July 2019: The Dorchester has appointed 26-year-old Essex-born Tom Booton as head chef of The Grill; he is the youngest head chef in the restaurant’s 88-year history,
Top Tip: The three-course set menu here is a steal at £42 (available Mon-Sat, from 12noon-2pm and 5.30pm-10.15pm)
Harden's survey result
Culinary mastermind Alain Ducasse is behind something of a renaissance at this “very elegant dining room” in Mayfair, which had lost its way quite badly a few years ago. With its luxurious decor and “wonderful” modern French cuisine it can be “unbeatable for a special occasion”. Hardly surprisingly, it is “not cheap”, but this is one of London’s grander dining rooms and deserves to be more discovered again.
Chapeau! to Alain Ducasse who has successfully turned around this formerly lacklustre traditional dining room in Mayfair, to create “a most enjoyable experience” with “expensive but faultless” modern French cuisine, charmingly served in tasteful, luxurious surroundings.
The bonkers former tartan-riot decor has given way to tasteful luxury at this grand chamber, nowadays overseen from afar by Alain Ducasse, with a blameless modern French menu. There’s little to criticise – especially on business – but for those spending their own hard-earned lucre, little to distinguish it from so many other expensive Mayfair dining experiences.
“New décor’s a big improvement”, as this famous chamber has at long last ditched its vile, faux-Scottish theme; ratings remain lacklustre across the board though – the whole operation still needs a major kick up the backside to avoid being just-another-overpriced-Mayfair-dining-room.
|Wine per bottle||£30.00|
Dorchester Grill, Dorchester Hotel W1
As an act of witless cultural vandalism, the Dorchester's Grill's new look takes some beating. Out goes the characterful Spanish Baronial styling of 70 years' standing. In comes a riot of Tartan High Camp that would not disgrace a Marriott in a Scottish golf resort. Dr Johnson's observation - 'The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!' - may have been a reaction to horrors such as these.
And it gets worse. The food - previously a bastion of grand traditional Anglo-French fare - has become tedious and expensive. Frenchman Ollie Couillard helped establish a formidable reputation for La Trompette. But what is excellent in Chiswick at £45 / head is disappointing in Mayfair at half as much again. When it comes to English traditional fare, Monsieur C loses his way completely. A set lunch, for example, comprised a tepid brandade, an indifferent plate of roast beef (from the trolley), and an insipid, over-fancy apple crumble (with cream!). Desserts are no better from the carte: the sticky toffee pudding is no better than at any respectable gastropub, but costs a whacking £10.50.
Service - formerly a textbook combination of efficiency, old-fashioned style and easy charm - has been made 'modern', matey and sloppy. You should not have to cast about to find a waiter's eye in the half-full dining room of a five-star hotel. Nor should you have to re-scan the bill because - although it is stated that 12.5% has been added for service - no service charge line actually appears. It is especially important for an establishment to be clear about such things when a blank space on the credit card slip invites you to tip again - not, oddly, an invitation we felt it necessary to take up.
53 Park Lane, London, W1K 1QA
|Monday||7 am-2:30 pm, 5:30 pm-10:15pm|
|Tuesday||7 am-2:30 pm, 5:30 pm-10:15pm|
|Wednesday||7 am-2:30 pm, 5:30 pm-10:15pm|
|Thursday||7 am-2:30 pm, 5:30 pm-10:15pm|
|Friday||7 am-2:30 pm, 5:30 pm-10:15pm|
|Saturday||7 am-2:30 pm, 5:30 pm-10:15pm|
|Sunday||7:30 am-12:30 pm8 pm|