Eats and treats

The Palm, London

Photo courtesy of The Palm

The Palm restaurant has an interesting story to tell. The first Palm was opened in New York City way back in 1926 by Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi who had left Parma, Italy for the USA six years earlier. The organisation is still owned and operated by their descendants.

Why, we asked was it called ‘Palm’? The story goes that the plan had been to call it Parma, but because of their strong Italian accents the official who was registering the restaurant misunderstood and wrote down ‘Palm’.

Gradually The Palm’s reputation as a steakhouse with good service and food spread and in the 1940s the second generations of the two families added a two pound lobster to the menu , early example of surf and turf. In 1965 the third generation owners introduced four pound lobsters to the menu finally setting the scene for today’s Palm restaurants being recognised for their steak, lobster and Italian heritage dishes. Today there are many Palm restaurants in America and in 2009 The Palm came to London.

When the original Manhattan Palm was opened there was no money for decorations but the restaurant became a haunt of cartoonists and in exchange for meals artists often drew on the walls. It is now renowned for its cartoons and caricatures and so precious are they that in 1995 the walls were professionally restored. The tradition for caricatures has been continued in all the Palm restaurants.

The London Palm is situated in Pont Street, a few minutes’ walk from Sloane Square: a large room with a contemporary feel to it with a long sweeping bar, divided into three main areas including one section furnished with cosy booths; on the walls a mix of modern art, posters, photos and caricatures.

The service was efficient and charming, the cocktails delicious and the food and wine excellent. One of The Palm’s specialities is its USDA Prime 35 day aged beef – meltingly good it was too; our other choice very tasty chicken Italian style and there were certainly no complaints about the chips either. We shared a slice of Key Lime Pie. Executive Chef Spencer Westcott maintains The Palm’s tradition of serving great, well-cooked food.

Classic combos - fillet & shrimp. Courtesy of The Palm


Beef of that quality does not come cheap and The Palm prices can be on the high side, but go there any evening from 5pm and order from the PrimeTime menu and you and your pocket are in for a treat. The price you pay is determined by the clock.

The PrimeTime menu consists of classic and specialty cocktails and gourmet Prime Bites. With cocktails such as Spiced Cucumber Collins normally listed at £10 and Prime Bites such as Nova Scotia Lobster and Bacon Fondue ranging from £10.90-£12.90 diners are guaranteed excellent value for quality food and drink. Before 5pm all PrimeBites and cocktails are at the listed price, but from 5 – 6pm they each cost £5, 6 – 7pm £6 ,7 – 8pm £7, 8 – 9pm £8 and 9pm – to close £9.

There is also The Palm’s 837 Club. A one-time fee of £25 earns membership and a £25 gift card towards your next Palm meal or bar visit along with other benefits like special wine tastings and dinners, points redeemable against special rewards such as a weekend away or a complimentary dessert or birthday lobster . R.P.

The Palm Restaurant, 1 Pont St, London SW1X 9EJ. Tel: 0207 201 0710.

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