Launched last month, St Luke’s Kitchen at Library Private Members Club is hidden in the basement, past piles of books that give this town house a sophisticated, homely vibe. Head Chef, Gavin Lambert offers grown-up greens as part of ingredient combinations that you wouldn’t normally pair together. Yet, the result was pleasantly surprising…
Words: Rachel Mantock
The interior is all shades of rich blue, with a deep greenish cyan colour on the walls and royal navy velvet covering the plush seats, opposite dark wooden ones with Victorian wall lights that mimic candles overhead and detailed, brassy ceiling trims. At your table, your menu is presented inside a classic book, which I thought was rather cute and charming, although you don’t get to keep it, which my friend was playfully disappointed about.
Their warm salad of tiger prawns and king oyster mushrooms with mustard dressing was not your usual salad, with vegetables that held their distinctive taste in your mouth for longer than expected, combining with the flavours of the oysters, prawns and mustard to deliver something unusual yet pleasing.
The star of this dinner experience had to be the pan fried sea bass and chard with speck and lentil dressing, with the lentils winning the top spot in my taste memory as the best lentils I have ever tasted. The sea bass accompanied the vegetables rather than the other way around, which I found enjoyable. The sheer focus the chef and his team give to the smallest of details doesn’t go unnoticed, elevating their food offerings into a league of their own.
The drinks menu is separated into flavour segments, with ‘long, refreshing and palate cleansing’ concoctions at the top of the list, bulging into the more rich and full bodied wines towards the middle before blooming into the more zingy, mint and botanical hints. It’s like drinking a garden in, bit by bit; with all the taste nuances dancing and singing together harmoniously down the back of your throat, with not a step out of place or a note out of tune.
The dimly lit restaurant does a great job of creating a sophisticated atmosphere with a calm ambiance that allows you to relax, letting the stresses of the work week float away. The wait staff are there but not there, with water magically reappearing in your glass and wine that never ends, clearly having mastered the skill of being exceptionally attentive without disturbing your conversation or being over keen.
Our waiter at St Luke’s Kitchen is my favourite type of waiter; knows what you want before you even ask, quick and resourceful, knowing when to suggest options and knowing when you clearly have your mind set on something.
It’s a bit of a maze when entering in and exiting out of St Luke’s if you do not have someone to show you the way, but this humoured me after a few glasses of wine leading me to view the entire building as this whimsical mismatch of an old house that probably has secret rooms and passage ways.
Three courses, excluding drinks, around £40
Privacy and something different
What to eat…
Pan fried sea bass, chard, speck and lentil dressing
What to know…
Their brunch menu is fantastic, with everything under £10
112 St Martin’s Lane WC2N 4BD; 020 3302 7912; lib-rary.com