This is probably London's best kept secret. Sotheby's is world famous for being an auction house frequented by the rich and famous. Who would have thought that they would have a 'cafe' tucked away in the corner of the marbled and very grand entrance hall? I had no idea that Sotheby's had a restaurant and what a wonderful place it is! This is 5 star cafe with superb food and impeccable, friendly service. The cafe is small and cosy. If you sit inside, even more cosy because space is at a premium. However, my friend and I had the £15 lunch menu. This is nouvelle cuisine and the portions looked small but in reality, it was enough to fill you up. Presentation is beautiful so don't expect a large portion of food to be splodged on a plate and put in front of you. I started with Chicken Liver pate. This was unlike any pate I have had. Instead it was whole chicken livers blended with a fusion of herbs, spices and accompanied by an almond and fig slice. Utterly sublime! It was the kind of starter that had you desperately trying not be a pleb and to pick up and lick the ramekin dish clean! I wanted to scrape it clean. We both had an unusual dish of Semolina Gnocchi. Im not a great lover of Gnocchi but this was to die for. Handmade balls of gnocchi nestling in a bed of interesting vegetables and a green salsa. Both of us are picky eaters but we polished off our food with gusto. Oh! it made such a change from the typical "ladies-who-lunch-fodder" of salads consisting of rabbit food and chopped nuts!
The service was friendly, sweet, very fast and solicitous. My friend asked for and got, a doggy bag of Semolina Gnocchi to take home to her husband. It was even placed in one of those expensive Sotheby's classy carrier bags! Its these little touches that matter, you know!
The dessert menu had some interesting things on it but since we had both eaten more than enough, we gave it a miss and vowed to try something from it on our next visit.
The clientele range from "ladies-who-lunch" to business folk and the place was packed so its a good idea to book a table and make your preference known to be seated either inside or outside.
This is a wonderful place to pose, pretending to be rich, as you can sit on the big squashy sofas in the hall, soak up the atmosphere, have a full afternoon tea and watch the world go by. The prices are the same for Afternoon teas as at any of the big hotels in this area.
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