- Location: Marco Pierre White’s Wheeler’s of St James, 72-73 St James Street, London, SW1A 1PH (nearest tube is Green Park)
- Date of Visit: Saturday 25th May
- Time of Table: 7.00pm
- Deal Bought From: Amazon Local
- Deal Price: £29 for Two
- Dinner Companion: Best friend, Diane
Getting More for your Money?
This dinner deal includes:
- Two Starters
- Two Main Courses
- Two Desserts
- Two Glasses of Prosecco
- For Two People
What we ate…
- Starter: Potted Duck with Peppercorns, Toasted Sourdough
- Main: Wheeler’s of St James Fish and Chips, Sauce Tartare
- Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding
- Starter: Potted Duck with Peppercorns, Toasted Sourdough
- Main: Smoked Haddock Colcannon, Mustard Sauce
- Dessert: Vanilla Cheesecake, Wild Berry Compote
What we drank…
- Two Glass of Prosecco
- Brazilian Monkey Cocktail (not included)
- Pistachio Lover Cocktail (not included)
- Cappuccino (not included)
- Earl Grey Tea (not included)
What did we think?
Emerging from Green Park tube station to be confronted by the glitzy glamour of The Ritz’s bright bulbs and The Wolseley’s slick leather upholstery peeping through the windows, signalled to me that I definitely wasn’t in Kanas anymore. Surrounded by upper crust cigar shops and yacht merchandisers, tonight I was exploring the realms of Park Lane in the hunt for some seriously swanky food. Being a firm fan of Marco Pierre White’s distinguished eateries, this time we headed to renowned fish restaurant Wheeler’s, a collaboration with Sir Rocco Forte, where we were anticipating a full three course meal, complete with glass of chilled bubbly.
Situated an amazingly simple five minute walk from Green Park, we actually nearly walked right past, as its exterior was encased in scruffy scaffolding, hiding a usually polished welcome. On entering, I was instantly taken aback by the pure understated glamour of this spacious venue. You couldn’t help but be impressed by the magnanimous swagger of the place; oozing with a kicked back cool and laid back vibe amidst the casual decadence of high end London, where such luxury is not only expected, but comes across as simply natural.
What really hit me about this restaurant was how incredibly spacious it was. A row of round tables lined the large window, while the other group tables were the complete opposite side of the black and white checked floor, with a wide circle of space happily occupying the centre of the room. Along the back was well stocked bar dripping with silver chrome, cocktail shakers and tux wearing waiters. Our table was in the one of the furthermost corners, between the bar and the window, and we had a wide circle of space surrounding us, in was a rather romantic corner for our friend date. It was refreshing to be so secluded and it really felt like our table was its own little world – so nice after the cramped up couple’s tables in other restaurants.
Despite the undoubted air of clear cut quality, it was not over the top at all, and in fact it was coolly understated which created a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere to enjoy. Already taken in by the décor and the efficient staff, who promptly delivered two glasses of sweet Prosecco, we were looking forward to checking out our menu choices.
We were given a set menu to choose from, with four options under each category. Not being a huge fish eater, I was a bit worried about what would be on offer from such a famous fish restaurant, but I was pleasantly surprised by the variety on offer. With a mix of starters available, both Diane and I opted for the potted duck, studded with spicy peppercorns and served with large triangular sourdough crisps, that provided the perfect crunch under the softly flaked meat. The duck was the consistency of pate, sticking together nicely, which made it ideal for spreading on the sourdough, or on French stick style bread that had been delivered to our table. It had a soft meaty flavour that was ramped up by the peppercorns, and the portion size was also ideal to really whet the appetite.
Eagerly anticipating our mains, we decided to order some accompanying cocktails from the very impressive and unusual selection on offer. I simply couldn’t resist the Brazilian Monkey – a creamy combination of Baileys, Kahula, chocolate liqueur and double cream, completed with a delicate dusting of nutmeg. Served in a traditional martini class this really hit the spot and really slid down nicely with a beautifully velvety smoothness as you drank it. Diane went for a something a bit zingier with a Pistachio Lover – a luridly green concoction that contained vodka, midori, pistachio paste and pineapple juice, dusted with pistachio pieces. With an intriguing sherbet style fizz to it, this cocktail also had hints of coconut that we couldn’t really trace but on the whole it was tasty too.
Whilst oohing and ahhing over our unique cocktail selections, with sample sips from each glass, our fully loaded plates of mains arrived. I had ordered the Wheeler’s special, a traditional fish and chips, and I was simply awed by the sheer size of it. My piece of fish took up the entire width of a full sized dinner plate, the beautifully bubbling and golden batter perfectly even and puffed up around the purest white fillet of cod. It was sitting on a doily, a white dish housing a pungent puddle of tartare sauce opposite the fish, next to a muslin covered lemon segment – ideal for squeezing elegantly over the fish whilst catching any pesky pips that may attempt to leap into your food. Easing my cutlery into the fish revealed that the batter held a delightfully sounding crunch and also contained bags of flavour although none of the overdone grease normally associated with battered fish. The tender fish inside was of obvious quality and a chunky sized fillet full of fresh flavour and lemon scented zing. I was so impressed with the fish itself, and paired with the tartare sauce it topped the scale – the sauce was strong and punchy with plenty of fight and spirit, so slathered on the cod it produced an exciting bundle of tastes, let along texture. The crispy yet yielding batter, with the full flakes of springy fish and the creamy consistency of the sauce made a perfect mouthful.
The sides were just as amazing. Plated up in plain white bowls like satellites surrounding my main plate, the chunky triple cooked chips and mushy peas were divine. The chips were fat with a delectable outer crunch yet an inner fluffiness that I loved, although I am always rather partial to a chunky chip. I don’t even like peas, but these mushy peas were surprisingly good – as a dip as well as a side. The peas were more crushed which gave a more wholesome and natural appearance in colour and texture, the flavour muted and richer than I was expecting and also a lot more creamy. A lot of fancier establishments really downsize on the portions, so I have never truly been over full before, but for the first time, I was very nearly beaten by this dinner – a rare occurrence, I assure you. The portion size was more than enough and I was simply stuffed after my main course, and I was contemplating how on earth I was going to make space for my dessert. I thoroughly enjoyed this classic course that had taken a basic loveable takeaway treat and totally transformed it into a masterpiece of batter folded fish. An absolute delight to devour.
Once I had managed to make a little space, our desserts were presented to us – again, simplistic classic dishes that had been jazzed up with splashes of style and bundles of additional flavour. I had settled on a sticky toffee pudding – not something that I usually eat, so I was wondering how much I would enjoy it. A sizeable cube of cake took centre stage on my plate, a perfect singular scoop of vanilla ice cream balancing atop it, a sprig of mint speared in its centre. The toffee caramel sauce initially came in a side jug, which the waitress then enthusiastically drizzled all over the dessert to form a coffee coloured puddle oozing around the spongy pudding. The sticky toffee pudding was surprisingly light, as I was expecting it to be heavy, and I enjoyed the caramel undertones of the crumbs mixed with the cooling ice cream and the incredibly rich depth of flavour in the thick sauce. On the whole it was lovely dessert and I expertly scraped every last drip of the sauce from my plate. I was also intensely jealous of Diane’s vanilla cheesecake – so thick and creamy with the fresh yet juicy berry compote adding a slice of exotic brightness to the deep vanilla. Both divine desserts and definitely hitting the spot with us dessert lovers.
Not entirely ready to leave our patch of the restaurant, we decided to continue the courses with some hot beverages – my usual cappuccino for me and a civilised Earl Grey tea for Diane (complete with tea pot, milk jug and sugar bowl). My cappuccino was light and frothy on top and perfect underneath – an ideal finish to a simply superb meal.
Our night didn’t end there though – we then moved on to Oxford Circus to hit nearby cocktail bar B-Soho.
Making a second reservation? Most definitely. Offering set menu choices on their usual menu for both lunch and dinner at agreeable prices, I would definitely be tempted to return, even at full price. I paid an initial £29, which covered the cost of all of our courses for both of us, as well as our starting glass of Prosecco, which is a fantastic bargain considering the incredibly high standard of food that we enjoyed, as well as the delectable choices on offer. At the end of our meal, all we had to pay for were our cocktails at £12 each (since we both went for the specials), our hot drinks and the service charge at 12.5%, which came to £34 between the two of us – not bad at all once divided up. Such a cost efficient meal, with fantastic service too – staff were constantly asking us if we needed anything, and at no point did I ever feel segregated or different to the full paying customers present that evening. Granted, I was nervous about going to a fish restaurant, as I normally avoid fish, but Wheeler’s really allied my fears and instead came up trumps with a complete corker of a meal that I would be more than happy to take care of again. The atmosphere was relaxing, enclosed and comforting, the staff polite and quick and the food phenomenal. An all-round winner for sure.