The Grill at The Dorchester, London W1: restaurant review
Try homemade black pudding, lobster thermidor tart and rhubarb and custard soft serve at this revamped London institution
Looking for places to eat in Mayfair? Read our review of The Grill at The Dorchester, or check out our Mayfair foodie guide here.
The Grill in a nutshell
The Dorchester’s venerable dining room has been relaunched with refreshed interiors and a new menu.
The 88-year-old restaurant has welcomed its youngest ever head chef, 26-year-old Tom Booton, previously in charge at Alyn Williams at The Westbury.
What's the vibe?
While there are some modern tweaks – no more tablecloths, Chelsea boots for the staff, new banquette seating and a ‘pudding bar’ where guests can eat dessert in front of a feature wall stacked with copper jelly moulds and vessels, leafy ferns and flowers in jars – the vibe at The Grill is still very much in keeping with the rest of the Dorchester: gilded, golden opulence with flatteringly soft lighting and a hushed atmosphere. Service is very good – slickly seamless and attentive.
What's the food like?
Tom keeps the culinary offering refreshingly uncomplicated – no trendy sharing plates or tasting menus, just a four-course set-up. Dishes sound straightforward but deliver clever cooking, bold flavours and playful twists on classics, all without being overly fussy or pretentious.
Start with a warm loaf of dark, treacly sourdough made with Chapel Down stout, and smear with chive butter and earthy, crumbly homemade black pudding. Beef tartare was one of the best we’ve tried, with a silky, beef-fat-cooked yolk, umami oxtail jelly and a wafer-thin layer of radishes amping up the classic French dish, with crisp slices of ‘yesterday’s bread’ to scoop everything up.
Colchester crab, kohlrabi, dill, horseradish arrived as a velvety, creamy brown crab panna cotta bathing in crab broth and topped with white crab meat, delicate shavings of pickled kohlrabi and dill oil. Delicately marine and zingy in flavour, it’s a must order if you like your seafood with a twist. Check out more crab recipes here.
Moving from light to decadent, Tom’s take on a lobster thermidor has been winning plaudits and deservedly so. A tart of buttery, crumby, cheesy pastry filled with thermidor foam, an opulent pool of lobster bisque and a plump, coral lobster tail sitting atop it all. It’s a showstopper.
And the drinks?
Start with a glass of biscuity champagne, or a cocktail (try the signature Gentleman Tom creation which, along with Punt e Mes, Chinotto and grapefruit peel uses The Dorchester’s own old tom gin) before moving on to a wine list that has plenty of options by the glass.
For dessert, move to a seat at the theatrical pudding bar, where a chef will whip up something sweet in front of you – try warm, springy, sugar-dusted doughnuts with rhubarb and custard soft serve ice cream, along with a dessert wine or Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.