It’s such a pain to organise the company Christmas Party. Everyone has ideas about what we should do and whatever is chosen by the organiser (myself in this case) is never quite right. To be honest, I had this restaurant forced on me. I wanted to go to a fancy rooftop place, but that was not up to the standards of the partners. The Lockhart was tested and approved by the powers that be. Many of the staff were not enthused, as we ordered lunch from them once and what they sent to us was not up to par. But in the end, The Lockhart provided the perfect service. I think they hired a new restaurant/events manager, which made all the difference.
The Lockhart cooks food based on recipes from the American South. Good old-fashioned comfort food with Fitzrovia prices. Mississippi born chef Brad McDonald has cooked in New York before and the website describes its style as featuring “some of Brad’s Brooklyn gastro flair” and “a refined spin on Southern American cooking”. The place offers a sit-down area on the ground floor and a cocktail bar in the basement. It’s the same rustic-chic look that so many restaurants are going for nowadays, but they are pulling it off nicely. I noticed they installed the typical New York tin ceiling tiles – possibly as a reference to the restaurant he had in Brooklyn. It looks good. Also, from some parts of the dining area, one is able to look into the kitchen and watch the chefs cook, which is always exciting.
As we were a group of around 50 people I had the menu done up by the Events Manager. She and the chef came up with a menu, which was close to their Winter menu, but also included our requests. We were also invited to sample the wine list to tell them what we would like to have served with the meal. In the same session we also found the perfect arrival drink through trial and error. They offered a savoury pear mix, which was highly unusual. I think I may return to try some of their other cocktails. In the end we went for a more traditional Manhattan with a Pecan twist.
The food was served family style.
Buttermilk wedge salad with bacon & chopped egg
Roasted potimarron squash, candied pecans, Colston basset
Spinach dip in a bread bowl
Smoked venison haunch & smoked heritage breed turkey, red cabbage sauerkraut, creamed corn, red eye gravy & cranberry sauce
Extra Sides: Coleslaw, collard greens & Smoked new potatoes, Cornbread
Chocolate cheese pie
Sadly not many photos of the food during the evening, as I was too busy with the Christmas crackers and chatting with everyone. Oh, the fun we had.
Most of my colleagues found the Pecan Manhattan too strong. What a shame. As a result I had more than one, as a good Manhattan shouldn’t go to waste. The starters were all nice. I was a bit worried how to eat the spinach dip, as it was coming in the bread (baked at the restaurant), but they cut them into four and the spinach dip was thick enough that it didn’t run. In my mind there must be a joke about running spinach somewhere, but sadly even Google said “No.” The squash was fine and the buttermilk wedge salad was… strange. It’s basically iceberg salad cut open a bit. It then has buttermilk cream and bacon in between the leaves.
The Mains were delicious as well, but some were surprising: The cornbread was very sweet. Same for the corn. Everything else was as expected and tasted very nice.
The vegetarian option was Hoppin’ John. It’s made with black-eyed peas, rice and chopped onions. Not mind-blowing, but I understand that a restaurant which concentrates on the meat heavy recipes of the South would have some problems with vegetarian options. Normally even this dish would include some bacon – I’m sure it would have quite a lot of bacon.
All in all it was a great meal and most importantly everybody had a good time. BUT I have to say that I personally would not pay the price they charge for traditional Southern style comfort food. These recipes are generally speaking very basic and preparing them normally doesn’t cost much as ingredients are cheap and easy to come by. I really like the food, but I cannot see the Fine Dining aspect in it at all.
22-24 Seymour Place, W1H 7NL