Wiltons Restaurant Has Carved Out a Niche for Exquisite Dining

Wiltons Has Carved Out a Unique Niche in Exquisite Dining

Simon Wittenberg marks his return to dining out with lunch at Wiltons, one of London’s oldest restaurants in the heart of St James’s.

After several months confined to dreaming about returning to enjoying food that you haven’t had to cook yourself, it felt good to be back in a bustling eatery in the company of fellow diners and to remember what life used to be like pre-pandemic.

There was no better place to become re-acquainted with the very best of London’s culinary scene than Wiltons, a dining establishment that is celebrating its remarkable 280th anniversary in 2022 after opening in 1742.

The exterior of the famed restaurant in London

Occupying a discrete location on Jermyn Street near to The Ritz hotel, Wiltons is in very good company, surrounded by other famed British institutions, such as tailors, which have stood at the very same location for decades.

A view of the traditional high-end decor inside the restaurant

Visitors to Wiltons are welcomed by a cosy and old-fashioned setting, which perfectly defines the meaning of “quintessentially British” – a series of ornate paintings line the walls, which peer over the velvet seating and banquettes dressed with several cushions.

Similarly, Wiltons’ very courteous and professional team is dressed in the finest attire and are knowledgeable and interested in any specific dietary requirements.

Perusing the à la carte menu with a glass of chilled champagne in hand, whilst breaking off a few morsels of steaming brown bread to get the palate prepped for the meal ahead, there is a good selection of starters to choose from, spanning seafood to soups.

Whilst I was very tempted to head straight for the Burrata (one of my all-time favourite hors d’oeuvres), I followed the recommendation of our host Abraham and decided on the twice-baked Cropwell Bishop Stilton soufflé (£16).

twice-baked Cropwell Bishop Stilton soufflé

His words of advice to choose this dish were undeniably accurate; the strong flavour of the cheese hailing from Nottinghamshire shone through in every bite, and my fork just sunk into the light and airy, soft centre, disturbing the perfectly formed mound. It was a great opening chapter, and I could have easily had another had there been the opportunity to do so.

My guest opted for the beautifully presented avocado and crab salad (£25), dressed with a cocktail sauce. All of the ingredients tasted fresh, and the strong flavour of the seafood was as if it had gone from sea to plate that very day.

The theatrical carving from the silver trolley in the restaurant

Our principal purpose of coming to Wiltons was, in fact, to sample the carving trolley, which has an element of uncertainty as to its exact, but interesting history. It may have been a form of gueridon service (service using a trolley) used in Russia as early as the 18th century and then gained popularity when it was adopted in Monte Carlo back in 1894.

Smoked Salmon being Sliced at Wiltons Restaurant

Accompanying the comprehensive meat and fish-orientated à la carte menu offered by the restaurant is the carving trolley. It is available from Monday to Saturday (priced from £28.50 per person, inclusive of one side dish – this rises to £35 for the Beef Wellington on a Saturday). They offer a different dish each day, ranging from roast lamb to honey-glazed gammon.

The Salmon Coulibiac at the table

On a Friday, the day that we visited, the carnivorous options are put to one side, with Salmon Coulibiac taking centre stage, so this is worth bearing in mind before making a booking at Wiltons.

The benefit of choosing to dine from the carving trolley is that there’s an element of theatre. You can watch your host lift the lid of the silver dome (sometimes referred to as a “Cloche”), carve a generous slice before your very eyes, and delicately transfer your meal to the Wiltons branded plate before wiping off any unwanted residue disturbing the neat presentation.

A bottle of Wiltons Chablis 2018 on a tableJoined by a glass of Wiltons’ Chablis Carré de César white wine (£12), it was hard to know how far down to go with one’s incisions into the slice, due to the Salmon Coulibiac combining multiple layers and textures. The thick crust is made of puff pastry, which is then lined with mushroom and spinach that sits on a layer of rice before giving way to the fish, which is met at the middle with hard-boiled egg.

It sounds like a lot going on for just the one main, but all the different ingredients combine to produce an incredibly filling and pleasant main course. The added touch of the lemon and Crème Fraiche sauce gave the salmon some tanginess, and with our Salmon Coulibiac accompanied by our sides of shredded pickled cucumber, heritage potatoes (£5.50) and French beans (£6.50), our stomachs were getting rather full.

You may think that, at nearly £30 a slice, this sounds quite dear, but the price paid reflects the craftsmanship and expertise that has gone into ensuring that each ingredient is cooked to perfection, and the structure of this dish stays as sturdy as it did.

The delicious looking Summer pudding

With a little bit of room left to enjoy something sweet, it was back to the à la carte menu to make a decision on dessert, with the passion fruit soufflé tempting my taste buds.

The Petit Fours from the dessert menu

However, my head said to go for the apple and pear crumble (£12), and I wasn’t disappointed. Topped with some creamy custard sauce, it was another superb dish and closed my experience of Wiltons on a very positive note.

My dining partner was near-defeated, so he settled on the refreshing blood orange and mango sorbet (£8.50) alongside a double espresso (£4.25) to round things off.

Wiltons offer 90 covers in a single sitting (this has been cut from around 110 pre-pandemic to allow for more space between diners in the post-Covid era). It is even more impressive when you find out that only seven people work in a relatively small kitchen crafting such exquisite gastronomy. During our visit, every table was pretty much full, a reflection of Wiltons’ long-standing reputation for the dishes that it serves. In fact, some guests have returned regularly for literally decades.

In summary, Wiltons offers a sophisticated ambience and British traditions aplenty, matched with sumptuous food and elegance. This is an ideal venue for a special celebration or as somewhere to impress others, whether friends, family or colleagues. With nearly three centuries of treating guests to first-class service, this eatery truly deserves its esteemed status on the London dining scene.

With a nigh on 300-year history already under its belt, there is no doubt that, based on our experience, Wiltons will continue to go from strength to strength for hundreds of years to come.

Wiltons – Where and How?

Wiltons is at 55 Jermyn Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6LX, United Kingdom. Lunch is served Monday to Friday between 12:00 and 14:30.

For more information on Wiltons, or to book a reservation, visit www.wiltons.co.uk or e-mail [email protected].

To view the dishes that we tried during our visit to Wiltons, visit the Luxurious Magazine Instagram page.

Read more restaurant news, features and reviews here.

Carving turkey from the silver trolleyWiltons Restaurant Has Carved Out a Niche for Exquisite Dining 2


Simon Wittenberg

Senior Editorial Contributor

Born in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and now based in London, Simon Wittenberg is the senior editorial contributor to Luxurious Magazine® reporting directly to Paul Godbold. A specialist in the automotive sector, he has now expanded his repertoire to encompass all aspects relating to luxury and lifestyle. Simon has worked with some of the world’s most iconic marques such as Lotus Cars, Ferrari and Tesla Motors. His passions include luxury goods, motorsport, fine dining and travel.

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