Harden's survey result
“One of London’s iconic dining rooms”: this panelled chamber – just off the foyer of The Strand’s famous Art Deco landmark – still exudes “old-school elegance”, and, even if it’s not quite the pre-eminent power dining scene that it was in Thatcher’s day, it’s still popular with expense-accounters, who particularly appreciate its “comprehensive wine list”. Under the stewardship of the Gordon Ramsay group, its “classic (old-fashioned even) menu” is “pricey but fabulous” to fans, but a wider view is that it’s “moderately average and not cheap”: “nothing wrong but no sparkle”.
For decades, this “atmospheric” and “impressive”, “panelled chamber” just off the foyer of The Strand’s famous Art Deco landmark was London’s power dining scene par excellence; and with its “old-fashioned” style and menu of “solid, traditional British staples” it remains a strong business favourite to this day. Under Gordon Ramsay’s management of the last 15 years, however, its performance has always been up-and-down, and this year’s was one of the weakest yet, with complaints about “average food” that’s “not good value for money” and a “dingy” overall ambience.
“Discretion is assured” in this “smooth” and “comfortable” panelled chamber, whose “well-spaced tables” and “formal” styling have made it a power-dining favourite since time immemorial. Run by Gordon Ramsay for nearly 15 years now, the celeb chef’s operation puts in a middling performance: the traditional British fare is arguably “too expensive”, and can be “uninspired”, but is generally “competently cooked” and of “high quality”.
This “elegant” panelled grill room has for decades been a “prestigious” destination. Under Gordon Ramsay’s reign, the “heftily priced” British cooking can seem a little “short of its ambitions”, but most reports are upbeat, and the place remains a popular rendezvous, particularly for “a discreet business lunch”.
The Savoy Hotel, Savoy Grill Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Admirable lunch spot, good atmosphere with classy busyness and charming staff. set lunch with beautifully cooked fish and impressive dessert. Interesting Patagonian merlot."
|Wine per bottle||£30.00|
The Savoy Grill WC2
A notably 'useful' relaunch of this handily-located Art Deco dining room, offering good (and very straightforward) English food at prices which are surprisingly reasonable, considering.
It's an ill wind' Snow clouds lowering over the capital allowed us to bag a last-minute table at one of the sell-out of the pre-Christmas season - the recently relaunched 'power' dining room of the world-famous hotel.
Initial impressions are that this is a room with a real '30s vibe. Second impression is that the banquette seating is far too low for the tables. How can anyone claiming to be a restaurateur (or a restaurant-designer) make guests of normal size feel like dwarfs? Corrective measures are apparently in hand but, in the meantime, cushions are available. Don't be proud - take one.
Thereafter, the meal was plain sailing. It really should have been, too: the menu is decidedly, well, plain. The most complicated thing on it was quite possibly the omelette Arnold Bennett, one of the house's historical specialities. We passed on that creamy delight, preferring to start our meal with oysters (decent size, nicely presented), and scallops (delivered period-style in-shell, and much approved).
Main courses of lamb pudding (rich, but a bit under-seasoned) and monkfish wrapped in Cumbrian ham (very tasty) continued a meal which almost invariably hit the spot; the same praise could be heaped on the bread, the vegetables (including chips) and the coffee too. Clearly, Stuart Gillies has brought the solid standards formerly noted at the Boxwood Café with him here.
We passed on puds: you'd need quite an appetite to get that far.
Service is one of the better examples of the modern London style. To the extent that there's nothing particularly 'period' about it (not necessarily, of itself, a bad thing), however, it may contribute to a certain absence of 'electricity' in the room: the feeling that this is a Special Place is curiously elusive.
Currently, however, prices could not be described as 'special' either. A good dinner with moderate (and modest) wine, from the extensive list, came in at £60 a head. Given the location, this is arguably something of a bargain (and clearly a better buy than the River Restaurant at the same hotel).
We must, however, end on a slight note of reservation: we suspect we enjoyed our visit here all the more because it was impromptu. Had we booked weeks ahead, expectations could have mounted to the point that the decidedly straightforward menu might have seemed a teeny bit disappointing.
Forewarned, however, is forearmed - if you're simply looking for a good meal in the heart of the West End, you're unlikely to do much better than here.
Strand, London, WC2R 0EU
|Number of Diners:|
|Monday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5 pm‑12 am|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5 pm‑12 am|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5 pm‑12 am|
|Thursday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5 pm‑12 am|
|Friday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5 pm‑12 am|
|Saturday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5 pm‑12 am|
|Sunday||12 pm‑4 pm, 5 pm‑11 pm|