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39 James Street
0207 9933 3257
It might feel like London is full of Jason Atherton’s Socials, but James Street was sorely in need of a restaurant that prizes quality as well as conviviality, and this is it. Customers enter through a wine shop and tasting area dedicated to executive sommelier Laure Patry’s eagle-eyed finds, then head down to the cellar bar where wine is everywhere – even, via a recorded soundtrack, in the toilets. It’s dark and masculine, but service is warm, and the food is a mixture of trad tapas and elevated ideas. Creamy piquillo croquetas and sweet, oily pan con tomate are difficult to beat, though crispy duck egg with artichoke and grated truffle comes close. Readers also recommend the “awesome” lamb fillet with char-grilled celeriac, cucumber and yoghurt, “genuinely mouth-watering” char-grilled broccolini with chilli, pear and air-dried tuna shavings, and the crisp-crunchy Szechuan-fried chipirones with togarashi and squid ink aïoli. Puddings run from elegant to nostalgic – a cornet of soft-serve salted caramel ice cream with butterscotch sauce, for example. Fans (ourselves included) “can’t wait to go back”.
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Best wine bars in London
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SquareMeal 2 Stars
39 James Street
0207 9933 3257
Bond Street Tube Station 193m
Marble Arch Tube Station 653m
Wigmore Street 55m
James Street 88m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
Great venue for business lunch
Food + drink: 4
3 of us ate here and we were put on a table that realistically should only seat 2 people – it was really small and particularly for a tapas restaurant where you have 8 plates of food, plus eating plates, plus the cutlery is in a box on the table which takes up room, plus water glasses and wine glasses and then they decant the wine and put the empty bottle on the table – we literally couldn’t move without knocking something over – they try to get around this by having stands that can be attached to the side of the table to put plates of ham and cheese on, but then you have to lean around them to talk to your friends – a bit odd. The food though is good, excellent charcuterie and cheeses, some lovely vegetable side dishes, the most delicious ham and cheese toastie with a quails egg on top, and more besides. Service was a little slow to start and we had to ask for our wine glasses to be topped up a couple of times but once the food started coming, it got better. They have a great wine list and I think you can buy bottles from the upstairs shop. An enjoyable meal, I would go back, but only for tables for 2!
A great evening here - great wine, good food, and a buzzy Friday night. We like sitting at the bar and being able to watch the chefs at work, chat about wine, fine glassware, and menu spot as dishes are made ready for service. The ham croquettes are lovely and crispy, the pan con tomate crusty and piled high with juicy tomatoes, the broccolini chargrilled and really quite spicy, roasted butternut squash with truffle burrata, hazelnut and black grapes turned out to be a favourite, and lamb fillet with chargrilled celeriac, cucumber and yogurt was "awesome". A 5-piece selection of good cheeses, and then dessert - creme Catalana with blood orange, creamy centre, delicate caramel crust and sharper orange accents, and salted caramel ice cream which comes in a cone with its own bottle of butterscotch sauce - order one each or you will fight over it! We were sitting opposite the charcoal oven so got a blast of hot air when it opened, but this was quite welcome on a cold wet January evening. Lots to love about this place and already want to go back with friends.
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