JW Steakhouse, Grosvenor House Hotel Park Lane:
Arriving early, I sat in the lobby of the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair for some 10 minutes, trying to reach my dining companion by phone. Eventually I gave up and went into the restaurant, only to spot him sitting at the bar enjoying a cocktail. So, of course I had to join him…it would have been rude not to. I took the mixologist’s recommendation of a Passion Fruit Bellini and it was really very good. The JW Steakhouse is a large dining room with American Steakhouse style blackboards along the wall explaining the different cuts of steak. There’s a terrace outside but it was really just a little chilly for us to try sitting out there. Worth noting for a balmy evening though.
Our waitress was helpful and knowledgeable, advising us on the various cuts of steaks and the best way of having them served. And, we enjoyed the pretty skillet of sharing bread that was brought to the table.
As a starter we ordered the Seafood Platter, a mixture of oysters, prawns and lump crab. Delicious – and the kind of seafood I haven’t seen in the UK. My mother hated living in Saudi and Libya, but one of the silver linings for her (and for me when I visited) was fantastic seafood. This was reminiscent of some of the best seafood we ate in Riyadh.
Now, I’d already enjoyed an afternoon tea, so, my choice of steak was influenced by the number of cakes I’d already eaten. Working on the basis that less can be more, I ordered the 6oz USDA dry aged fillet. My dining companion however, had other ideas and chose the Tomahawk…the signature steak of the restaurant, a massive 32oz of grass fed Scottish Beef! And, you know I am just slightly amused that he was defeated!
My steak was perfectly cooked, beautifully tender on the inside and charred on the outside. The JW Steakhouse uses a Montague Broiler, a high powered infrared beast. Now, some people will argue that you can’t cook the perfect steak without a charcoal grill, but, the barbecue experts at Weber tell us that there is no difference between cooking on charcoal or not, only in the temperature you cook at. Without doing a side by side test, there’s no way to know, because obviously the beef used and the skill of the chef will also impact on the end result. All I know is that my fillet was as good as I have eaten anywhere. The Tomahawk looked amazing and got a very good report too.
Somehow my dining companion still managed to find space for an entire cheesecake though, while I tried the apple and almond cake (really crumbly and moist with apple).
All in, it was an excellent meal with impeccable service. Portion sizes are closer to those you would normally find in the States, but the quality of the food isn’t compromised. I did find the dining room a bit overwhelming and impersonal – it doesn’t quite manage to loose the ‘hotel’ feeling. On the plus side, the tables were very well spaced and from that perspective it would be a great place for a business meeting. I suspect it would work well too for a largish group for a special party. And, I couldn’t fault the food other than to say I’d advise you NOT to have afternoon tea first! They also have a pre-theatre menu which includes a complimentary post theatre drink at the bar, a comprehensive breakfast menu and a Sunday roast menu.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of the restaurant.
Grosvenor House Hotel,
86 Park Lane,
London W1K 7TN