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Crackers in salon

6th November 2017

Enjoying a feast in December has been a ritual for thousands of years. Even prior to Christian times, December was a time for raucous winter festivals, dating back to at least the Roman Empire. Roast meats have traditionally formed the centrepiece to the Christmas dining tradition, although in former times, boar, pheasant and even roast swan or peacock made it onto the menu.

The British enjoyed goose as their Christmas meal staple long before turkey made it anywhere near the lips of festive diners. It’s said that Elizabeth I started the festive roast goose tradition in 1588. This was apparently the first meal she ate after the victory of the Spanish Armada and she saw it as an appropriate tribute to all the sailors who fought the Spanish. A few centuries later, Edward VII is widely seen as being responsible for turkey becoming the popular Christmas meat, although it wasn’t until the 1950s that it made its way onto the festive dining tables of the British majority.


The compelling history that makes December a time of decadent dining and foodie celebration means festive menus are here to stay. Do it in style this year by joining us and our Michelin starred chefs serving up a modern take on festive food over the Christmas and New Year period.

Our Chef’s Sparkling Menu includes firm Christmas favourites including roast Norfolk turkey and Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. For those who enjoy a modern twist on Christmas, the menu also includes game terrine starters, Brixham Pollack mains and Valrhona chocolate tart desserts. For those who prefer private dining, we also have three different festive private dining menus. These range from traditional Christmas menu options to the likes of pheasant, chestnut and winter chanterelle soup, venison from the Denham Estate and Cumbrian beef Wellington.

Christmas Pudding

Festive afternoons can also be spent indulging in our Christmas afternoon tea menu, where our tea-time stalwarts have received a festive makeover. Expect to find mulled pear Bakewell tarts, orange drizzle cake and scones served with spiced fig jam.

On Christmas Day itself, we’ll be serving lucky guests an exclusive lunch menu that’s perfectly fitting for the special day. Canapés will take the form of game sausage rolls and smoked haddock hash browns. Starters range from Loch Duart salmon on blinis with caviar, to Orkney scallop ravioli. Main dishes rove from traditional roast Norfolk turkey with all the trimmings, to poached north coast halibut with a native lobster salad. Following a cheese course, desserts include Christmas pudding and orange and cognac soufflé.

Canapés at 116 at The Athenaeum

Alternatively, pop along to our Christmas Day evening buffet, for a tremendous selection of Christmas food. This includes potted shrimp, Portland crab and English charcuterie, as well as pumpkin risotto, chicken chasseur and roast fore-rib of Cumbrian beef. This all comes alongside fresh breads, salads, cheese, mince pies and other sweet treats.

There’s nowhere else like London when it comes to seeing in the New Year. Our location right next to Green Park – one of the Royal Parks – couldn’t be more quintessentially British for seeing in the New Year. Our New Year’s Eve menu explores the best of British flavours with luxuriant flair. Choose from starters such as lobster lasagne with smoked salmon bisque or a terrine of confit Goosnargh duck with foie gras. Mains include everything from venison and beef fillet to roast vegetable Wellington and Goosnargh chicken with winter black truffle. Following a cheese course, indulge in desserts such as apple tart with brandy cider cream or classic English trifle. The Early Sitting New Year’s Eve menu includes many of the same flavours.

With these festive treats on the table, it looks set to be a merry Christmas, and a very happy New Year indeed.



Alternatively, call 020 7640 3333 to reserve your table.

Mince pies

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