Sabi Phagura heads over to London’s Westminster to sample the culinary delights on offer at Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar
One of the first things that you notice when walking into this slick eatery bar is that most people are interested in what’s going on outside it rather than inside. And who can blame them? With views of Big Ben, Westminster, the London Eye and the River Thames, there’s plenty to be distracted by. But that’s not to say what Gillray’s Steakhouse Bar hotspot has to offer in the tourist hotspot isn’t equally as good. And I’m not just talking about the show-stopping ‘Bull’s Head’ – a gargantuan double-rib steak – on the menu.
Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar is British to the core, from its curvaceous wood-panelled restaurant interior, to reproductions of the 18th century social and political caricaturist James Gillray who the place is named after. Some of his classic images are used as names for cocktails like ‘The Morning After Marriage’. But it was the ‘Ginger Bees Knees’ that caught my eye on the menu. Like many of the cocktails on offer, its starting point is one of the 100 English gins on offer (London Dry Gin in this instance) with ginger lemon and honey. The ingredients sound super medicinal, but the taste is definitely not. It went down rather well, that I even had time to order another before dinner. The bar offers a “Gin of the Month” too, so there is always a reason to go back.
The English spirit of the bar continues through to the restaurant as it strives to be one of the best steakhouses in London. It is proud to use meat from cattle reared on the Duke of Devonshire’s Bolton Abbey Estate. The signature dish, as briefly mentioned above, is the 1 kilogramme “Bull’s Head” cut of steak cooked just how you like it. But if you’re not so brave to tuck into the hefty meat, or prefer something other than steak, then there is plenty more to choose from.
Fish, lamb, chicken and vegetable dishes are all available together with good wholesome sides like creamed mash, spinach, vegetables and triple cooked chips. A seasonal menu is also offered alongside their à la carte.
But perhaps most notable for me was the house summer salad and the Yorkie starter. The warm Yorkshire pudding with melted cheese in the middle was like a cheese croissant. It was offered in place of bread, while the summer salad had an amazing mix of flavours that I would never have dreamed of putting together myself. Green leaves, strawberries, raspberries, toasted seeds, cheddar cheese were all thrown together in a reduced shallot in champagne and rapeseed oil dressing. The result was a mind-blowing explosion in the mouth.
There’s always room for a pudding, and if not, then you can always make an effort to create some – particularly if you enjoy a bit of flourless chocolate cake that does not taste flourless at all. Rich, creamy and stodgy are the hallmarks of bringing on the guilt trip, but for some reason they didn’t at all. And in my opinion if you’re going to have pudding, then you may as well do it properly. I had a side scoop of salted caramel ice cream too.
Whether you’re a steak lover or not, Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar is a perfect place to pop in to escape the tourists, and yet still be able to enjoy the sights from inside its four walls. Service is excellent, and you most probably will be tempted to try out one of their many inviting cocktails on offer.
For more information on Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar, or to make a reservation, visit http://gillrays.com/.
By Sabi Phagura