St Ermin’s has long been a favourite hotel and now I can boast that I have actually stayed there and also enjoyed breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner in their iconic Caxton Grill.
There is a separate street entrance for the Caxton Grill but it’s a treat to arrive via St Ermin’s reception hall. One is impressed by this hotel’s charm before one even reaches the front door. The red brick, stonework and planting all contrive to create a vision of a more elegant era. The summer finds exotic peppers and even pineapples in the flowerbeds and that horticultural passion continues with the restaurant, which can boast its own produce. There is a kitchen garden and beehives on the hotel roof.
The hotel foyer is stunning, with a sweeping staircase, ornamental plasterwork and glinting crystal. These are all authentic trappings of a space that could be a backdrop for a period drama. Add a few dapper chaps in frock coats and ladies in silks with bustles and the transformation would be complete. Caxton Grill continues that refined theme but in more contemporary fashion.
The Grill’s head chef, Alex Boyd, shows both skill and inspiration in his seasonal menu. Each dish is well-crafted and uses local (that is often just a few floors up) and seasonal ingredients. He shows great flair and attention to detail and that ensures repeat visits. I can attest to that.
Well worth ordering
My starter was a Smoked Chicken Terrine with a garnish of sweetcorn mayonnaise and charred baby corn. This was a far more delicate version of this classic dish than others I have tried, and better for it. The meat was savoury and full of flavour, but it was the texture that set this terrine apart. It was light and crumbly and appropriate as a starter for a 3-course lunch. Well worth ordering.
Cured Sea Bass with lemon purée, cucumber, kohlrabi and parsley was my guest’s fishy starter. This was a platter of shavings of translucent bass forming white islands in a pond of vibrant parsley green. Fresh tastes of summer and the ocean.
My companion continued his meal on land with three Organic Welsh Salt Marsh Lamb Cutlets. These were served pink, succulent and perfectly seasoned. Grilled courgette, roast peppers and purple olives made this plate as pretty as a picture. A must-try for any lover of fine meat – a generous and memorable plate.
Caxton Grill’s very own tomatoes!
Mixed Fish Grill was my seafood main course. The ingredients for this will vary as chef chooses the freshest of the day’s catch. Every element had been well-tended and individually charred. Fish skin was seasoned and crispy, prawns were pink and juicy, and squid was tender. A mouth-watering seafood array needing nothing more than a tomato and basil salad made from Caxton Grill’s very own tomatoes!
Mojito was our shared dessert. Yes, a pud rather than a cocktail, but a sweet that had the punch of its alcoholic namesake. Lime Chiboust, brown sugar, rum and mint were melded into a unique finale. A chiboust is a crème pâtissière lightened with stiffly beaten egg whites. In this case it formed a log and partnered with a sharp and herby citrus and mint ice cream. This dessert was a stunner. It was well balanced, delicious and attractive. A perfect end to an excellent meal.
I have long been a supporter of Caxton Grill and I hope to enjoy many more meals from the kitchen of head chef Alex Boyd.
Monday to Friday: 12noon to 2:30pm, 6pm to 10:30pm
Saturday: 6pm to 10:30pm
Sunday: 6pm to 10:30pm
2 Caxton Street
Phone: 0207 227 7777