the Grill at the Dorchester
53 Park Lane Mayfair
London W1K 1QA
Tel: 020 7317 6531
Food type: French/ British
Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner
Website: the Grill at the Dorchester
Yet another day in London trying to sort out wedding stuff. We were at the Dorchester hotel where our wedding reception would be held to discuss with our events manager in detail with regards to a few bits and bobs around the wedding. Our meeting finished at 2pm by which time we were desperately hungry and opted to just dine in the hotel itself. There were of course a few choices at the Dorchester but we were yet to visit the Grill since it reopened.
The most striking thing with the new Grill is of course the decor. Let’s not beat around the bush – the tartan motif which previously adorned the walls of the old Grill room was a complete eye sore. They have completely ripped that apart and the new brown/ beige/ gold tones may be more conservative but it is elegant in its own right. In the middle of the dining room hangs an impressive murano glass chandelier.
With the new room, there is a new kitchen brigade in place. Aiden Byrne has long left to open up his own place up in Cheshire. In his place is Christophe Marliex, one of Ducasse’s proteges. Indeed, although the cuisine here maintains a strong British heritage there are some French dishes on the menu. Alongside your bread & butter pudding and ros bif, you will also find Mont Blancs and Sole a la Grenobloise. The menu prices are high given its Mayfair location and the fact it is located in a 5* hotel.
We began our meal with a little nibble of salmon rillette, served with a few thin croutons. The salmon had good flavour and was nicely seasoned, with a good balance of acidity. The only problem was there wasn’t much of it – two croutons per person and about two teaspoonful of rilette.
I began my meal with some lemon sole goujons, served as a playful take on fish and chips. The sole had excellent texture which is a world apart from most sole goujons that I have eaten where the sole often has a pappy, mushy texture. On the side was a well-made tartare sauce with a good amount of capers and gherkins, just the way I like it. There were also a few potato chip ‘tuiles’ to complete the whole fish & chip theme.
For mains, I split a roast chicken with my fiancees dad. The chicken was roasted on the crown and presented in a black cast iron pot at the table before being skilfully carved by our waitress. The chicken legs were deboned, pressed and confit separately. The dish was finished off at the table with some chicken jus. For me, whilst the chicken was timed correctly, with the breast perfectly moist, the flavour from the chicken was at best decent – no where near the flavour of some of the best chickens I have eaten. On the side the advertised ‘street corner potatoes’ were in essence roasted potato wedges. There was also a very tasty piece of toasted country bread which had absorbed all the cooking fat.
I ended my meal with a Mont Blanc which was presented elegantly with a emptied out half meringue shell topped with the traditional ‘noodles’ of chestnut cream. On the side was a refreshing pear sorbet. This was a light and refreshing way to end the meal after the relatively heavy main course. I have always believed that most of Ducasse’s restaurants do excellent desserts and the Grill is no exception. With our teas, we were given a final nibble of a mini eclair which was also excellent.
Here comes the hard part. The food at the Grill at the Dorchester is very good and executed very well. The new dining room is elegant and beautiful and the service here very slick. But the major caveat here is the pricing which, even by Mayfair standards is relatively high with an aggressively marked up wine list to go with it. To be fair, at lunch, there is a very reasonable set lunch menu with a ‘roast of the day’ option which may be a safer bet for the wallet conscious. However, I can’t see myself returning anytime soon for dinner especially with Ducasse’s 3* restaurant just right across.