I have just had an extremely busy weekend. It was my birthday on Sunday and to celebrate I took two days off work to pamper myself. Jack and I headed to the Southbank on Friday afternoon to try out Gillray’s, a steakhouse situated in the Marriott hotel just next to Westminster bridge.
We were apprehensive about our lunch trip for a few reasons – firstly because the hotel is situated in one of the busiest tourist areas in London, secondly because we had never heard of the restaurant before and thirdly becuase we were unsure whether a Marriott hotel restaurant would be any good.
We walked through the grand entrance of the hotel and were shown down the corridor to the restaurant. My mouth opened slightly in surprise as I walked through the door – a beautiful art deco style bar and yellow tall backed sofas stood in front of us. The restaurant, just to right hand side of the bar area, was just as beautiful with light wood paneling and pieces of art dotted around the room.
We were seated and ordered 6 Cornish oysters (£9.95) and corned beef and bacon hash with fried quail eggs (£8.50) to start, followed by porterhouse steak (£36 for 450g) with truffle and parmesan chips (£3) and carrots with Shropshire honey (£4) for main. We were treated to Gillray’s version of bread and butter to start – two large Yorkshire puddings stuffed with melted cheddar cheese. A great idea but the puddings were just a little bit on the burnt side and the bits without cheese were a little dusty.
The Oysters were served with a champagne and shallot vinaigrette, which I thought was slightly too much like olive oil for my liking. It tasted good but maybe I was just expecting something different. I can’t comment on the corned beef hash but Jack looked pleased and it didn’t take him long to polish it off.
We both opted for the Porterhouse steak, which arrived with the bone on. I had asked for my steak rare and Jack medium rare. I regretted it slightly when it arrived – I cut off big chunks of the steak, which were hard to chew. Jacks was slightly more tender and easier to eat. I’m not saying that I didn’t like mine, because I did, I just had to learn to take smaller bites and savour the steak. The truffle and Parmesan chips were a delight and we were left wanting more than just one portion to share. We were both quite surprised when we took the lid off the little carrot pot – there were about eight tiny carrots sat in the bottom. Hardly worth £4. They were also so delicious that we felt we could have eaten another two pots.
For dessert we decided to share a lime meringue pie and ordered a cocktail each. I loved the way that the cocktail menu was sectioned into eras – Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Contemporary and Modern Britain and some of the cocktails just sounded so fantastic. I’ll definitely be back to try some of the others but I settled for The White Lady (£10 – Beefeater 24 gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Bramble & Gage liquor, egg white and rose syrup) from The Victorian era on Friday. Jack chose the Gillray’s Ginger Martini (£10 – Fresh ginger, ginger syrup, ginger Chase vodka, King’s ginger liquor, fresh lime and apple juice) from the Modern Britain section. Both drinks arrived in a martini glass and we sipped slowly, savouring each mouthful.
The dessert arrived and I had to laugh at the plate that it was served on. It was a tall cake stand with a dome lid, just big enough for the perfectly formed tart for one. I loved it but Jack thought it was a little silly. It got us talking though! We poured the little jog of warm custard over the top and split it in half. The wobbly filling was perfectly lemony and the meringue topping crunchy and gooey at the same time. Jack declared it the best part of the meal.
We finished with an espresso before heading off into the evening. I look forward to taking a few of my friends back for cocktails in the New Year. I know they will love it too.
Gillrays’ Steakhouse & Bar
London Marriott Hotel County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road