Eating well at The Dorchester is hardly a challenge: visitors can tuck into creative French cuisine at Alain Ducasse (aka the only UK hotel restaurant with three Michelin-stars), chow down on Cantonese delicacies at Ching Tang, enjoy extravagant cakes, sandwiches and rivers of refreshing teas at The Promenade and sip swish cocktails at The Bar at The Dorchester.
But The Dorchester’s most in-demand dining room du jour is, without a doubt, The Grill which recently reopened (November 2014) following a £1.3million makeover – its third since its launch in 1931. The new decor – the brainchild of interior architect, Bruno Moinard – is dashing. Moinard has used materials such as zinc and copper alongside the traditional marble, while you’ll also find oak parquet flooring and wall panels in black lacquer and stylish counter-top style seating reminiscent of restaurants in the Big Apple. However it’s the hand-blown Murano glass chandelier – created by by Aristide Najean – in the centre of the restaurant that steals the show.
Given its glittering new look, it’s little wonder that the re-imagined restaurant attracts a lively scene straight out of the pages of a glossy magazine. Whether it’s sugar daddies, slinky supermodels or Middle Eastern oligarchs, The Grill doesn’t disappoint on the eye candy front – even at 7.30pm on a Sunday night.
But there’s more to a restaurant than its clientele and facade and happily the food can’t be faulted. What Christophe Marleix (Alain Ducasse’s protégé) and his team are plating up is superior to the people watching from the delicious breads (so good we munched our way through the whole basket) to starters such as the restaurant’s signature Blue lobster chowder, served with mushroom and chives (£17) and Westcombe Cheddar Farmhouse soufflé (£12) – the stuff of fantasises.
If you’re looking for healthy fare – to help you undo any Christmas excesses etc – then try the Cookpot of seasonal vegetables and fruit which both looks and tastes sublimely healthy. The rest of us get can stuck into the grills which include the likes of organic Angus beef (£46)and Veal chop (£32). If you’re more a fan of fish, the Scottish salmon steak with béarnaise (£29) had my dining partner purring with pleasure.
Puddings are wickedly good: the lemon tart made a zingy, refreshing finish to an excellent meal but if you’ve settled in for the long haul order a sweet soufflé (The Grill is the only restaurant in the capital to offer a dedicated sweet soufflé menu). You’ll need to allow 20 minutes for soufflés such as Sicilian pistachio and salted caramel (£14) to reach your table, but the wait is worth it.
Factor in friendly and quietly confident service and you’ve got the perfect playground in which to welcome in the New Year.