Afternoon tea, Bars, International, Modern European, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wine Bars·

SquareMeal Review of Locket's

This new all-day wine bar-cum-café in the Smithson Plaza – one of the few flashes of modernity in traditional St James’s – is the first new opening in 70 years from the team behind Wilton’s and Franco’s on nearby Jermyn Street. In contrast to the old-school feel of its siblings, Locket's is unapologetically contemporary, with a sleek Savile Row feel that’s apt for its suited-and-booted clientele.

The space is light and airy thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, strategically placed houseplants and bright furnishings. A black-and-white art-deco-style floor is the most striking feature, drawing you in like a visual illusion in case the wine list wasn’t enough of a lure.

Naturally, wine is the order of the day and the extensive list comprises an intriguing and impressive variety of both Old and New World labels carefully curated into flavour profiles to aid decision making. By-the-glass options, sadly, are limited – a strange decision for somewhere tailor-made for light lunches and after-work drinks – and we were disappointed to find only one full-bodied red amongst them.

That said, the food options stretch well beyond regular bar snacks with a menu that comprises a selection of European-inspired hot and cold plates designed for sharing. We started with some olives and a rather unappetising cauliflower hummus, but things greatly improved with the arrival of a tuna tartare seasoned with soy and sesame and garnished with wafer-thin shards of Sardinian flatbread. Beef tartare was likewise simply executed but flavoursome and the perfect accompaniment for a hearty Malbec.

From the hot dishes, a creamy Jerusalem artichoke risotto had us scraping greedily at the plate while the tender bavette steak was slightly lacking punch from the promised truffle jus, albeit well cooked.

It would be an injustice to leave without trying a platter of cheeses from Paxton & Whitfield round the corner. Though we opted for the smaller platter, the selection was generous, served with an assortment of crackers and a tart apricot relish.   

With some hit-and-miss dishes and slightly patchy service, we felt that Locket’s was still getting into its stride, but with owners who are behind two of London’s longest-established restaurants, we’re confident that, given time, Locket’s will find its feet.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Afternoon tea, Bars, International, Modern European, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wine Bars
Eat at Home
Takeaway service
Cool, Fun, Glamorous, Quirky, Unique
Food Occasions
All day dining, Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating, Terrace
Special Features
Dog friendly, Gluten-free options, Vegan options, Vegetarian options, Wheelchair access
Birthdays, Celebrations, Dates, Group dining [8+], Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About Locket's

This café and wine bar comes from the team behind the legendary Wiltons restaurant (London’s second-oldest) on Jermyn Street. Locket’s is open all day and is a café-style space which serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. In the evening, Locket's becomes a wine bar, with guests able to enjoy their vino either indoors or out on the expansive Smithson Plaza – formerly known as The Economist Plaza, now renamed after its brutalist architects, Alison and Peter Smithson, since the magazine moved on.

It is the first time in 70 years since the Wiltons group has opened a new restaurant. Wiltons itself has been around since it was founded as an oyster cart on Haymarket way back in 1742, while the group’s other restaurant, Franco’s, has been serving hungry Londoners in St James’s since 1945. Both Wiltons and Franco’s are much-loved dining rooms firmly established within London restaurant history, so Locket’s comes with a built-in legacy and high expectations.

Locket’s, which is situated round the corner from Jermyn Street on St James’s Street, is in good company, with Anthony Demetre’s relocated Wild Honey and the Indian import Farzi Café among the other recent arrivals to the exclusive central London district.  

Speaking about the opening of Locket’s, Jamie Hambro, chairman of Wiltons Holdings, commented: “We’re excited to be working with developer Tishman Speyer on Locket’s debut in St James’s. With this new café and wine bar, the Wiltons group is expanding to bring once again impeccable service and hospitality to the area, while also introducing a new destination for younger people at this famous London landmark.”

Alongside Locket’s, the Smithson Plaza will also play host to an art gallery as well as a small park. This is all part of Tishman Speyer’s plans to make the area what it is calling a “cultural gathering place”.


Are there vegan options on the menu at Locket's?

Yes there are vegan options on the menu at Locket's.

Helpful? 0

Are there gluten-free options on the menu at Locket's?

Yes there are gluten-free options on the menu at Locket's.

Helpful? 0


23-27 St James's Street, St James's, London, SW1A 1HA

Opening Times

All day
Mon 11:00-16:00
Tue 11:00-20:00
Wed 11:00-20:00
Thu 11:00-20:00
Fri 11:00-20:00
Sat Closed
Sun Closed


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