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A Birthday at Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham


My friend Tori and I have a little tradition of celebrating her birthday together with dinner and a few glasses of champers…we love spending time together talking about the days when we both worked in publishing and catching up on all the latest. So when I was invited to check out Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham at Duke’s Hotel┬áit seemed like the ideal place for a chilled out dinner.

Following a meeting at Waterstone’s, I dashed through the back streets of St James’ to meet my friend, it was freezing cold and the twinkling lights on the front of the luxury hotel could not have been more welcome.

Being a luxury hotel addict, and London dweller, I was surprised that I’d never visited the hotel that was historically a retreat for royalty, politicians and members of the arts. The upstairs bar was very busy and I was pointed towards the sanctuary of The PJ Bar.

The lounge was a gorgeously feminine space with lime green sofas and highlights of raspberry pink.

Any of my friends reading this will see why I like it, as the colour palette is identical to my own living room.

The lounge is in partnership with Perrier Jouet, a champagne which I love not only for the light taste but for the gorgeous floral bottle. I loved the way the sumptuous rug reflected that iconic bottle with the hand stitched anemones.


And there was a whole wall for selfies!!


When Tori arrived our lovely waitress for the night bought out a tray of canapes: parmesan popcorn and truffle cream stuffed gougeres.


And of course, a glass each of that iconic champagne. We settled down into the plush sofa with it’s sofa cushions and Tori opened her present and card while we caught up on life! Both of us had some pending travel plans with Tori heading off to Amsterdam for her husband’s birthday and my trip to Istanbul coming up.

The gorgeous bar is right next to the restaurant so once we’d quaffed our bubbles we headed next door.

The restaurant was a little quiet early on, but soon filled out a bit. Now I must say if you’re looking for a party atmosphere, Thirty Six is not the place for you, though it is ideal for a relaxed and quiet night and the perfect place for taking the parents.

Tori and I would be sampling the new rustic menu starting with an amuse bouche of apple and celery soup.

The soup was deliciously creamy and the perfect way to warm my cockles from the freezing cold night.

It was accompanied by two fluffy mini loaves which had a beautifully crisp crust. I have to admit that I thought the menu was a little limited as there were only four options for starter and four for main but fortunately for us we saw some of our favourite dishes available.
Tori chose the white crab with avocado and pink grapefruit, a very light fresh and zesty dish. The dish is actually rather reflective of the chef’s childhood; Nigel Mendham grew up in Norfolk and spent his summers on the beach clam picking and crabbing and then he would return home to cook with his mother. Nigel has drawn inspiration from background in Norfolk for the dishes on the menu.
My starter represented ingredients from the earth rather than the sea and I loved the hearty rustic flavours in my plate of artichokes, duck and autumn truffle. Nigel’s focus on quality ingredients really came through with this dish and the artichokes particularly were superb.
My main course was a perfectly cooked and seasoned John Dory. I loved the char on the cauliflower and the accompanying light sauce. The portions were just perfect and I loved how everything was cooked and plated, you can certainly see why Nigel Mendham has been awarded with three AA rosettes.

Venison with celeriac, barley pearls and black pudding was delicious and you can see from the photo how beautifully cooked it was.

Tori, went for the chocolate fondant for dessert, I regret not getting a photo of the perfectly molten chocolate centre. Just imagine the famous M & S advert and you’ll get the picture.

My dessert actually tasted a bit like Christmas. It was a gorgeous combination of winter ingredients, spiced plums, ginger and iced yogurt.

After dinner we popped upstairs to the main cocktail bar, which was buzzy and full of people. We were also keen to have another glass of champers and finish catching up with each. The excellent staff at Thirty Six had over heard that it was Tori’s birthday and they presented us with a gorgeous platter of mint macarons, chocolate, marshmallows and cupcakes. It was so thoughtful of them and like a girl’s night in on a plate.


Thank you Thirty Six for lovely food, great bubbly and for looking after us on a special birthday night!

Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham
Dukes, St James’s Place

Call 0207 491 4840 to make a reservation

Our dinner at Thirty Six was complimentary

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