A second look inside 67 Pall Mall

24 May 2016  If you're looking for the dress code for 67 Pall Mall, the club rules state: 'All Members and Guests are required to maintain an appropriate standard of dress in the club-house at all times. Gentlemen are expected to wear a jacket and smart trousers together with a collared shirt. Members and their Guests wearing formal national dress of uniform appropriate to their office are welcome. Ladies are expected to dress commensurately. The following items of dress are not considered acceptable in the clubhouse: shorts; leggings; t-shirts or their close relations; tracksuits; flip flops, training shoes or plimsolls; rugby or football tops. The club doesn't love jeans but if you do and wish to wear them that is fine by us.'

Incidentally, the club does hold stock of rather nice Reiss jackets which can be borrowed by any visitors who forget to bring their own.

31 December 2015  Following on from my first look inside 67 Pall Mall, I visited again yesterday. Having been questioned about bias in my previous review, I consulted their dress code and upon seeing no requirement for rose-tinted glasses, duly left mine at home.

The table was booked for lunch at one o'clock, and I was called the evening before with confirmation, and a warning that their card machines had been temperamental, so bringing cash would be appreciated. On arrival, two staff were at reception to take coats and lead us to our table.

The biggest problem of our lunch became immediately apparent. Around the walls of the room, banquette seating has been installed which is sadly unfit for purpose. The sitting position is too low, and the cushion slopes backwards, making it doubly awkward to lean forward to eat. Confounding the problem is the wide conical foot of the tables, which give very little room to manoeuvre your feet. All this furnishing looks great, but practically speaking falls short. [Later that day: I now hear that cushions are being provided, and the height and rake of the seating is being rebuilt in due course.]

Discomfort aside, the ambience was mellow and welcoming. Menus were brought to our table and water was offered. The food is divided into five or six sections, with starters and mains available from each. Food prices look about par for good London restaurants. But what about the wine?

The iPad wine list is still in construction, so a printed list was provided. This is neat, legible and well ordered, around ten pages long and with everything available by the glass. As you'd expect, it is an impressive selection. Red bordeaux is the lengthiest section, which is no bad thing when it doesn't come at the expense of other choices. At a glance, everything is well represented across a range of prices. There were plenty of options where I was looking: Riesling from Germany and beyond, Loire Chenin, Northern Rhône Syrah and a good number of oddments from around the world.

The only significant omission is rosé, with nothing currently on the list. Granted, demand for pink wine is probably minimal in London wintertime, but when you've got salmon on the menu it seems a slight oversight. I can't remember seeing any Muscadet either (though I could be wrong about that). Doubtless their full list will be more comprehensive.

None of it is cheap, with 125 ml glasses starting at around £7, but this is precisely the point of the place. The most expensive glass is £426 for Screaming Eagle (I missed the vintage), then £425 for Ch Latour 1961. We drank a glass each of Condrieu, Montlouis, Réné Rostaing Côte Blonde 2003 Côte Rôtie, Mountford Hommage à l'Alsace 2011 Waipara, a 1991 Vin Santo from Santorini and Quinta do Noval 2007 port. All excellent, and cost a total of £98. For an illustration of value, the Rostaing is currently being retailed for £110 a bottle, making 125 ml worth £18; at 67PM this was £23. 

The food was familiar but superbly done, with excellent flavour, great ingredients and precise cooking. It may not surprise adventurous eaters, but it should have something to satisfy anyone. The staff were attentive, discreet, friendly and in full control throughout, to us and every table that I saw.

If it wasn't for the flawed seating, I might be accused of writing another pandering panegyric. Indeed, apart from that problem, I still find a lot to like about 67 Pall Mall.