Hamburgers Spiced with History

The Stafford Hotel in London's tony St. James district
The Stafford Hotel in London's tony St. James district
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 (All day)

The Stafford Hotel in London's tony St. James district has been welcoming guests since 1912 in a building that dates from the 17th century. Visitors come not just for the first-rate lodging, but for the facility's inimitable American Bar. You should, too.

During World War Two, this restaurant and bar was frequented by British and other Allied officers and pilots, many of whom have since returned with mementos. The ceiling is now full of objects, including models donated by aircraft designers and pilots. Yacht emblems, knickknacks from around the world and war items cover nearly every inch of the walls.

But the main attraction is the Amer-Anglo cuisine, including the succulent Stafford hamburger with cheddar cheese and homemade ketchup and the American Bar club sandwich with fries or house salad. Sunday roast beef and the traditional fish cakes with egg and caper sauce are also popular.

You can have your meal served on a little lap tray at the tiny bar tables. It's so very British–and so much fun.

The Stafford London by Kempinski, St. James Place, London, 44 (0) 20 7493 0111, www.kempinski.com/london

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Quote/Unquote

“When you get into the larger aircraft it becomes like a hotel, with dozens of staff supporting the plane based in a galley area down below. You have very comprehensive cooking facilities, and on larger aircraft we have looked at theatres, with spiral staircases and a Steinway grand piano. The limitations for what you can put inside a plane are pretty much the limits of physics, and even money cannot always overcome that. Even so, people are still always trying to push [the limits]. ”

-Howard Guy of Design Q, a UK-based consultancy