Maze Grill W1
REVIEWS, April 18, 2008
Overall Value
out of 5
  • Food
  • Service
  • Ambience

The latest addition to the Gordon Ramsay stable, this Mayfair steak-specialist offers food of consistently high quality; prices are high, though, and neither the setting nor (in the early days) the service really measures up.

Fans of Maze – the Mayfair petits-plats joint which has made quite a name for Jason Atherton – will know that to gain entrance you turn left after ascending the stairs from Grosvenor Square. Well, now you can turn right too, and still be in Maze-land, albeit in an area with a semi-distinct identity.

That area, which was formerly a rather unhappy bar space for the Marriott Hotel, has now been turned into a rather unhappy restaurant space. It’s admittedly light and bright, but it’s oddly proportioned, and our bare table for two felt squeezed, pizzeria-style, in between the adjacent diners.

In this latest outpost of the Gordon Ramsay empire, service was also not quite as slick as one might have hoped, principally because there was no real feeling that anyone ‘owned’ our table. And isn’t this supposed to be an American-style establishment? Why does the ‘still or sparkling’ tyranny still prevail here? Why was our request for ‘tap’ met with a tiny moue of displeasure? Why did we have to request menus both at the beginning of the meal and for pudding? And why was service soooo slow?

Having said all of this, the individual staff were generally charming, and trying hard. And a family with two toddlers was not in any way treated as if they were second class citizens.

The food is generally beyond reproach. Go for lunch (£18 for three courses), and we doubt you’ll have a better meal in London for the price: not bad for the heart of Mayfair! It might be the likes of pâté de campagne, sea bass with real flavour (for once) and a generous and creamy rice pudding.

You don’t, however, see much of the house-speciality steak on the set menu, which is a shame, as – finished on a broiler specially imported from the US – they are top quality affairs, perfectly cooked. Hit the meat, though, and you’ll soon realise that you’re in hedge fund territory: steaks start around the £20 mark, and prices quickly head for the stars.

Money doesn’t mean much round here, and we suspect this relatively small establishment fills a gap for homesick Americans and others who may not begrudge major bills for top-quality steak. Whether the all-round attractions of the place are otherwise sufficient to justify the prices, however, we’re not quite so sure.

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