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Kettner's (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Kettner's in Soho, London

29 Romilly Street, Soho, London, W1D 5HP
Cuisine: French Average Price: £25.00
Tel: 020 7734 6112 | Email to Kettner's | Website | Transport: Leicester Square | Write review

Kettner's Review

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Best for: girl-watching; excellent service; and French restaurant occasions in the West End.

Great: Champagne; English wines; French mansion smack in the middle of Soho.

You cant wear shorts when you move up to big school. That was what the 11-year old ginger beanpole was told when he baulked at the idea of donning a trousered leg for the rest of his academic life. Yet, that boy’s stubbornness to submit to scholastic sartorial requirements proved telling, and even though he was, in the end, forced to wear ankle-length attire to school, he was already on the path of “no, why should I?”; ultimately, leading to him to a career writing reviews for a London bar and restaurant guide on something magical known as the interweb.

No innocent child at The Grove School in Shropshire was forced to witness my knobbly, carrot-haired knees, and, more importantly, I had decided that I knew what was best, and that, sometimes, change is not necessarily the best course of action. Sometimes you just need to put on a brave face (Michael Jackson and Colonel Gaddafi, take note).

They don’t wear shorts at Kettner’s French restaurant in Soho, and any facelifts that have occurred in its 145-year history must surely have been quite minor. Yet Kettner’s is as defiantly traditionalist as a kilt-wearing Scotsman on a decidedly windy day. This central London bar and restaurant is wedged in the cracks of time where molecular cocktails and experiments with mousse are considered frivolous and tawdry.

Cocktails are available at Kettner’s, but only as an after-thought; and the most daringly original dish on the food menu is a smoked salmon and potato pancake, which sadly delivers less than it promises. It’s abundantly clear that Kettner’s prefers the old-fashioned route 1 tactic: Champagne, chandeliers, and coq au vin. But this is not a polemic. No no, because, on the whole, I admire Kettner’s refusal to change.

So what if the elegant tiled floors, large weathered mirrors, brass-topped bar, and cast iron marble tables are not breaking new ground? My guest and I felt as though we were living the Belle Époque, as bon vivants of the good old days. One of us noted the cornicing; the other noticed the smell of fresh lilies when walking through the full (on a Wednesday night) restaurant.

In the bar, we’d been sipping joyfully on sparkling English wine, of which there is plenty (my preference over Champagne, of which there is also plenty). The aim of these bubbles is to kick start the amorous engines and we observed evidence of this in the bar’s Skylight room. Boy, were those two getting it on! Clearly a bar for lovers.

The restaurant had a young vibe. It also looked quite dressed down, as though it hadn’t had a hell of a day in the City, which was surprising for a West End restaurant such as this. It was also very female. There was a definite scent of Stylist in the air. It sat, cheerfully drinking wine by the glass (of which there is plenty), spreading office rumours, and extolling this whole anachronistic experience; much as we did.

The noise level was rightfully set to ‘Proper French Bistro’, but I pity the poor pianist. I’m sure he was very good. Not as good as the buffalo mozzarella-pancetta starter, though. Now, that WAS good.

I’ll wager that the crispy duck confit, although a little forlorn on arrival, was so delectable that were I to have walked through the kitchen to the rear door I would have no doubt witnessed a long queue of ducks, volunteering themselves for slaughter, perhaps even aiding the process by bathing in jus and a nice DeGras Carmenere whilst waiting.

I didn’t venture to the kitchen though. I was too busy falling over the edge of a precipice into an abyss of decadent Amaretti chocolate torte. I fell and fell and fell and only regained composure when an amaretto aperitif appeared before me, a drink that was simultaneously part biscuit, part roaring fire.

To become one of the best restaurants or best bars in London these days one must follow the protocol de rigueur and adhere to one or more of the following:

- Spearhead gastronomic dominance with Jamie’s smiling face, or any other celebrity chef (see also Savoy Grill by Gordon Ramsay and Dinner By Heston Blumenthal)
- Hedonism reigns in a period of austerity so throw high quality meat and cocktails into the mix and stand well back (see also MeatLiquor and Hawksmoor)
- Recreate the set of Cheers with stools and a cosy bar (see also Polpo and Spuntino)
- Shout “What The Dickens!” and adopt a twisted fascination with Victorian or Georgian England (see also Powder Keg Diplomacy and Worship Street Whistling Shop)

Even though Kettner’s defies the concept of trend, and despite the odd niggle here and there - dry beef bourguinon; fairly standard creme brulee - it still provides an occasion, a Soho locale, playful bubbles (no more Michael Jackson jokes, I promise), and several hours of deferential attentiveness, recommendations, and cordiality. And it does so without breaking the bank; although there are opportunities to waft the big bills if the occasion suits. Overall, an arresting experience. Oscar Wilde was arrested here, apparently. I bet he wore shorts to big school.
...read more

Christian Rose-Day

Customer Reviews for Kettner's

Average (based on 7 votes): 7 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Kettner's.

“Excellent service, decadent decor, a sturdy wine list (ask for recommendations - lots of wines by the glass), some great Champagnes and sparkling white wines (especially the English offerings), and a fantastic Soho location. The restaurant menu is hit and miss - recommend the duck and the amaretto-chocolate dessert - whilst the bar is a great place for lovers to get cosy over a glass of bubbles.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
The Restaurant Hunter, London (3 years 6 months 27 days ago)

“A great night with friends at this famous champagne bar and restaurant. We were made to feel really special in a very relaxed and informal way in the stylish champagne bar. We then ate in the restaurant - the best beef bourgingon outside France and amazing puddings.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Kate, London (5 years 7 months 4 days ago)

“My first experience of the new improved Kettners was with my office Christmas lunch. The place was buzzing with festive spirit - clearly we weren't the only one to choose Kettners for our Christmas party! We were in a gorgeous private dining room on the first floor. Our waitress was charming and efficient even though she was clearly rushed off her feet. The food was good and the champagne even better...which might expain why I thought it was a good idea to show off my skills on the grand piano!! Can't wait to go back with friends.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Laura, London (6 years 8 months 3 days ago)

Show all user reviews for Kettner's

“Excellent food, atmosphere and wine.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Laura Dixon, Betchworth (7 years 4 months 8 days ago)

“Used to be stylish and good value, now gone right downhill.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Jane Mace, London (7 years 6 months 18 days ago)

“This is where my husband takes me for my Birthday, where i take my mum for a chat n champagne cocktail (or two) on the couch, where i meet my friend before a night out - in short Kettners is the treat i get treated to far too often!!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Rebecca Marshall-Everitt, London (7 years 10 months 11 days ago)

“Four old friends from various parts of the country ate here on Saturday 11th Feb. It was perfect for us. With a definate "air of the upmarket" but with a very agreeable price - we were able to wine and dine without worrying about our purse. The desserts were to die for and the Merlot was so smooth - that along with the pianist made it an evening that would certainly be repeated.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Jacqueline, Lewes (9 years 6 months 13 days ago)

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Kettner's Opening Hours

Monday: 12:00pm - 12:00am Friday: 12:00pm - 1:00am
Tuesday: 12:00pm - 12:00am Saturday: 12:00pm - 1:00am
Wednesday: 12:00pm - 12:00am Sunday: 12:00pm - 10:30pm
Thursday: 12:00pm - 1:00am    

Additional Information

Kettner's Food & Drinks

  • Cuisine Type: French
  • Average Price: £25.00

Kettner's Food Menu

Kettners have a selection of mouth-watering food menus to cater for all tastes and functions. From canapés in the Champagne Bar to the French inspired Brasserie Menu and tempting desserts from the Pudding Bar - there is something for everyone.

Updated 02/01/2009

Kettner's Drinks Menu

There are over one hundred different champagnes and champagne cocktails to try, but if you prefer there are also a wine & spirits menu.

Updated 26/03/2012

Special offers, discounts and deals at Kettner's

Kettners Has some great specail offers running , visit the website kettners dot com

Updated 12/07/2013

Events and other great things going on at Kettner's

Kettners events are famous for the enjoyment of its participants, we have a colourful and wonderous history,we have the ability to look after a small party of 2, right up to a rip roaring party of 500

Updated 24/08/2009

Kettner's Hire Details

A number of Private rooms cater for a range of events from intimate dinners to business lunches or canapé parties for up to 200. Wifi access throughout and plasma screens available on request.

Updated 12/07/2013

Name: Cabinet Particulier
Type: Private Room
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: Optional
Capacity: 18
Notes: The Cabinet Particulier is a stunning dining space that seats up to 18.
Name: Salle De Fete and Attic Bar
Type: Private Room
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: None
Capacity: 100
Notes: The Salle De Fête has an elegant penthouse feel comprising two open spaces of The Salle and The Attic Bar, It can seat up to 55 or hold 100 for a standing receptiom. Minimum spends vary.
Name: Tête à Tête
Type: Private Room
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: None
Capacity: 12
Notes: The Tête à Tête is a gorgeous private room that seats up to 12 for meetings or private dinner parties.
Name: The Apartment
Type: Private Room
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 100 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options:
DJ: Optional
Capacity: 80
Notes: The Apartment has a colourful history and a members club feel with a secret entrance on Greek Street. Original oak panelled walls give character making it a great sapce for parties.
Name: The Den
Type: Entire Venue
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options:
DJ: None
Capacity: 20
Notes: Tucked away on the second floor, the Den can be hired individually or as an additional part of the Salle de Fête.
Name: The Salon
Type: Private Room
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: None
Capacity: 10
Notes: Situated on the first floor, the Salon is a stylish private dining room that seats up to 10.
Name: The Studio
Type: Private Room
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options:
DJ: Optional
Capacity: 40
Notes: The studio is an impressive space with an original fireplace and chic French furniture. The space can also be divided into two smaller rooms each seating 18.

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Venue ID: 18324

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