LONDON, ENGLAND: The historic Stafford Hotel’s extraordinary American Bar and Game Bird Restaurant are legends standing the test of time. Through the eras they have managed to evolve while maintaining their position of timeless sophistication. The two venues merge the past traditions of a private members’ club during the war with a fresh and lighter take on classic British cuisine.
Converted to a hotel in 1912 when the three residences of 16-18 St. James Place were combined to produce the fine hotel known and loved today. Top hats and coat tails await with greetings. Walk in through double doors to the past re-imagined.
Setting the tone for your Royal Engagement
First stop of the evening is at one of the last standing American Bar’s in London. Renowned in London and Paris during the 1920’s-30s. Named The American Bar due to it’s United States and Canadian servicemen stationed in London during World War Two.
The uniquely “secret club” was established and the layer of mystery and wonder separated her from her rival “American Bar” at The Savoy.
The moment has changed. It’s like entering a dark and vampy time of prohibition and cigars. Secret whispers and bustling conversation seem to feel so different in the “American Bar”. As if you aren’t supposed to hear but can’t help but listen. That elusive feel has been mastered and sustained through the years.
Cocktail Experience at The American Bar
The recently re-launched bar was designed by Rosandale designs. They have done a beautiful job of retaining the history of the room. The marble bar paired with mahogany paneling sets the standard for the American Bar’s message. “Here to stay, and I know who I am”.
Drinks are prepared in vintage glassware. The emerald green upholstery adds the perfect layer of royalty that evokes St. James Court.
Slide into a back corner table and take notice of the ceiling. Ties dangle interlaced with hats and artifacts from visitors of the past. Wanting to leave a mark on their time in this hidden “majestic” place. Signed photographs hang on the wall from the hotel’s famous patrons, past and present. If these walls could talk. What intimate secrets would they divulge?
A Specialty Drink Menu
A drink menu with a story to tell follows 12 specifically created cocktails by Benoit Provost. As Director of the American Bar, his creations are modern but layered with the aura of the vintage era signature they deserve. Cocktail lovers will enjoy a journey through some of his signature creations.
The story of The White Mouse: Nancy Wake. The allies most decorated servicewomen and Gestapo’s most wanted person. She was named the “White Mouse” for her ability to elude capture.
Sit back and re-live her bravery and courage tasting a Gin based drink. Champagne and lemon juice with hints of Rosemary and the classic egg white, served up, quite lovely, very tasty, and empowering.
James Bond and Churchill in a glass
James Bond fans will enjoy the Moonraker. With the gentlemen’s clubs of St. James being a regular stomping ground for the men of MI5 and MI6 it is a fitting addition to the menu. Ian Flemming himself was a frequent visitor.
It is said the fiction club Blades, referenced in many of his novels is based off of clubs in the area. Connect to your inner Bond, James Bond, with this Gin based cocktail.
A private cobblestone courtyard offers a Cigar menu for the ages and all pallets. Options like “Romeo Y Juliette Short Churchill” add uniqueness to the menu. Linked to Winston Churchill after his visit to the factory in 1946, solidifying his choice of this robust cigar is quite fitting.
Enjoy a drink of your choice paired with a cigar catered to you in this hidden patio, surrounded by the passing whispers of too many stories to tell.
Dinner at The Game Bird Restaurant-
The Game Bird is the other side of the coin that shares a vision of the private member’s club in the Stafford Hotel. Laced with classic British décor effortlessly seduces the start of an evening of classic culinary joy.
At the helm is Ben Tish as culinary Director and Executive Chef Jozef Rogulski. Launched in 2017, the Game Bird nabbed quite a few awards, including the restaurant of the year at the Hotel Caytes, 2017. They maintain a focus on British classic cuisine with a unique and innovative flare, partnered with a relaxed-fine dining experience.
The Décor of the room is airy and romantic. Colors of pale blue mix with lush design touches, plush seating and hidden nooks. Along the wall you will find specially commissioned artwork, famously showcasing Her Royal Highness, the Queen. The art is created by some of the Great Britains leading young artists and adds a flare that epitomizes The Game Bird Restaurant.
Royal service and atmosphere
A mix of the old London and the new creates a historical merging of 5-star service. Surrounded by elements of Her Majesty, one can’t help but sit a little taller and enjoy your glass of bubbly. In her honor, of course.
Get the lovely nook next to the newly added champagne bar. Holding the center of attention of the restaurant, the Queen sets the tone for the dinner to come. Decadent. Perfection. Flare.
Its an ideal spot to watch the “ball” unfold around you. Surrounded by pillars and crown molding that will make your inner interior designer start a new Pinterest page. Sink into the plush velvet couch and perk your ears up. This is a dining experience.
A first rate staff
The team at the Stafford is in a class of their own. Knowledge is power and they pride themselves on time well spent learning and growing with the venue, and their regulars that frequent.
A strong and loyal staff partners seamlessly with a return clientele of 30 years or more. It’s the atmosphere of a local spot that welcomes out side guests. No posh here, all friends, and all welcome.
Dinner is Served at The Game Bird Restaurant
Experts at their craft, you will be deliciously guided and mesmerized during your dinner experience. Giorgio Scarsella, Sommelier and Luca Gaeta, Restaurant Manager, are a match made in European restaurant heaven.
There is a time and place to take control of the menu and ordering and this is not that place. The awareness and attention to detail on allergies should give comfort to those traveling with “challenges.” Take the suggestions. Live a little. Explore the menu and enjoy.
Start the evening with a champagne suggestion. Take in the story of the location and how weather creates the bubbly perfection rolling around your palette. The opportunity to share a dining journey with a passionate sommelier is a unique experience. Get lost in the moment of the scene he is painting. See the terrain of the evening through the eyes of the wine.
Game Bird Restaurant: Salmon and smoked eel
A trolley approaches the table. Lightly smoked and Cured salmon is carved in front of your eyes and placed precisely for your tasting pleasure. Smoked and cured in house, including a London Cure of H Forman and Son smoked salmon, as well as the Balvenie.
Smoked eel and little layers of garnishes like the horseradish crème fraiche, chopped egg, pickles and capers compete for your attention. The consistency is so delicate, and the pairings are balanced perfectly.
Giorgio will walk through suggested wines as he has been informed of the dinner order. With a vast wine cellar, his suggestions are most welcomed.
The suggestion and winner by a long-shot for the evening was the Chenin Blanc from Lievland. A south African wine, with notes of white peach and citrus on the nose, with a rich buttery mouthful. Wonderfully smooth finish that you will not regret having.
The Game Bird Restaurant specialties
When in Rome- or when dining at the Game Bird Restaurant one should try the “named dish”. The Game Bird. After all, the glass cases lining the wall of couches are housing the bird in full view.
French farmed pigeon with the breast roasted and the legs braised in wine. A plum sauce is made with the juices cooked from the pigeon. Spinach and parsnips are mixed in with cabbage to complete the decadent dish. Comparison in texture would be to a filet but so much more. Buttery. Flavorful. Unique.
Game Bird Restaurant: Lobster truffle macaroni
The other weakness of most humans is “Truffle”. Truffle combined with lobster Macaroni and Cheese is a win win dish, and the Game Bird does it so “bloody” well. Served in a covered cast iron skillet, with plenty to share. A wonderful balance of lobster and creamy cheeses with the perfect flavoring of truffle oil. This dish is hearty, so come prepared to attempt to share.
The main dishes subside. The euphoria of the evening settles in. Like a guest of honor, a Brandy paring suggestion comes with a splendid dessert. A salted caramel soufflé with Tonka bean ice cream is a light and fluffy way to end your pallet on a sweet note. Tasting like the midnight hour, tonight’s Cinderella experience is coming to the end. Must not “let the slipper fall.”
Stafford Hotel: The Wine cellar
An adventure lies ahead in a wine cellar dreams are made of. Take a journey down through this 17th century gem. Rumored to be one of the largest in England. Larger, even than the Queen’s own.
Built by Lord Francis Godolphin in the 17th century, the cellar was used as an air raid shelter in World War Two. In addition to holding 8,000 bottles of wine from all over the world, there is a section dedicated to the time of war. You will find posters and memorabilia from the era, and moments can easily get lost in the time spent down there drinking it all in..
It can all be experienced with a wine tasting and wine pairing dinner. Candlelit tours take the guest through the entire collection. With private dining options for up to 44 guests, the cellar can be an amazing dinner destination.
The Stafford Hotel: Historical legacy, royal sophistication
The Stafford Hotel demands warmth with sophistication. Taking her guests on a journey through time. Laced with a passion for British Cuisine. Craft cocktails with a story to share, and a wine experience around the world.
From the first hello to the last goodbye, a guest may not be the Queen of England, but The American Bar and the Game Bird will make them feel like they are her special guest. Take a bow and curtsey. Hold on to your glass slipper. Then disappear into the night, until next time.