Lodged inside the fittingly esteemed Rubens hotel, mere moments away from Buckingham Palace, this luxurious retro-British dining room offers a no-expenses-spared approach to dining. We imagine this is designed to make diners feel like royalty, in ode to the hotel’s location and legacy (it was once a part of the palace’s grounds), and we certainly received the royal treatment.
Skilled, suit-clad staff play a starring role in this curated experience, our quick-handed bartender pouring our cocktail - a Royal Margarita - from a height with accomplished aplomb. This was our first encounter of tableside theatre at the grill, and not the last. Theatrics continue throughout dinner, our waiter slicing long, thin sheets of smoked salmon before our eyes, before pairing it with various pickled and vinegary accompaniments.
The menu leans towards classic, rich British dishes created by talented head chef Ben Kelliher. Another strong entry, a voluptuous pulled beef croquette was encased in a thick, fried breadcrumb casing and sprinkled with sweet pickled onions. Indeed, meat and fish do dominate the menu, with a lengthy section dedicated to josper grill dishes. Nevertheless, a plate of crisp gnocchi served with a rich pumpkin puree, buttery pine nuts and sweet fried courgettes proved that vegetarians are by no means an afterthought. To finish, rib-sticking desserts all lean towards the indulgent, including a large slice of brownie cake, swimming in hot chocolate sauce and served with peanut ice cream.
Prices do vary wildly, and lean towards the very expensive. That smoked salmon, for example, was just under £30, as was the gnocchi, while one of its steaks fetched over £70. We expect these are the sorts of prices residents expect to pay though, and all those theatrical touches make it a great place for special occasions. One final tip: make sure to grab a drink in the New York Bar before you dine for the full experience.