257 55 Jermyn St, London SW1 WHO among us would not wish to lunch or dine at Wiltons more often? The Spectator recently called this classic Jermyn Street restaurant ‘an almost entirely flawless institution’, and we agree. This entirely flawless reputation is further enhanced for our Members by means of a complimen- tary glass of Champagne to welcome you as a CountryClubuk Member, along with your guests. This great British establishment wins the title of London’s oldest restaurant if one counts its be- ginnings in 1742 as an oyster stall on Haymarket. It became a restaurant on Ryder Street in 1840 and received its first Royal Warrant in 1884. In 1942, the day a bomb fell on St James’s Church, it was owned by a Mrs Leal, who is said to have folded up her tea towel and remarked to the banker Olaf Hambro, who was sitting at the bar, that Wiltons was for sale. Legend has it that Hambro re- quested that the sale price be added to his bill. The Hambros still own Wiltons, and since 1984 it has resided in Jermyn Street under its classic logo of a lobster wearing a top hat and clutching a champagne flute. Over the years it has become part of the fabric of British life: variously termed ‘the Tory Party at lunch’ and ‘the Establishment at dinner’, Michael Heseltine opining, ‘You can tell the state of the economy by how many tables are taken at Wiltons.’ So famous is it that it makes cameo appearances in the nation’s literature, as Walton’s in Jeffrey Archer’s novel ‘A Matter of Honour’, and as itself in ‘Downton Abbey’. The reasons why Wiltons continues to thrive are not down to any sentimentality for the past, but through Wiltons’ continuing ability to do a good thing properly, as it always has. Neither fad nor fashion is allowed to deflect from the perfection of the fresh oysters or the native lobster cock- tail, the perfectly poached wild turbot and the folded caviar omelette, the risen glories of twice- baked Cropwell Bishop Stilton soufflé, and the succulence of the carved roast from the trolley, with a classic finale of bread and butter pudding, peach Melba, apple crumble and all the other de- lights of British cooking which make Wiltons what it is. The quality of the service is a perfect match, so that all in all a visit is something to savour, and to repeat as often as budget allows. If you seek wild smoked salmon and caviar this will not be inexpensive—but the Seasonal daily menu (Monday to Friday from 12 noon to 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 7.30pm, Saturday from 5.30pm to 7.30pm), which currently starts at £30 for two courses and £38 for three, strikes us as eminently affordable—less than a neighbourhood trat—and at lunch may well include the famous Wiltons’ oysters and the carving trolley of the day. Add, for you and your guests, our complimentary glass of chilled Champagne, valued at a cool £20, to toast your good sense in being a CountryClubuk Member and in choosing this great institution for lunch or dinner—and the pleasure is all yours. ¶ See also London Hotels feature and countryclubuk.com. To book, call us on 020 7399 2960. Wiltons To book,call Member Services on 020 7399 2960:For up-to-date details see countryclubuk.com