Fortnum & Mason review
It doesn’t get more quintessentially British than Fortnum & Mason. But while many might assume it’s just the iconic shop and elegantly glamorous tea rooms on the fourth floor there are also four private dining rooms available.
Two of these feed off the main tea room on the fourth floor: the Drawing Room and The Tasting Room.
The Drawing Room is a stunning space. With birdcage style wallpaper tying in with the specific Fortnums ‘eau denil’ hue of blue, the David Collins designed room is filled with natural daylight from the windows on either side, while the white table cloths, padded armless bucket chairs, bluey green carpet with branch style lines running through it and original coving with wall features of gold leaf light stems complete the look of outdoors inside.
While the room looks timelessly elegant, the IT is bang up to date complete with TV screen, sound system and air conditioning. The space is completely versatile, used for everything from the traditional afternoon teas, to meetings, presentations, wedding receptions, product launches, breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
The Tasting Room seats up to 10 guests for tastings – there are over 160 different types of tea, drinks or meetings. The room has light parquet flooring with limed oak wood panelling housing classically designed Fortnum’s tea caddies and a marble counter which can as easily be used as a tasting counter as a cocktail bar. Windows overlook the Royal Academy of Arts to one side, while the internal windows provide views of the main tea room, albeit partially obscured by traditional tea-room half curtains, allow for a degree of anonymity, whilst being able to enjoy the feel of the larger room.
The Drawing Room and Tasting room have their own toilets (with disabled access) and cloakroom on the same floor.
Directly above on the fifth floor is the newly opened Board Room. With the feel of a livery hall, it has space for 18 seated. Two pillars at one end of the room add to the sense of occasion, as do the building’s original wood carvings, classical artwork, a fine wood tallboy desk, high backed wooden carved chairs and cream tapestry complimenting the cream walls. The room also has screened off AV equipment, dedicated toilets and an ante room which can be used for pre-dinner drinks.
The fourth private dining room is in the basement by the Wine Cellar. The Crypt – down a few red-carpeted stairs – is a secret wood-panelled room that houses a collection of to-die-for wine bottles, think Petrus, Dom Perignon, Crystal, Krug, Pomerol, Chateau La Tour, Rothschild etc. A black wrought iron chandelier hangs from the original oak ceilings while a royal warrant coat of arms is the decoration by the striking stone fireplace. Dinners have been designed especially to be in keeping with the style of the room with sharing platters for starters followed by a meat or fish feast such as rib of beef, leg of lamb or whole baked seabass.
For the other rooms there are six Winter set menus of between three to six courses and three Christmas options with prices ranging from £45 – £90. The cuisine is Classic British in style with provenance high on the agenda. Dishes range from Jerusalem artichoke soup with truffle Chantilly to Roast Gressingham duck breast ‘a la orange’ with glazed Chantenay carrots and five spice croquettes to lemon meringue pie and pear and sherry trifle for dessert.