London’s second Villandry is a fine match for the listed, neo-baroque building it occupies on Waterloo Place – that handsome square where the crowds thin and the Edwardian elegance comes on strong just south of Piccadilly. A grand café in the European tradition, Villandry St James’s is defined by large windows (with Big Ben in their sights), high ceilings and a handsome marble staircase that takes groups up to its two private rooms. Drinks receptions in either are well served by a mezzanine-level private bar. Bigger parties can choose between the formal main restaurant space and more laid-back café – or just plump for exclusive use. The setting also works well for elegant Christmas parties, and has festive menus that start from £45pp, with turkey as the headline act.
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