The Grill at the Dorchester has had a profound makeover. If you ever had the misfortune of frequenting the restaurant prior to said transformation (the sheer volume of tartan contrasted with the sickly yellow walls was simply nauseating), you would truly be able to appreciate the extent of this change. After undergoing a face lift that could rival that of the Kardashian clan, we are left with quite a different impression. Long gone are the days of gaudy Scottish flair. What replaces it, however, is an overflow of flamboyant mirrored panelling, an array of glitzy lighting features, and gold, just gold… everywhere. It screams nouveau riche. Quite frankly the entire room is so shiny and ornate, it’s almost eye-watering and yet, I actually quite like it. (Yes, you heard me correctly.) In any other situation, this décor would undoubtedly excessive but, the fact that it is found inside The Dorchester warrants the ostentation much more than any other establishment could. After all, pretention is no stranger within these walls.
I have to admit, I was rather excited when I heard news that Alain Ducasse had decided to take over, and duly so – I have yet to be disappointed with any of his restaurants. It seems that whatever he touches, turns to gold (and in this particular case, it quite literally did).
Before having had a moment to glance at the menu, we were kindly presented with lemon sole ‘goujonettes & chips’. I would normally object to coating such a delicate fish in batter however, I can safely say that they absolutely managed to pull it off. The result was light, fluffy and perfectly cooked, of course. We then preceded to order the famous blue lobster chowder and cured Iberico ham for starters, with the chowder being the clear winner. The rich, creamy consistency was divine and the taste was much superior to anything I had sampled previously – a must order, in my opinion.
For our main courses, we had decided on the seabass and highland waygu sirloin. It goes without saying, these dishes were both cooked excellently and the side plates of seasonal vegetables and potato purée that we ordered were also good additions, but nothing extraordinary. It is important to note that I am deliberately being critical here due to the steep price tag that accompanies the food. It’s not to say that the cuisine is subpar in anyway at all, more a question of whether it is worthy of the rather exorbitant cost. I’ll leave that for you to decide.
I must also mention, the wines that were paired for us throughout the evening were spectacular and fully complemented the dishes chosen. My advice: trust the sommelier, he is very well versed.
To finish off the evening, it seemed only fair to order a soufflé since there were five on the menu and our intrigue with regards to what constituted a ‘contemporary’ lemon tart meant we ordered that too. The soufflé was simply a dream in appearance and the combination of sicilian pistachio with the liquid salted caramel centre was indisputably a success. Much to our delight, the lemon tart was also superb (arguably more so than the soufflé). It arrived cocooned in meringue with a soft lemony filling and was a refreshingly sweet finale to the meal.
All in all, our experience at The Grill was wonderful however the price tag and décor are definitely suited to a certain type of clientele which maybe makes it more fitting for a special occasion, rather than somewhere you’d visit when there happen to be few ingredients in the fridge.