After we’d managed to peel ourselves away from our beautiful suite and I’d been to the spa to have my manicure taken care of, it was time for an aperitif before dinner at The Grill at The Dorchester. I slipped on my heels and we made our way to The Bar at The Dorchester for a few cocktails before dinner.
For me if it’s not going to be a champagne based cocktail it’s got to be a gin based cocktail. On the recommendation of the barman we ordered two Old Tom Gim, a cocktail created by bar manager Giuliano Morandin.
A light, refreshing cocktail, this was the perfect pre-dinner drink, though I could easily see myself in The Bar sitting with friends when celebrating a special occasion, or even with mum toasting her visit to London.
As we appreciated the beautiful bar, and I told Andy all about the wonderful afternoon tea that Colleen and I had enjoyed, we enjoyed some nibbles. Being at The Dorchester, these weren’t the usual olives and crisps that you might expect, but rather trays of incredible amouse bouche.
Brie, grape and honey on a thin crisp, smoked salmon and caviar blinis and mini beef tartar… They were all delicious, and polished off very quickly!
A second tray included one minute beef with a teriyaki sauce and a variety of fish bites.
Once we had finished our cocktails we were led through to The Grill at The Dorchester, one of The Dorchester’s restaurants, for dinner. The restaurant has been recently refurbished and I was really looking forward to seeing what it looked like, but also how it was shiny new and yet still managed to fit in with the hotel’s very traditional decor. Interior architect Bruno Moinard was asked to create a “vibrant and timeless setting” and his brief has been wonderfully executed in this restaurant.
It was the perfect spot for a very luxurious date night; white table cloths, beautiful crystal wine glasses and a magnificent Murano glass chandelier. Though despite this sense of luxury, we both enjoyed that the restaurant still retained a causal vibe and a relaxed atmosphere.
I loved the bar area, too, with it’s leather seats and view of the impressive bar tenders making cocktails, I could easily imagine myself passing a few hours here!
As we looked at the menu and tried to decide what to order, our waiter kindly brought us an amouse bouche of salmon mouse with crostini. I loved the texture of the smooth salmon with the crunch of the crostini as well as the beautiful presentation.
After a short discussion with the sommelier about what kinds of wine we liked, he selected a beautiful Austrian white wine which had exactly the dry yet fresh and crisp notes that I love in wine. I haven’t had much Austrian wine before, but if this is anything to go by I think it’s really underrated.
For starters I had a light lobster salad (after the chocolate indulgence afternoon tea I was in need of a light meal!) which was perfect. Delicious, large pieces of lobster complete with a light salad and fresh, zesty dressing it was just what I was looking for.
It was, unusually, a fish starter for Andy as well as he opted for the crabmeat on toast, served with a salad and grated horseradish. I love crab meat so couldn’t resist a small taste (when can I?) and I adored the creamy and yet intensly crab flavoured dish.
I loved that the toast was presented on the side; it really adds a little something to the presentation and helps to set The Grill at The Dorchester apart from other restaurants.
When The Dorchester opened in 1931 it quickly developed a reputation for having the best grill food in London, a reputation I think it still has despite the huge number of grill restaurants in London today. The restaurant is today run by Christophe Marleix, who has trained and worked with Alain Ducasse, the chef who has the marvelous 3 Michelin Star restaurant which also has The Dorchester as its home.
Christophe, after the recent refurbishment, has kept The Grill at The Dorchester in line with its roots and so the menu is grill based with seasonal menu changes.
We decided to share something from the en broche, or on the grill, section of the menu for our main course. Our waiter couldn’t recommend the peppered organic Aberdeen Angus prime rib highly enough, and so we went with his recommendation (recommendations which were faultless throughout our evening)
I was more than a little excited when I saw this being wheeled to our table… I eat a lot of fish when I’m out as I love light, flavoursome dishes, especially when I’m eating out a lot, but I adore good beef and so I was very excited!
Our waiter returned with this gorgeous piece of beef which smelt truly incredible. I’m not sure the photo does the size of the prime rib justice, but it was an incredibly generous serving for two people.
Our waiter opened the beautiful silver topped carving trolley and carved our meat right in front of us. I know that Andy too loves high quality beef, but at one point I did think his eyes were going to pop out!
The prime rib was perfectly pink inside and was of an absolutely incredible quality. The accompanying sauce paired with the meat wonderfully and gave the dish an extra layer of taste which we loved.
Our waiter recommended that we order some sides, which is always an excellent idea when eating with Andy as somehow he manages to eat more than I ever expect! Ever trying to be healthy I insisted that the green salad was one!
Before quickly realising that I was indulging and ordering the macaroni au gratin, which is a real comfort food of mine. Deliciously cheesy with a perfect crunch on top, well, this was magical.
And we both couldn’t resist a side of fries – and I’m so glad we didn’t. Crunchy on the outside, piping hot on the fluffy inside, these were excellent.
It wasn’t long before we started tucking in and enjoying the outstanding dishes. I usually find that there’s one dish that isn’t as good as the rest, but at The Grill at The Dorchester every dish was excellently executed, which made it the perfect setting for a luxury date night. There are few things better than the company of one of your favourite people and amazing food to make me really happy. Add in the fact that we had a staycation at The Dorchester that night and I think I was in some kind of heaven.
Being every so slightly full after that incredible main course, we asked our waiter for a pause before dessert. By this point we realised we had been talking so much and enjoying our evening that it was actually quite late and the restaurant was slowly emptying. I loved that even though there were only two tables left, there was no hurry at all, it felt as if we could have sat there until the next morning and the attentive waiters would have looked after us all night.
Once again we asked our waiter for his suggestions for dessert and they were outstanding. Believe it or not, I hadn’t had enough chocolate that day (it’s a talent, I know) and so we ordered two chocolate desserts between us.
Andy opted for the ‘Essentially Chocolate’ from Alain Ducasse manufacture in Paris, served with ice cream. Not only was this dish beautiful, but it was incredible. Despite how full Andy was he managed to happily polish it all off!
One of my many weaknesses is soufflé, especially chocolate soufflé, which meant I was in the right place. The Grill at The Dorchester is unique in that it has its own soufflé menu, meaning you can choose from pistachio and salted caramel, Chocolate Sao Tome 75% from Alain Ducasse Manufacture, in Paris, raspberry and mascapone sorbet or even rum and raisin!
Well, it’s chocolate eeeevery time for me… Except maybe next time I want to try the pistachio and salted caramel!
Pillowy soft, light and airy and bursting full of the most delicious chocolate, this was easily the best soufflé I’ve ever had.
I frankly didn’t care how full I was by this point, this was all eaten as it was far too good to leave even the tiniest morsel.
Served with a little extra chocolate ice cream (for good measure) the chocaholic at the table was more than sated.
Before we left, our waiter presented us with a final palette cleanser of strawberries and a light meringue, topped with lime zest. The perfect way to clear our taste buds from all that chocolate. It’s the little touches at restaurants that make them stand out; the recommendations, the amouse bouche and palette cleansers and the sommelier who takes time to ask you what you like.
After a perfect luxury date night at The Grill at The Dorchester we retreated to our dreamy Park Suite, cosied up on the sofa for an hour or so and chatted till it was long past time to sleep. We climbed into that huuuge bed and slept till morning. It has been the perfect afternoon and evening, and not one I’ll be forgetting in a hurry.
Our 24 hours at The Dorchester was complimentary, but I fell head over heels in love with every aspect of this stunning hotel and would return in a heartbeat.