St Luke’s Kitchen can be found under the relatively newly opened LIB-RARY on St Martin’s Lane; as the seeming random ‘-’ in LIB-RARY probably tells you, there are a few differences to be found to the council-run variety. A private members club complete with a fully stocked bar and jumping live music isn’t exactly virgin territory for the heart of Westminster. My associate and I weren’t there to soak up the nightlife so regretfully we finished off our (thoroughly excellent) Old Fashioneds and headed down into St Luke’s Kitchen, the club’s attached restaurant (which is open to non-members provided they book ahead) in a pleasantly cosy nook under the main bar. With enough varieties of wine available to float a cruise liner, there seems little danger of anyone mistaking St Luke’s for a church, but Head Chef, Gavin Lambert has made every effort to make things as heavenly as possible. In keeping with the Library theme of the upstairs club our menus were partially concealed inside books, a charming little quirk that seemingly every other patron of the restaurant was able to discover within seconds whilst I sat gormlessly waiting for the menu to materialise until one of the waiters tactfully took pity on me.
St Luke’s menu is fairly unique in that it rotates every 6-8 weeks for a selection based on cookbooks as the restaurant works with author chefs and publishers to come up with a new menu that suits the style of the guest chef in question. For our visit we started with the Quail 3 Ways, Onion Confit and Crispy Bacon and the Seared Tuna Loin, Pickled Mooli, Cucumber and Radish; of which the quail was the definite standout, moist and satisfying without being too gamey and perfectly complemented by the onion confit (the crispy bacon might have erred too much towards the “crispy” rather than the “bacon” but that’s nit-picking), the tuna loin was equally delicious but there just wasn’t enough of it to properly savour. St Luke’s pride themselves on pairing the right wine to the right courses and by the time our mains emerged, ties were being loosened (or at least mine was, my companion had forgotten he wasn’t wearing one and seemed to be trying to tear open his shirt collar). I ravenously tore through my Roasted pork tenderloin, crispy Parma ham, blue cheese croquette and apple purée, the undisputed jewel of the meal (and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t even like blue cheese), the pork was mouthwateringly tender and juicy (and there was plenty of it) and whilst the Parma ham was certainly crisp, it didn’t feel like it could be utilized as a knife in a pinch, like the bacon. My companion opted for the Pan fried sea bass, chard, speck and lentil dressing, of which I particularly favoured the lentil dressing, (my friend was fiercely protective of his main after his tuna loin, so I could only sneak small tastes when he was otherwise concerned with his wine. Thankfully this was a fairly regular event). Closing with a decadently rich Dark Chocolate Mousse we were practically rolled out of the tasteful interior of St Luke’s and into the chaos of Theatreland. Considering the locale, the prices (around £16.00 for a main) seemed more than reasonable and it’s nice to step off the busy streets and find a little peace and quiet in the LIB-RARY. LIB-RARY Private Members Club Martin’s, 112 St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4BD T: 020 3302 7912