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“Sedately British with Great Food and Standards” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Parlour

The Parlour
181 Piccadilly | Fortnum & Mason, London W1A 1ER, England (St. James's)
020 7734 8040
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Ranked #3,256 of 17,052 Restaurants in London
Price range: $38 - $53
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Dessert, Delivery, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: St. James's
Transit: Piccadilly Circus (Bakerloo & Piccadilly lines) and Green Park (Jubilee, Victoria & Piccadilly lines) Bus no. 9, 14, 19, 22, 38
Swaffham, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Sedately British with Great Food and Standards”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

The Gallery Restaurant has been a firm favourite of mine for catching up with friends when in London. It is comfortable and the decor is not pretentious or forced. I would highly recommend The Gallery for breakfast; while not cheap, the quality of the food, presentation and service is very high indeed. Being born and raised in Wales, I can confirm with authority that the Welsh Rarebit is the best I have ever tasted, and many Welsh friends feel the same.

The tea menu isn't as extensive as it used to be, but what's available should cover most tastes and interests. If it's tea you want then a visit to the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon on the top floor will be the place to go.

As with all restaurants there have, in the past, been some grumbles - always to do with the service (the food is consistently of a high standard). However, Fortnum's takes seriously anyone who has cause to complain about the service and are ready to make amends immediately. A few months ago we were offered 25% off vouchers (3 of them) for a return visit, 80% off the bill to accommodate for the poor service (it was all down to one member of staff which let the side down on the day) and a face-to-face apology from the senior manager (who insisted on apologising individually to each member of our group).

I have to admit, this has only happened once, and I don't mention it here to frighten you off from visiting, but rather to show the standards that the staff have of themselves and each other. In this case the issue was not only resolved to our satisfaction but we were also given more than we expected (money off, vouchers etc). This, I feel, speaks directly to the high regard the senior staff place on each individual customer.

We visited a few weeks ago and were welcomed with open arms, like long-list relatives... and I must admit we had the best service we've ever experienced. It is for this reason, and for all the other wonderful visits, that I give such high rating for The Gallery... it is easy to make mistakes, it's how they are dealt with that matters.

Prices: the pricing is high, around £5 for a pot of tea (although there is usually about 3-4 cups to be found in the beautiful silver teapots) and the Rarebit that I mentioned is around £10 for one slice or £15 for two slices of bread (with tomato and two rashers of thick-cut Welsh bacon). It is easy for one visit to cost £30 for tea and cake (including 12.5% service charge) and perhaps there may be cheaper places locally (Starbucks or Costa), but the whole point of going to Fortnum's is for the 'experience' that few places in London can match (plus the cakes are out of this world).

We were smitten by the first visit and make a point of visiting every time we visit London (around 3 times a year). Go on... give it a go... and ENJOY!

  • Visited February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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360 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Shop, don't eat”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

Stopped for lunch at the Gallery. Had to flag down the waitress to order (which she got wrong anyway), had to flag staff down to flag the waitress down and on and on. The food was okay but not memorable. By the time they added in the 12.5% service charge lunch was 40 pounds for 2 without dessert or alcohol. Sadly this wonderful London institution has turned into a complete tourist trap. Go ahead and shop, especially in the basement, but don't bother with the restaurants.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Scones - yummy!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

A large cafe/restaurant on the first floor. Courteous and attentive service and tea from a silver ornate tea pot - what a treat. Scones were tiny but really tasty!

Visited March 2013
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Leicester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“Best of British (Almost)”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

We were entertaining some friends from New York and inspired by the recent Olympics/Jubilee festivity - they wanted to go somewhere nice, posh and 'typically British'. We had been to the brilliant Manet exhibition at the Royal Academy and thought, well where better than Fortnum & Mason. The shop itself, although hideously expensive, is well worth a visit and the recently opened basement delicatessen is great fun. However, when it came to lunch, the Parlour restaurant was indeed typically British ,but for all the wrong reasons. The service was appalling and we ended up staying over 2 hours for what was basically a sandwich and a coffee. Having said that, both sandwich & coffee were excellent, and the setting and ambience was superb. However, try and not be in a hurry when you eat here. The waitres(es) were very friendly but forgetful and it took three times of asking to get some water. I know that water is a non-profit item for F & M, but we were drinking champagne aswell, so I think a little effort was deserved. Anyway, don't let me put you off - it is still great there, but don't be in a rush.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Best fish and chips outside of Yorkshire”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

Had lunch with a journalist and an MEP. They both had fish and chips over which they were waxing lyrical. I had goats cheese and pumpkin salad. First pumpkin I have had that hasn't been stomach churningly slimy. Good value.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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