Seven Park Place
7-8 Park Place , St James\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s, SW1A 1LS
WLC Rank : 19
Glass from : £ 8.50 (125 ml)
BEST FORSouth African wines by the glass
Gastronomic and guest-focused experience
900 wines available in the restaurant or via room service
Art rich, comfy dining room which feels special
Expect ethically sourced wines alongside the cuisine of William Drabble, featuring British produce and French technique.
“What I learnt during the lockdown is that the world needs more humanitarians,” says head sommelier, Brent Bartlett, whose globally diverse “Wine Book” focuses on sustainably and “ethically farmed” wines. This tome is brightly illustrated with full-page depictions of the art hanging in the restaurant, bar and bistro.
Drawing from 20 suppliers, Bartlett, who harks from Cape Town, oversees a compendium of 900 references selected to compliment the dishes of William Drabble, whose CV includes Aubergine (RIP), Pied à Terre and Michael’s Nook Country House Hotel (RIP) in Grasmere – where he gained a Michelin star at age of 26. These may include poached tail of Dorset Blue lobster with cauliflower purée, lobster butter sauce and périgord truffle partnered with a seriously mature Sonoma Chardonnay from Kalin Cellars – Cuvee D, and Bramley apple mousse, crumble and sorbet with the maiden 2009 vintage of Constantia Nectar.
Despite the Michelin-starred restaurant only having 27 covers, every one of the wines from the 44-page list, including Break Bottom’s Cuvée Oliver Minkley, from the millennium year, a Clos de Bèze (Pierre Damoy), and 1961 Conterno Barolo may be ordered via room service to the 56 bedrooms above making this five-star haven of an hotel a residential wine destination.
Having inherited an, in large part, classically-focused wine list, Bartlett, formerly of Trinity, Clapham, and on the riviera, restaurant JAN in Nice, rebalanced things by looking towards the USA and South Africa. Being from the Winelands, Bartlett added in producers such as Alheit, Ataraxia, Sadie Family and Testalonga. Next on the agenda: he is helping tailor a specific Champagne for the restaurant.
Given the revered postcode, prices are generally fair here in the gently jazz pepped, cossetting dining room of St .James, as Bartlett is keen to point out. “This not just a wish list of a wine list.”
When not at the restaurant, Bartlett enjoys visiting wine bars such as the women-first in terms of producers, Covent Garden’s Lady of the Grapes, where he might enjoy, lightly chilled, Twyfeling Cinsaut from Bosman Family Vineyards, Wellington.
Bartlett, who has undertaken harvests in the Swartland and the Loire Valley has, since 2015, run a wine consultancy – The Vine – specialising in personalised wine tastings as well as the buying and selling of “ethically-grown wines.”
During lockdown, at which point the restaurant began offering popular Michelin grade dishes within a three-mile locus, Bartlett, who spent the period in South Africa, further developed an interest in fine tea, which may be offered as a pairing to some dishes back at Seven Park Place. He also nurtured his writing skills, and you can find his gastronomic prose via the South African platform, The Gourmet Guide…
By Douglas Blyde.