Kettners is one of the oldest restaurants in London and has managed to hold onto history while adapting itself to the modern age. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great place for a posh drink. The website describes it as having “lived, surviving four kings and a queen, the blitz, several booms and more than a few busts…and is an integral part of the vibrant, glamorous, and debauched Soho” which pretty much says it all.
This is a place you need to dress up a bit to fit in but the cocktails are tasty if a bit expensive. Staff are friendly but a tad no-nonsense so don’t expect the warmest of welcomes. They are efficient though and they handle groups with remarkable ease with two “nooks” in the main bar and a number of large private rooms on the upper floors.
Well it’s a bar so why not meet here? To the left of the entrance you’ll find the main bar with a considerable amount of seating. If coming in peak times, it’s worth booking ahead but you can usually squeeze in a couple of people. The cocktails are delicious and the bar does a full range as well as a number of champagne based house specials.
How about the food?
We only got a few snacks here as part of the crawl but I can vouch for the chips which were excellent. The main menu looked fairly traditional European which Kettners has been serving up for decades. I wouldn’t expect great things, but it should prove to be an enjoyable meal with friends.
If not food, tell me about the drinks?
This is what we were here for, after all, given the Cocktail Crawl we had embarked upon. We tried out the full seasonal menu with a round of shooters and then the assorted cocktails. The shooters were quite sweet and the cranberry one had an odd tart aftertaste which made your face resemble something from the Tangtastics adverts (yet I’ve never found Tangtastics that sour). Still, at 10 for £40, it’s pretty good value for shots and will get your party warmed up.
On that note, the Hot Toddy was very warming and full of spices which made it a great winter drink. Staying with the winter warmer trend, The Night Before was a mix of hot buttered rum and decadent Chantilly cream for a very dessert-ish cocktail. But I think my favourite was The Grinch which mixed apple and cinnamon flavours with a sweet maple syrup and would have gone spectacularly with some pancakes.
Worth the dosh?
It’s a pricey propostion, no doubt, but you do get what you pay for. I enjoyed the drinks and will definitely be keeping Kettners on the list for places in Soho to impress a date or even just catch up with some classy friends.
Find Kettners here
29 Romilly St, London, W1D 5HP
+44 20 7734 6112