There are some stunning parks in London, but one that I seem to forget about is St James’s. Tucked in between Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, it’s actually a real beauty, as I discovered when I went for dinner at Inn The Park with Sophie recently. The name is quite self explanatory – it’s a wooden, almost chalet-style building located right in the middle of the park.
We were seated outside overlooking the park and lake (and plenty of joggers, but we turned a blind eye to them as we knocked back the wine!!) and it was certainly a lovely spot.
The menu at Inn The Park is separated into small plates, main courses and desserts. We weren’t completely sure how big the small plates would be (there was a special offer to share three between two people) but we decided to go for one each. When they arrived, I’d say they were big enough for a starter portion, especially sitting outside on a warm summer day, you don’t need anything heavy.
Sophie ordered the Suffolk asparagus, purple sprouting, egg & hazelnuts and I ordered the handpicked Cornish crab, avocado & nashi pear.
The egg was well poached (look at that yolk!) and the crab was tasty, although unfortunately I did have to pick out a couple of hard bits of shell.
For the main course, Sophie being the queen of all burgers (seriously, check out her blog and social channels) ordered the Dexter steak burger, maple cured bacon & Mayfield Swiss cheese, and I went for the Barbecue chicken, corn pakoras, chilli and lime yoghurt.
They were two quite different dishes – the burger was a typical burger and chips dish. The waiter had said it would be cooked ‘medium’ but it was definitely more well done.
The chicken was presented very well and seemed to be a bit more adventurous. I was dying to tuck into the corn fritters as I’ve had a bit of a thing for these for a while now. But there was an unusual surprise. In each of these little fritters was at least one whole coriander seed. This just didn’t work for me – the textures were jarring with the hard crunch of the seed with the softness of the fritter, and as you can probably imagine, the flavour was very overpowering. Fortunately the chicken was cooked very well and the BBQ flavour was lovely.
For dessert, I had my eye on the cheeseboard (obviously!) and Sophie was all about the chocolate pot with pistachio brittle. I’d say that these were the best courses, they were really lovely. It always helps when you get a massive cheeseboard, look at the size of it! The cheeses were some of my favourites too – Quickes Cheddar, Wigmore and Barkham Blue.
So overall I wouldn’t say it was the most successful dinner in terms of some of the flavours and cooking, but it was still a really enjoyable evening, with great service. The location is excellent and when I went inside to use the bathroom, I could see that it was very much a ‘cafe’ style inside to serve the park-goers during the day. I’d suggest popping in for some lunch as it’s ideally located in a beautiful spot. It’s not that far from our office and outdoor eating spots are few and far between around us, so it’s perfect for this amazing weather we’re having!
You can find out more about Inn The Park here.
I was invited to review the restaurant by Inn The Park and Roche Communications but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.