Published on July 25th, 2016 | by Clarissa Waldron0
Inn The Park, St James’ Park
Summary: Picture perfect, but you might leave hungry
Perched in the middle of St James’ Park, facing out onto the picturesque lake with iconic British landmarks peeking up over the surrounding trees, café and restaurant, Inn The Park offers quite a therapeutic and tranquil environment for a spot of dining in this sprawling, bustling city.
With some remaining sun in the sky at 7:30pm on a Friday evening we decided to shun the indoors in favour of the pretty views on offer in the outside seating terrace. Though large, spacious and extremely obvious with its wood panelled exterior and floor to ceiling windows, the restaurant was rather quiet at this hour, something which may well be attributed to its tourist-trap location and time of day. Nonetheless, we admired the scenic setting and warm summer air while perusing the menu over a Bloody Mary and refreshing Raspberry Mojito. Bloody Mary fans be warned, this one packs a seriously strong punch.
However, the food here is a little more of what you would expect. The Handpicked Cornish crab, avocado and nashi pear is light and small, served on a bed of greens. If you’re looking for some greenery with a bit more bite, and a more sizeable portion, the Suffolk asparagus, purple sprouting broccoli, egg and hazelnuts is a genius combination that packs in plenty of protein in an imaginative way.
The Roasted Hake, braised chorizo and lentils, wild garlic aioli, though thoroughly delicious and complimented by the tenderness of the fish while busting with the rich flavour of chorizo, was rather a mediocre portion size, especially when clocking in at £17.50, the second most expensive main course after the steak.
And it was the steak we also opted for, a 12oz dry aged Dexter sirloin on the bone with béarnaise sauce and hand cut chips. The steak itself was impressive in size and well-cooked to our liking, however the presentation of the dish showed little effort, with a meagre side salad and small portion of chips. There is of course little to be done with steak and chips, but the appearance of this choice didn’t align very well with the accompanying hake and surrounding scenery.
Throughout, our choices paired very well with the chose Sauvignon Blanc from De Martino Estate in Chile; which lended a pleasantly tart and crisp citrus taste on the palette.
With our evening here at Inn the Park coming to a close, we decided to tuck into a Chocolate pot with pistachio brittle for dessert, as well as a Treacle tart with ice cream. Chocolate is often a big commitment by the third course and so too was the case here. The thick, dense chocolate pot aligned superbly with the accompanying pistachio brittle, giving it extra, more refined character but even this creative topping couldn’t ensure we made our way through it all!
By now the theme of small portion sizes is prevalent and the treacle tart was disappointingly so. While moist, crunchy and thoroughly delicious, at £6.50 a slice we couldn’t help but feel a little disgruntled when it arrived to the table. With three dessert options to choose from, it really was a case of slim pickings!
No doubt there is perhaps a touch of nouvelle cuisine about Inn the Park when you dine with them. However it’s not very apparent from the outset, and with few diners to distract staff or cause standards to slip, you could be forgiven for expecting the menu to deliver more than it does. On leaving the twinkling lights of St James Park, I couldn’t help but feel a little down about Inn the Park. With a magnificent design and location, in the tourist heart of London which bustles only during certain hours, the restaurant will need to do a little bit of price and portion customisation to secure dedicated, devoted fans who will spread the word throughout a city that is already a hotbed of excellent eateries.
Inn The Park, St James’ Park, SW1A 2BJShare This Post