It’s impossible not to feel slightly overawed by The Lanesborough Grill. As soon as you walk in, the eyes settle on a trio of majestic chandeliers that hang from the ceiling. Pale blue frescoes run along the upper recesses of the walls, which are supported by a series of chalk-white doric columns. Light streams in through the domed glass ceiling, and as you eat dinner and the sun sets, the mood dims in the restaurant too. There’s no getting around it - it’s a stunner of a dining room.
Bringing in Shay Cooper as executive chef was a canny move. Cooper has a history with heritage hotels in London (he dragged The Goring back to relevance some years ago too) and his cooking at The Lanesborough Grill is reminiscent of that. He doesn’t mess about - this is food that you just want to eat.
There are still a few interesting twists and turns afoot, though. A coronation crab salad of white crab meat and crispy potato would be delicious on its own, but it’s transformed by a curried lime sabayon that turns in a star performance. A beef tartare is similarly remodelled by the clever addition of crispy hop shoots and a delicate truffle and sherry dressing; like the crab it feels fresh and interesting, but doesn’t stray too far from its roots.
Though much of the menu heads for bold, satisfying flavours, a dish of scallop carpaccio with Marinda tomato, hazelnut and smoked rapeseed oil shows a kitchen capable of balance and restraint. That said, we finish the meal on a caramelised brioche pudding with burnt orange puree and milk ice cream that is every bit as good as it sounds.
There are no duds, in fact, and the generous menus (eight starters, eight mains and five desserts) means that we could come back many times over. Service is typically attentive and ready to bend over backwards for you, and the wine list is gargantuan, with some suitably vintage bottles on offer as well as signature cocktails, aperitifs and digestifs. The prices are definitely on the burly side, but hey - you’re at The Lanesborough. Our advice? Just enjoy it.