Having previously enjoyed a meal in the relaxing surrounds of the River Restaurant, today it was the turn of the legendary Grill, though to ensure we get the full Savoy experience, we start out with a pre-dinner cocktail in the American Bar and end with an after dinner drink the Beaufort Bar, allowing good variety without having to step outside the Savoy's front door. Also on this occasion, it's a night out with a friend with only one half of the CC is present.
It still feels special to visit the Savoy, and this is my first ever visit to the Grill. Perhaps previously it seemed too old school, while initially after the refurb, the restaurant was booked out solid for months in advance it seemed; a year and a half after opening, the restaurant remains full, attracting a big ticket crowd. Surveying my fellow guests, I judge that you're more likely to bump into the Chairman of the Board here than a food blogger. My only concern about the evening is that the Grill is another Gordon Ramsay restaurant; a member of staff tells me he was in the previous day to oversee new additions to the menu so there seems at least active participation.
Like the rest of the hotel, no expense has been spared in the restaurant's finish and as their own website says 'the restoration focussed on details of Art Deco inspired Swarovski chandeliers, antique mirrors, luxurious mohair coverings and real gold leaf backed tortoiseshell Lucite walls'. The website also says that 'the table plan has been carefully preserved' giving something of a lucky dip to your table allocation since round booths that hugged the walls of the room provide spacious tables and some privacy even, while tables that lined the window front were considerably smaller and more tightly squashed in.
The menu at the Grill is substantial with around about 16 choices for the starters alone. For the mains, there's a Fish and Shellfish section; Grills from the Wood Charcoal Oven; Roasts, Braises and Pies, and finally, for lunch time diners only, a 'From the Trolley Daily' section that serves up traditional roasts as well as Beef Wellington (Weds) and Steak and Kidney Pie (Saturday). Some complaints of the restaurant have suggested that it is too meat-centric and genuine vegetarian choices do seem limited, but there again, it's a grill so it's what you sort of expect. If you do like meat however, you are spoiled for choice and with both us avid carnivores, picking our mains was an enjoyably difficult decision.
For starters however, the Omelette Arnold Bennett seems a must, it was after all invented here and having enjoyed it in several other leading restaurants, we simply had to and we both ordered it. It was very nicely done, texturally perfectly, the haddock really adding to the flavours but not overpowering the dish, with there being a great balance to it overall. We also shared a half lobster thermidor which again was cooked beautifully, felt appropriately decadent though lacking a big mustard kick (if you like that sort of thing). Don't expect Burger & Lobster prices on this one however.
My friend took the Porterhouse steak ordered blue and they delivered it perfectly so. He enjoyed it as much as I did the pudding. Sides need to be ordered in addition as most plates come with nothing else, and we shared an order of Roasted King Edward potatoes, and Cauliflower cheese gratin. The cauliflower was excellent but the roast potatoes, while getting there on flavour from being cooked in good fat, they had nevertheless failed to crisp on the outside and were the only small disappointment of the course.
Meanwhile cocktails in both the American Bar and Beaufort Bar are beautifully done, deliciously balanced and served by very obliging staff. A drink in the Beaufort Bar, one of the many places at the Savoy where you can enjoy live music, offers an entertaining alternative to a digestif at your table.
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