The Keeper’s House, Royal Academy of Arts Review

‘Keep me safe’, reads the neon Tracey Emin light above the entrance to The Keeper’s House; an apt mantra, as the restaurant is a serene oasis in the midst of central London. Now open to the public for the first time in the history of the RAA, its secret garden is full of lush palm fronds, in verdant contrast to the cool stone of the historic art museum.

We knew from the moment we dipped our warm bread into the golden, thick, salted butter that we would be in for a treat. The modern British menu is seasonal and apparently foraged, for those altruistic gourmands who require their veg to have lived wild and free. We started by sharing the fresh and zesty octopus carpaccio and a heavenly-smooth burrata with heritage tomatoes. This was followed by a perfectly pink lamb atop a bed of pea pesto and a simple, but moreish artichoke tortellini with parmesan.

The apple and almond cake with vanilla ice cream was a dream and the cheese plate generous and flavourful, though rather violently assaulted by its crackers, served with sweet quince and nectarine. Perfectly accompanied by a crisp bottle of Sancerre, the wine list runs the gamut from around 20 to 50 pounds, with champagne also available for big spenders.

Although the terrace unfortunately only serves lunch, The Keeper’s House also has set dinner options, at two courses for £19.50 and three for £24.50. The crowd ran a bit older, elegant and refined; it is a calm, quiet restaurant ideal for a pre-theatre meal with parents or art lovers. If the weather is fine, the garden is a charming venue for an intimate cocktail date in which to flex your cultural credentials, particularly with the Hockney show upcoming.

Originally published at Eclectic Magazine online.