May 11, 2018
Having been around since the 1860s, Kettner’s is the definition of a Soho institution. Originally a restaurant operated by Auguste Kettner, chef to Napoleon III, it has, in its day, been a favourite of Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie and Lillie Langtry, amongst many others. More recently its champagne bar has become a popular place to grab a glass of fizz after a night at the theatre. The historic venue was refurbished a few years back, with the restaurant area being reworked as a chic French-style brasserie (rather than a rather formulaic pizza joint, as it was for a while). The champagne bar meanwhile retains its old fashioned glamour; there are even two velvet-curtained ‘nooks’ you can book if you want a truly memorable evening. Kettner’s boasts one of the most extensive champagne lists in London, including a number from small family growers as well as the usual suspects, with prices ranging from the reasonable to the coronary-inducing. The range of champagnes by the glass is impressively wide and the cocktail menu is also inventive and well worth exploring: the winter punch, laced with cognac, is a must and many of the drinks take their inspiration from the venue’s colourful past. The High and Wilde mixes absinthe sugar with peach liqueur and sparkling wine, while Lilly’s Lemonade is a blend of gin, home-made raspberry syrup, Chambord, fresh mint, sparkling wine and lemon.