The heritage hotel has been transformed into the jazzy Kettner’s Townhouse
Kettner’s Restaurant and Champagne Bar, located in the heart of London’s ritzy Soho district, has long been an institution in the city. Throughout its illustrious, nearly 150-year run, chef August Kettner — rumoured to have worked for Napoleon III himself — and the subsequent staff were said to have been among the first to serve French food in London, welcoming a slew of notable visitors including Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde and Margaret Thatcher. Now, the storied property has been reinvented by new-age private members’ club Soho House to be fitted for a new generation — debuting as the lavish Kettner’s Townhouse boutique hotel, restaurant, and bar earlier this year.
Running along the second floor of a row of historic Georgian town houses, the 33 guest rooms are reached by elevator or an authentic, 18th-century brass-rimmed staircase. Inspired by art-nouveau design and stylised after a French boudoir, each bedroom is individually adorned with carefully curated furnishings — a mélange of vintage and specially made pieces. Opulent details like Georgian fireplaces, crystal chandeliers, heritage windows, hand-painted floral wallpaper, scalloped headboards in rich velvets and William Morris prints give each room a lush, home-like feel. Bathrooms feature tiled rainforest showers or retro porcelain tubs — all stocked with a full range of organic Cowshed products. For an extra-indulgent experience, book the 860-square-foot (or about 80 square-metre) Jacobean Suite, which boasts Edwardian-style detailing, oak paneling, an emperor-sized bed, a copper bathtub and a private entrance.
Downstairs, Kettner’s restaurant has been revamped to mirror a classic 1920s Art Deco French bistro. The space retains much of its original floral plaster etchings and mahogany detailing, while the adjacent Champagne bar has kept its original meticulous mosaic flooring, walnut wood and marble bar, Asian-inspired screens, and glass, French-style lighting. The restoration of the space also uncovered a series of historic murals—silk-screen prints by Sara J. Beazley, which now line the walls of the ground floor.
The restaurant’s menu remains traditionally French, but with a modern touch and a focus on locally sourced ingredients. Mains of note include Banham roasted chicken with truffles and pommes Anna, beef filet with fries and peppercorn sauce and a hearty Cornish seafood bouillabaisse. The Champagne bar serves bubbly by the flute, coupe, and bottle or mixed into effervescent cocktails, which are paired with indulgent bites ranging from mini Scotch eggs to Exmoor caviar-topped blinis to Fine de Claire oysters. As a bonus addition, an intimate piano bar has been added, where guests and members can enjoy live music while swilling a few drinks.