As Café Duke relaunched back in May, here are four things you may not know about the IoD’s famous basement abode.
1. Salad days
Offering a range of fresh salads and lighter dishes, Café Duke’s new menu is designed with the more health-conscious in mind. “We’ll be offering café-style food such as interesting salads and seafood linguine and will introduce new products, like smoothies,” says general manager Serge Pradier. “We want to make Café Duke a real destination for members.”
2. Hollywood at 116
The IoD is no stranger to the silver screen. Scenes from the 1983 Oscar-winner Gandhi were filmed upstairs at 116, while down below, the vaulted venue has played host to dramas including Downton Abbey and Christopher Nolan’s 2008 Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight. Whether Christian Bale, who played the caped crusader, was able to enjoy a signature dish of pork chop with glazed apple from the Brasserie (as Café Duke was named at the time), we may never know.
3. Light touch
With its focus on salads from the counter and a brand-new ‘grab and go’ section, Café Duke’s caterers Benugo have revamped the whole menu. While this means temporary retirement for some dishes such as the 8oz beef burger – don’t worry, it’s back in September, on the menu when 116’s wine bar reopens after refurbishment – many favourites have remained, including the grilled octopus salad.
4. Designer gents
When prestigious design team Russell Sage Studio were tasked with revitalising the dining lounges and members’ areas of 116 Pall Mall in 2015, one of the most challenging spaces was the Brasserie. This area had been converted from the original washrooms for officers of the United Services Club, which occupied the building between 1828 and 1977, and its beautiful wall tiles are listed and cannot be altered. Renamed Café Duke, the designers made inspired use of these tiled walls and its stained glass windows, reimagining the slightly stuffy space as a bright, contemporary working and meeting area.
Come down to the new-look Café Duke which will offer a range of delicious hot and cold food from its new counter.
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