Christopher’s Martini Bar & Restaurant > 18 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London
Scheduling a dinner in London when your friends live in all 4 corners of the city can become quite the battle. Do you head North? We all love Islington, or down to Parson’s Green or Notting Hill perhaps? Why do we all choose to avoid Central London on a Friday night? Unless it’s to head to a place we know well, (we all have our safety net restaurants we can rely on) rarely will I risk a Friday night in the centre of town on a place I don’t know, why risk it.
Seriously though, it’s time for a change. I’ll spare you my list of favourites for now because I want to share a true gem. Right in the heart of Covent Garden is Christopher’s Grill, and I was invited to dinner with 3 school friends last Friday, what a treat.
Now this place has been holding the same spot on the Monopoly board for decades. Founded by Christopher Gilmour, this prime patch of land is perfect for pre and post theatregoers and the media brands that swarm the streets of neighbouring Soho. The original place for Surf N Turf long before it became perfectly normal to see it on your local, well brasserie style local pub menu.
18 Wellington Street is a stones throw from Piccadilly, Christopher’s stands proudly on the corner with Exeter Street. A handsome confident town house with giant front doors and a team of incredibly charming hosts to greet you as you arrive. Do they shake the hands of all the guests who arrive I wonder? Very sweet in any case. I knew only what I had read pre arrival, so was thrilled to see my 3 guests seated with their cocktails in a packed bar at 8pm. This was a great start…
Christopher’s re-opened in May 2013 following an extensive renovation unveiling the three main spaces, the Martini Bar, Dining Room and Club Room. With a view of recalling the feeling of Modern American Glamour, the Martini Bar on the raised ground level with it’s sweeping marble surfaces certainly elevated you an era past. London on a Friday night can be a tricky place to navigate finding a good drink and a place to sit down. So far, Christopher’s was winning.
An atmospheric drinking parlour with a cocktail list so heavy on the Martini’s, we dived straight in with a Nutella Martini above (you have to try a nutella martini right?!), and lychee rose martini’s all round. Put us four together and we will never stop talking, but the restaurant were perfectly charming about holding our table until we were ready to move upstairs.
As we headed upstairs (our cocktail tab was transferred upstairs) the Dining Room consisted of two connecting rooms with booths, larger tables in the centre and smaller tables to the walls. A grand space with Serge Moulle lighting (a LWSY favourite) elegant cornicing and ceiling mouldings.This is an elegant space, whether you are 30 or 60.
My test in any restaurant is would my Dad enjoy it? Can I hear my guests speak? Can I call the attention of a waiter when I need to? Are we being looked after? Many questions go through my mind before I can even look at a menu. My next question is can I have a copy of the menu (I collect them). All signs were pointing in the right direction. We were all loving Christopher’s (I did forget the menu though).
Christopher’s is a place to spoil yourself. I chose my starter from the Raw Bar, we also enjoyed the Tuna Tartare (£13) Beef Carpaccio (£11) Blackened Shrimps (£11) and the Scallop Ceviche (£12). All heavenly, and beautifully presented.
Our main courses were all about USDA prime steak, from £25 for a 10oz to £68 for an 8oz Wagyu. A Tasting Steak gets you a 4oz rib-eye, 4oz fillet and 2oz wagyu fillet for £56. I enjoyed a wonderful rare fillet with a béarnaise sauce. One tried the whole Maine Lobster (£39) with garlic butter and I know we didn’t hear a peep from her once she tucked in. We all shared sides of truffle fries, lobster mac n cheese, tomato and onion salad and mixed greens. Hearty and indulgent, I know.
Whole Maine Lobster
The Tasting Steak Selection
With no room for pudding I suggested our waiter brought me a surprise. I had the sharing platter for 2, ahem, for 1.
The dining room below.
So in conclusion to my general avoidance of Covent Garden on a weekend unless it’s to get to Balthazar, I have been converted, and I’m looking forward to returning to Christopher’s another weekend. I hear the brunches are pretty special. This is relaxed food in an elegant environment, and I would thoroughly recommend you try it for yourself.