This is open to Friends of The Academy only for lunch, but to the public from 4pm. A somewhat bizarre warren of rooms located on the lower ground floor comprises a bar, a garden, and two dining rooms. The bar is red, fairly lively, and serves good cocktails, whereas the restaurant rooms are green with crisp, white tablecloths and comfortable cream leather seating. The atmosphere is intimate but a little stark; this is not a buzzy place. However,the menu is modern, seasonal and exciting, as is the presentation – aptly very artistic!
Irresistible warm bread arrived with delicious butter, and we chose from a comprehensive but pleasingly short menu. Sorbets were delightful, refreshing and smooth – a sweet tomato one, perfectly balancing the Gazpacho, or a flaming red pepper one alongside the tartare of John Dory, topped with a delicate tomato tuile. There was also a zesty lime one with fennel and broad bean salad. Great contrasts in flavours; wonderful summer starters. Even the snail ravioli was light and fragrant, the pasta almost see-through.
The halibut was stunning with a purple potato espuma, and a cod brandade, a clever palette of fish and potatoes, was further set off by a fabulous olive crumb. A triumph!
The dishes had good contrasts of textures and tastes. Monkfish with tender octopus had a light, lemony sauce. Meat dishes were served with delicate seasonal vegetables and flavourful jus as opposed to heavy sauces.
Sorbets and ice-creams featured again with desserts. Rhubarb sorbet with rhubarb rice pudding, and chilled strawberry soup with ‘pain d’epice’ ice-cream were all pretty as a picture.
Enthusiastic young waiters provided good service. It cost around £50 to £60 a head, but there is a very good value pre-theatre menu that is worth checking out too.
The Keeper’s House Restaurant
Royal Academy of Arts
London W1J 0BD
020 7300 5881