The Grill at The Dorchester opened between the wars and has seen plenty of glamour in its day, but it’s fair to say that in recent years the restaurant has flown under the radar, especially when compared to the hotel’s other dining establishments, such as Alain Ducasse’s eponymous dining room.
Now though, The Grill has been given a new lease of life by the appointment of head chef Tom Booton, a feat which he has achieved at the tender age of 26. Stepping inside the revived dining room, you’ll find parquet floors and a striking Murano chandelier which keeps the restaurant just on the right side of staid, while charming and knowledgeable staff will bend over backwards to make you feel comfortable.
Booton’s menu brings a welcome touch of modernity to proceedings, but without losing any of The Dorchester’s old-school charm. A starting snack of stout bread served with smoky smashed black pudding sets the tone, soon followed by starters proper including beef tartare topped with fanned out slices of radish that conceal a glossy orange egg yolk at the tartare’s centre. Elsewhere, a Scotch egg swap outs the traditional filling for prawn, pairing it with warm tartare sauce and a pickled gherkin.
The standout main course is the lobster thermidor tart – a plump, juicy cut of lobster that sits atop a crumbly tart filled with Westcombe cheddar instead of gruyere (to make it British). More traditional grill fare is available too, including ribeye steak that’s joined by mushroom ketchup, creamed spinach and red onions.
The most playful part of Booton’s menu is the finale, when you can enjoy your sweet at the newly installed Pudding Bar. Seating just five guests at a time, the Pudding Bar is essentially a chef’s counter which you can move to after your mains, and watch the chefs create your pud right in front of you. First, a pre-dessert of ice cream topped with blackberry ‘snow’ is served featuring a secret ingredient (we won’t spoil the surprise). After, you have your pick of the pudding menu, should you prefer banoffee tart topped with a mound of chocolate shavings, pineapple tart tatin with rum and raisin ice cream, or Booton’s posh (and devilishly rich) take on a Double Decker chocolate bar.
Prices are expectedly high, but set menus offer a slightly less daunting way in. Don’t forget that The Grill is an all-day operation too, so you can head here for everything from weekday breakfast to Sunday lunch.