The newly refurbished Victorian gin palace, Crocker’s Folly, stands proudly on the corner of Aberdeen Place in St John’s Wood, NW8. It was first bought and turned into a gin palace by entrepreneur Frank Crocker whose intention was to service the traffic from the great central railway’s new terminus, only to find the powers that be moved the site and rehoused it at Marylebone which is one mile away.
We started our experience with a glass of fine bubbles which we sipped in the Lord’s Dining Room, named after the cricket ground near at hand, whilst taking in the ambience created in part by the centrepiece chandelier. This hung in all its glory looking like it could tell a story or two from years gone by and being kept in good company with the huge marble fireplace which serves the Lord’s Dining Room and the Marble Room restaurants. The latter boasts 50 different types of marble in place!
So, moving on to the food. It is all prepared by the fabulous chef Damian Wawrzyniak and his team who created the most wonderful amuse-bouche for us which was raw lamb carpaccio with shallots and fennel, quite a delicate and delightful taste and not like anything I have had before. My main course was sea bass cooked with a champagne sauce. My colleague had the 28-day aged sirloin steak with a green peppercorn sauce and, after a tour of the kitchen, we saw where chef Damian ages his meat in his dedicated cold room.
Everything we tasted was so delicious, and all served by an excellent and knowledgeable front of house staff, so how could we not try a dessert? I had an apple mille feuille and my colleague the chocolate parfait with passion fruit sorbet. We do this girly thing whereby we taste each other’s, and although I thought I had made the right choice for my palate, I have to say her dessert was a gastronomical delight. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and so did our experience. But I will be back, as they say in the movies, and as it’s a short taxi from Marylebone station –which I use on occasion – I will make the detour for what can only be described as one of the best meals this side of the river…