Foraging and Fine Dining – THIRTY SIX by Nigel Mendham

Tucked away discreetly in a quiet corner of St James, you’ll find a quintessentially British hotel and restaurant with a very illustrious history. Famed as the place where Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, used to enjoy Martinis, Dukes London is a must-visit. Not only will their Martinis leave you shaken and stirred, Nigel Mendham’s THIRTY SIX restaurant will have a similar effect.

Once you cross the threshold of Duke’s, you enter a clubby world of subtle elegance and refinement. The dining room is located downstairs in a room filled with natural daylight. Decorated in shades of peach and white, it’s a very welcoming space.

Dukes London lunch
I’d had the occasion to experience Duke’s cuisine before, with their spectacular picnic in Green Park. It’s a real treat when the weather warms up. This time we were invited to try Executive Chef, Nigel Mendham’s, British Larder. Nigel is a keen promoter of British food and he’s concocted a fantastic menu of seasonal produce. We enjoyed a glass of Champagne Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut, a lively wine with a smooth finish, whilst we studied the menu.

The first thing we noticed was the great value for money. A two course lunch or dinner is £25 whilst a three course menu is a reasonable £35, considering the quality of food and service – of course there’s also an extensive a la carte menu. Our friendly sommelier recommended an Esk Valley Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand for Mr Luxe. This intense and crisp wine was so good that we’ll stock up on some at home.

I chose a glass of Chapel Down Bacchus 2014 white wine. This English wine is very much in keeping with the menu’s British theme and has notes of grapefruit and gooseberry.

Throughout 2016, Dukes plays host to Nigel’s British Larder, and will be offering a different British dish each month. Some of the ingredients are foraged, as this is a passion of Nigel’s since he was a young child growing up in Norfolk. We enjoyed a complimentary appetiser of celeriac and apple soup with fresh granary bread. It had a lovely creamy texture, balanced nicely by the tartness of the apple.

As for the homemade granary bread, we loved the loaf presentation and it was difficult not to eat it all!

My goat’s cheese flan with heritage beetroot and celery sorbet was a sight for sore eyes. Despite not generally liking beetroot, this was perhaps my favourite dish, with the contrasting warm cheese flan and ice cold sorbet.

As for my hubby’s ham hock with pea purée, langoustine, podded peas and pea oil, there wasn’t a morsel left. The langoustine and ham made for a very successful pairing.

I enjoyed my Lancashire corn fed chicken with foraged mushrooms, burnt onion, leeks and spelt. Did you know that spelt is one of the healthiest grains, with a wide range of nutrients? Normally, burnt onion might sound like a mistake but here it was intentional and a good complement to the chicken. I’d love to go and forage mushrooms, as long as someone told me which ones are safe to eat!

Mr Luxe’s line caught Pollock with hazelnut, pancetta celeriac and mussel was an interesting dish. The hazelnuts added a satisfying crunch to the soft fish and the foam mousse was very light and airy.

His peanut crunch dessert was another great combination of caramelized banana, peanut parfait and banana sherbet.

I’m always a sucker for chocolate and this dark chocolate mousse with crème fraiche was a real delight. It had some unusual but healthy ingredients including pumpkin seed and chestnut squash.

Mr Luxe had a lovely selection of petits fours with his coffee – mini lemon meringue pie, strawberry and chocolate marshmallow and chocolate macaroons…of course I tried a few..Yes sharing is caring ;-).

Dukes is one of London’s most charming hotels and it’s now exporting that savoir-faire to Dubai with the imminent opening of Dukes Dubai on the Palm Jumeirah. I’m sure it will be a resounding success. It was a wonderfully relaxing lunch that we followed up with a visit to the nearby Royal Academy’s Painting the British Garden exhibition. It seemed like a fitting end to a very British afternoon! What are your favourite British dishes?

Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham at Dukes Hotel, St. James’s Place, London SW1A 1NY

  • Ellie Adams

    Oh my goodness this looks so delicious, I would really like the Peanut crunch for breakfast right now!! 😉


  • Excellent value for money indeed; almost unbelievable. The food is nicely presented, the setting looks luxurious. My favourite British dish is fish and chips. Fairly basic but I’d die for it! 🙂

    • Ooh fish and chips, my hubby is with you on that one but I don’t eat it much as it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure

  • I’ve eaten there and I thought the food was really excellent. Sadly the atmosphere is a little lacking though I went in the evening, maybe it’s better at lunch?

    • There were quite a variety of people when we went, groups of friends, a guy on his own and then a group of ladies having afternoon tea – they certainly seemed to be having fun and it all added to the ambiance

  • Last Christmas I took my Peruvian cousin to sample her first ever afternoon tea at Dukes and it was delicious. Their afternoon tea which we enjoyed in the Drawing Room was in a really lovely intimate setting and I love how discreet this hotel is. That goat’s cheese flan looks very appetising and your chocolate mousse looks delicious too so I will have to try Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham!

    • The afternoon tea did look very tempting, there was a group tucking into it when we were there. The hotel is so hidden away, it’s a great place to take someone from abroad!

  • Lucy

    What a lovely looking hotel. Nigel sounds like just my kind of chef, using the best local produce to create wonderful food. The ham hock and chicken look delicious Lucyx (FoodieForce)

  • ♫ Alison M ♪

    What a gorgeous looking hotel. Love the use of local produce and the food looks amazing

    • It’s one of my favourites in London, they’re so friendly and the food is fantastic

  • Oh that banana dessert looks divine. Everything is beautifully presented!

  • The dishes all look so dainty and colourful – hoping to get to Chapel Down this month to sample their wines for myself 😉

    • Ooh lucky you, I haven’t visited and will look forward to reading your post if you do

  • What a swanky place! yum!

  • Coco Cami

    Wow this looks amazing, super wine selection too 🙂

    Camille xo

  • Elena Dal Maso

    I wish I could go there for a super fine evening… I love so much Ian Fleming and Martinis…


  • The dining area looks so warm and inviting! The food looks incredible and I’m drooling over the desserts and petit fours. Fantastic dinner!

  • What a lovely- and yummy!- meal!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  • As soon as I read how the creator of James Bond had been there, I was waiting for the ‘shaken not stirred’ pun 😉 This restaurant really does look luxurious and the assortment of desserts looks divine!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice | x

    • Also, once again loving your outfit; such a lovely striped colour combination! x

  • This looks lovely! I love the sound of a foraged menu – I went on a foraging course recently and absolutely loved it, such incredible flavours!

    Erin xx

    • Ooh lucky you, I’d love to go on one of those as long as they gave me plenty of guidance as to what not to forage

  • This looks like a fantastic place! I love a restaurant with history! All of the food looks amazing – especially those petits fours -the perfect treat paired with coffee!

    xx, Caitlin

  • That is pretty reasonable for three courses. And the food looks incredible, much more $$$ than what you paid!


  • I love your restaurant review – drooling over food and bookmarking places I want to visit with my hubby :))

    Lu |

  • Marvellous review Suze, you really have me feeling like I was there — especially since I actually love beetroot and as you know I’ve newly been keen on molecular gastronomy. The food presentation is brilliant. Thanks for your comment, wish you a good rest of the week.<3 Madison

  • Wow so beautifully presented, looks like a great evening out!