Posted on Tuesday, 6th April 2010

Kettner’s owes its name to Auguste Kettner, who as chef to Napoleon III, opened up a restaurant 1867. A ‘Soho institution’ that has seen the likes of Agatha Christie and Oscar Wilde passing through its doors, the restaurant has been through several reincarnations including that of a pizza parlour. The latest transformation took place in 2008 when it was extensively refurbished in its current guise as a restaurant and champagne bar.

Interior designer Ilse Crawford has created a rococo-style décor which has been softened with muted lighting to maximise the allure of the various objets d’art that graces the grand dining room and champagne bar. Large windows allow a bird’s eye view of all the Soho street activity.

The food is French/European, and we started with a grilled quail with orange and pomegranate salad (£7). The quail was nicely cooked, leaving the flesh moist, but the skin had been charred to the point where it was slightly burnt. It was also very peppery, which left a heavy pepper aftertaste. The salad was fresh, but it was overwhelmed by too much orange dressing.

Grilled quail, orange & pomegranate salad

Grilled quail, orange & pomegranate salad

Another starter of pork & rabbit terrine with homemade piccadilli (£9) was pleasant but unremarkable.

Pork & rabbit terrine, homemade piccalilli

Pork & rabbit terrine, homemade piccalilli

A main of roast venison (£17) was tender and succulent. It was accompanied by a port and quince sauce that had a delicate sweetness. However the consistency of the sauce was too runny and further reduction would have served to intensify its flavour.

Roast venison, port & quince casserole

Roast venison, port & quince casserole

A roast cod (£14.50) was delightfully moist and flaky. However, the accompanying grain mustard sauce let the dish down as the strong use of mustard overpowered the delicacy of the cod. A side of potato and apple gratin was decent, although you couldn’t detect the taste of apple in it.

Roast cod, apple & potato gratin, grain mustard sauce

Roast cod, apple & potato gratin, grain mustard sauce

To finish, a steam ginger pudding with ginger anglaise (£6) had a delightful zingy ginger flavour. The anglaise was deliciously light and creamy, although the texture of the pudding was very dense and heavy.

Ginger pudding with ginger anglaise

Ginger pudding with ginger anglaise

A dessert listed as champagne granite (£7) on the dessert menu unexpectedly turned out to be a fruit salad that had been topped with champagne granite, rather than a whole serving of granite. The dessert was refreshing, but being fruit salad, it was, well, fruit salad.

Champagne granita

Champagne granita

Service was friendly and pleasant.

Overall, this was a rather average meal. There were some aspects of the cooking which demonstrated good skills, but no one plate gelled to produce a complete dish that was fully satisfying. As a one off it was fine to try, but Kettner’s isn’t a place I would choose to frequent again. The champagne bar looks gorgeous though, so it might be a nice place just for a drink.


Summary information

Food rating: [xrr rating=2.5/5]
Service rating: [xrr rating=3/5]

Price range: Three courses – £23 to £38. Excludes drinks and service.


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6 Responses to “Kettner’s”

  1. Gourmet Chick Says...

    The quail salad looks great – I love pomengranate- pity they burnt it and that the rest of your meal was so average

  2. thatssoron Says...


  3. clive @ Says...

    So many of the more well known restaurants in Central London seem to be under performing at the moment.Not many seem to be serving consistently top notch food but only average as your review suggests.Its nice sometimes to find a smaller restaurant local restaurant perhaps with a chef/proprietor where they actually care about what is served to customers

  4. Liz Says...

    Kettners used to be fabulous – a kind of upmarket Pizza Express but with atmosphereand a champagne bar! We’d go there for birthdays and other celebrations in the private rooms and the younger generation started to come along too. It was perfect for 10 years old upwards – food they would eat and grown up surroundings which made them feel special.

    But now – it’s just another pretentious brasserie. I don’t mind the decor although it’s not to my taste, but even I don’t fancy much on the menu, never mind the kids!

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