary spotted throughout the slice. Savory yet sweet! My favorite part of the meal :)
My meal was a large, generous piece of breaded fish with a healthy side of fries and smashed peas. To me the breading was far to thick and overpowered the flaky white fish. About half way through, I ended up peeling off the breading and eating the fish sans breading. While just a small spoonful, the smashed peas were too grassy tasting and could have used a touch of salt.
The service was friendly and prompt and our food came out quickly and hot.
Terrible Service and high prices
We ordered from our waitress. We got the first course we ordered. Then we had to ask them to bring the wine. Then things got worse. Our waitress left. Maybe it was the end of her shift. Maybe she had an emergency. We'll never know. We waited and waited. Finally, I got up and went into the kitchen where I was told that I couldn't get my own food. I said that someone should bring it. The main course arrived. It was still warm and I was hungry. Never again.
The menu features English classics -- both Eaton Mess and Sticky Toffee Pudding were on the dessert menu the last time I was there. Everything is well prepared and, being Fortnam and Mason, uses very fine ingredients. The room is light and bright despite the fact that it is below the ground floor. The staff is polite and attentive.
Although the prices are a bit high, after 7pm there is a three course menu for £25 that includes a half a bottle of wine. It is an excellent value.
Had dinner at The Fountain after some gift shopping in the store. The lamb with summer vegetables was the best lamb I had ever tasted. Service was very friendly and prompt.
Just after I ordered I accidentally dropped the gift I had purchased and it broke on the floor. The restaurant staff immediately came over, saw what had happened (my own fault, really), and very graciously offered to have the gift replaced. In 5 minutes the replacement arrived. I was flabbergasted by their kindness.
Very good food, prompt service, and a staff willing to go beyond common courtesy to be helpful.
The Welsh Rarebit was really good as was the risotto. The other items were okay. Service was okay but nothing special. I thought the interior would be a bit nicer. It looked a bit old considering the rest of this building looks a lot nicer.
Welsh Rarebit Fortnum's famous rarebit with herbed tomato & back bacon £9.00 / £15.00
Heritage Tomatoes, Sea Salt & Olive Oil £4.00
Poached Atlantic Char Cucumber salad, Keta caviar & poached egg £16.00
Butternut Squash Risotto £12.00
We dined here for lunch and weren't terribly impressed. It's very spendy and the food isn't anything memorable
The seafood pie I got was not very seafoody. It was very very rich which I didn't really enjoy, but that's a matter of preference. One of the girls enjoyed their salade, and the other remarked that her meal was only "okay." The chips were tasty but over salted.
They do have Pimm's Vodka Cup, and the by-the-glass champagne selection is worth noting, but everything seems overpriced. The service was not overly attentive, but reasonably prompt with the exception of my Pimm's which inexplicably required the assistance of a manager to prepare. I know because we were seated at the bar without being asked if the bar would be an acceptable dining location.
I wouldn't recommend it.
I came here quite a while back, so the actual details of what I ate are slightly fuzzy. What I do remember however, is the warmth the food gave me, on what I do remember being quite a cold day.
It is very old school hearty English, such as Grilled Mackerel, with Sauteed Potatoes, Smoked Bacon and Caper Dressing, Game Casserole, Calves Liver with Mashed Potato and Fish Pie.
Such sweet delights as Blackberry Fool and Fruit Crumble are on the dessert menu.
However, it isn't cheap here, which is its only downfall as the food is charming and the staff very hospitable.
The ice cream was good and all...but expensive and the service was terrible!!!
To begin, we asked our waiter what the "apple crumble" ice cream was like. His answer? "Like regular apple ice cream."
My friend and I each order a flight of ice cream, and each receive a wrong flavor. When we inquired as to why our ice cream did not contain ANY of the advertised ingredients (suggesting that perhaps we had been given the wrong flavor) he replied "we don't make the ice cream here, it's shipped from off site." RIGHT. but...okay....he leaves.
A few minutes later I DO find a bonus ingredient, it is a macadamia. Meaning: it was a different flavor. Thank goodness neither of us had food allergies...12% discretionary tip? Nope. I can get cheaper ice cream, in the correct flavor, and way less attitude at the grocery store...
Credit crunch what credit crunch? The unabashedly traditional Fountain Restaurant at Fortnum & Mason has received a recent makeover, but don't imagine it has come over all modernistic.
We kindly request that both sexes lean more towards elegance, reads the dress code and that slightly Violet Bucket/Bouquet tone permeates the place.
I was taken there as the (business) guest of a man who makes me look sprightly (takes some doing) and both of us had the pleasant experience of feeling foolishly young for a change.
A Caesar Salad during Sunday Brunch will set you back 15 quid and a cup of tea will cost you a fiver. If you can afford to fork out a three-figure bill to have a bit of a giggle at maiden aunts and aging lotharios struggling to rescue their gnashers from the sirloin steak, then go for it.
This is my second afternoon tea excursion in London. The first, about two years ago, was at The Ritz. And I must be honest, The Ritz knocks Fortnum and Mason into a cocked hat.
However, you cannot book The Ritz at a week's notice (you probably can't even book it at a month's notice). You can't book any of the five star hotels at a week's notice. Fortnum and Mason you can. So to Fortnum and Mason we went.
We went for the "Classic Afternoon Tea" which, for £32 a head, gets you a selection of canapes, sandwiches, cakes and scones. And lots of tea. The food is very tasty - with special mention to the clotted cream and jam. However, to drag out the comparison again, I have never tasted scones as delicious as those served in The Ritz and these don't even come close. That said, they are nice.
The room itself is a large, soft-carpeted, bright but basic restaurant which has a bar, waiter/esses wandering about and a pianist tinkling in the corner. It's all very tasteful, if not quite as luxurious as one may expect from a department store like Fortnum and Mason.
The service was attentive and prompt although that's about it. The atmosphere reasonable. For a fairly last minute choice (I booked a week beforehand) it served perfectly well. Though compared to the quality received elsewhere for a similar price this would not be my first choice.
A bright airy room welcomes people as they enter from the old fashioned staircases, or the more modern elevators. Instead of a formal dining room, the room is best described as more of a lounge, with small tea tables and comfy sofas stretching out from end to end. There's just enough room for privacy, and their pianist helps adds some light background noise to the place.
Afternoon tea isn't particular cheap here, though you aren't really disappointed by the quality. On the champagne afternoon tea, we could choose between some sort of Brut or Rose, and the type of tea we'd like. The sandwiches and scones arrive without asking but you're once again offered a selection of cakes to choose from to finish your meal off. All of the small bites are perfect enough to nibble on throughout the afternoon conversation and the comfy chairs makes it too easy to kick back and relax.
Obviously afternoon tea is one of those classic British traditions and I could tell from the other clientèle that some had been coming to these things for years. Don't let the average age stop you from coming and enjoying the atmosphere. It's really worth it.
We chose High Tea in the St James Restaurant as a birthday treat for a good friend before going on to a show - we booked our table for 16:30.
When the lift door opened it revealed a light open lounge style area with lots of comfortable low seating with a piano being played in the background.
Our reservation was checked and we were shown to our table (they did forget to take our coats but when asked someone did so immediately). There is a gluten free menu which suited one of our group - there were also menus for people with other dietary needs.
There was a choice of tea to drink and coffee was available too and more tea was brought when we had finished our first pot.
All the food was lovely - we had canapes followed by a cooked course. Then there were scones and cakes - we couldn't finish all the cakes and they were packed up for us in lovely F&M boxes so we could take them with us to finish later - super!
I'd be more than happy to go again and I'd make a reservation to ensure a table. We we probably there for a couple of hours and it really felt as if we could take our time - a lovely thing to do before going to the show.
I went to the St James's Restaurant not for afternoon tea but for lunch, and I have to say the experience was excellent.
The food was reasonably expensive (£26 for a 2 course meal, with £4.50 for coffee and mints on top). However for this the quality was very good. I ordered lemon sole and got a large piece of fish, in a really yummy sauce with veg. The food was good quality and the flavours were lovely and vivid. For pudding I had a chocolate tasting menu - mini chocolate mousse, brownie and pear with chocolate sauce - yum.
As the previous reviewer has written, one of the best things about this restaurant is the fact that it feels so spacious. There is lots of space between each of the tables, meaning that you can enjoy your lunch in peace.
They only downside is that they could do with more ladies toilets - they only have 2.
This is quite a nice place for a bit to eat. My husband loves it there but to be honest I find the menu a bit limited. Veddy, veddy British though! It's great to go for the atmoshpere though and while the menu for me is a bit limited, I can always find something to eat!
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