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The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane
The Grill opened between the wars and has seen plenty of glamour, but its 2014 refurb delivered a transformation that regulars continue to relish. Between its parquet floors and striking Murano chandelier, the dining room sits just the right side of staid. The signature dish of blue lobster chowder with mushrooms and chives is classily realised, while mains run from suckling pig with butternut squash, sweetcorn and lemon to steamed cod with shellfish, braised fennel and Bellota ham – although rather pedestrian meat-free offerings such as mushroom risotto might leave vegetarians feeling unloved. For pudding, a clutch of soufflés in rich, dark flavours – hazelnut, coffee or rum, perhaps – show off what a well-resourced kitchen can do. Out front, “absolutely amazing” staff specialise in offering “seven-star treatment”, with matching wines from a big-hitting list that matches expectations.
To celebrate the Year of the Woman, SquareMeal is running a series of interview profiles with top female chefs. Read here about Marianne Lumb’s colourful career as a private chef and the benefits of operating one of London’s smallest kitchens.
The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane
Hyde Park Corner Tube Station 670m
Green Park Tube Station 687m
The Dorchester Hotel 25m
Curzon Mayfair Cinema 293m
Mon-Sun 7-10.30am 12N-2.30pm (Sun -4pm) 5.30-10.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
I dine at “the grill at the Dorchester” with my wife and we ordered a dinner set at The Grill at the Dorchester for two course £58 (£29 – for each) I found the whole meal to be in good flavors and it was good value for money for me. I like what they offered although I was expecting more from haddock, if it were a little more then, it is what I would have enjoy in my whole meal. A tasteful two person dinner meal with a main course (Seared Cos with -haddock with Caponata- and Mussel) for me and (roasted pork belly with potatoes onion and lettuce) for my wife and deserts.
CONTINUE READING: http://dinewithjp.com/the-grill-at-the-dorchester/
Food + drink: 3
I haven’t been to the Dorchester Grill since the tartan days, and I only managed to go once during that period as the décor was sufficient to induce a migraine. So it was a relief to find that the new refurbishment was a rather more sober and fitting style, though it does feel curiously old fashioned and like its been in place for years.
Its not one of those places I’d normally go, but was a very last minute booking for the Friday before Christmas as it was one of the few restaurants in Mayfair with any availability for a reunion dinner with an old friend.
Service is fine with no real issues once you get through the door; however the staff outside seem considerably less effective and clued up as I stood in a sizeable queue as a set of about 4 disorganised people struggled to find reservations, take coats and bags etc. That’s the sort of thing you’d expect to be slick in somewhere like this and didn’t get the evening off to the best of starts.
The atmosphere wasn’t as stuffy and old school as I expected; there was some background music, which thankfully wasn’t some hideous soft jazz combo (I’m always reminded of the Fast Show when I think of that) and there were even family groups with children. But it still does feel impersonal and lacking a certain something.
Food is expensive, but not as costly as I expected it would be. It’s all a bit posh nursery food though, without any real innovation. We shared rib of beef, which was fine, though no where near as good as you’d get in Pollen Street Social, or, somewhat awkwardly, across the road at Cut, which is owned by the same Dorchester group. Side dishes were deeply unimaginative and having settled on potato puree (mash to you and me) and seasonal vegetables (over cooked and too soft) I was left wishing we’d made alternative choices. Dessert was pistachio soufflé, and again if you want that you’d be better going to Koffmans.
Wine is generally priced at the frightening end of the scale; we ended up drinking Rully, which at around £80 was definitely one of the cheapest options on the menu, though other drinks like champagne or vodka are no more expensive than the normal Mayfair mark-up. We ended up with a bill of £325 for 2, all be it that drink was quite a large share of that.
Overall it was a bit of a disappointment and cannot justify the prices. Particularly as there are so many better and more imaginative options within a short radius. Not sure I’ll hurry back.
Gone are the days of the glamour, the refinement, the elegant clientele. The wealth remains, but the class has long since dissipated. The Coupe de Champagne struggled to justify itself against the backdrop of barking Australasians and a carpet littered with ghastly ‘wheelie bags’-the unnecessarily oversized briefcase of the modern era. ‘C’ and I had arrived a little early, a consequence of our giddy excitement for the opening night of the Dorchester’s new Grill room, and found ourselves grumbling over the drunken hoards like a pair of old farts, whilst labouring to enjoy the crisp mousse of a Laurent Perrier. From afar, we looked upon the Grill’s ornate entrance as the staff organised themselves with the nervous excitement of a West-End cast before opening night. With great eager, all attempted to busy themselves and look official, desperately trying to find themselves a role amongst the conservative over-staffing of a restaurant launch.
As we neared the desk, and were spotted by the staff, it was if a switch clicked, and in a moment they snapped into gear offering up to us all the welcoming niceties of a choreographed script. To our every whim, everyone was clamouring to attend, but it was the tall dark-featured Frenchman that pressed himself foremost and won the chance to show C and I to our table. Our early reservation had signalled kick-off. Our waiter would be the kind-faced Basque, watched over hawkishly by the Maître D’ with a look of uncompromising expectation. We had a nice table, I wasn’t sure if we would be assigned a dud given our lowly status, but all seemed well as Tom Aikens and his merry ensemble were seated adjacent.
After being welcomed by a beautiful salmon rillete, C & I opted for the lobster chowder and Lemon sole goujons to start. The chowder was fantastic, the goujons a little bland. To follow, we shared the entrecote given that we wanted a ‘grill’ rather than Michelin restaurant experience. The meat displayed the perfect amount of tenderising fat so synonymous with the Angus breed. The only murmur from our table was that the meat should have been allowed to rest for a moment longer as the blood seeped onto our plate, but given we ordered rare and didn’t want a cold slab of meat – it was understandable. Reminiscent of the Grill of yester year, our rib arrived, and was hence carved on a trolley – a well-received feature of continuity between the restaurants of new and old. For dessert, we both opted for a Soufflé – and although the chocolate lacked in flavour, the pistachio and caramel was superb. We might have found room for another.
As the curtains came down on the dinner, we reflected on what we had experienced. The plates were accomplished – the Chef here is certainly talented – of that there is no doubt. Indeed, Jocelyn Herland was overseeing the kitchen (Head Chef of Alain Ducasse’s namesake restaurant across the hall) so a poor dinner was near on impossible. However, the lingering consideration we left with was whether the Dorchester’s new Grill room is a Grill at all, or rather another permutation of a top level restaurant. The bill came to nigh on three hundred of the Queen’s finest pounds and we certainly hadn’t boozed copiously. The bill made us question whether we might as well have eaten amongst the glittering Michelin stars of the hotel’s main restaurant. Although in the same room as the old Grill, it is completely reimagined. A question a diner must ask is whether this restaurant has found a separate identity from the Hotel’s other offering. The space endures, but what fills it is quite different.
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