Jamie Ndah visits the Island Grill at the Lancaster London Hotel to sample the latest offerings from Head Chef Adam Woolven
Dining out is one of life’s great luxuries, and the Island Grill offers its guests a unique gastronomic experience that provides a menu with ultra-modern British dishes using seasonal and the very best local produce. The award-winning Island Grill is the pride of the Lancaster London hotel and is heralded as one of the leading destinations of sustainable cuisine. Located a short walk from Lancaster Gate, and with glorious views of the iconic Hyde Park, my culinary caper was about to begin.
The restaurant is teeming with guests who come from the neighbouring hotel passageway and passers-by curious to delve into the inviting menu. It offers split-level dining environment and has its own private entrance. This appealing 2 AA Rosette restaurant also has floor-to-ceiling windows running along two outside walls, allowing light to flood effortlessly into the dining area and the soft back-lit ceiling setting creates a calm and relaxing tone.
The menu switches with each season, with Head Chef Adam Woolven working relentlessly to create an eco-friendly, yet luxurious dining experience. It really is no surprise that this talented and gifted master of the kitchen has gone from strength to strength in the past four years. Winning awards such as Role Model of the Year (2012), he was promoted to Sous Chef in 2013, before recently earning the role of Head Chef of the Island Grill. His passion for the finest ingredients and cosmopolitan dishes is so evident from the wonderful selection on offer to diners.
My waiter for the evening is Alex who is nice and friendly and proceeds to take me through the menu for which he is very knowledgeable. I began the evening with a gorgeously refreshing Orange Blossom which is a blend of apple, cranberry and orange juice from their tantalising range of refreshing mocktails.
Next, I ordered a tasty green olive ciabatta with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar which arrived in no time at all, and the taste of the bread was divine and so moreish too. I made sure that I did not order any more of this delicious bread as I was saving myself for the main event.
For starters, I had the heavenly pan-fried scallops which came with a lightly curried carrot puree, courgettes, crisp carrots, pickled radish and parsley oil. My guest sampled the pork belly which was dressed with egg noodles, melon, cucumber, Asian salad and toasted cashews. Both dishes were beautifully presented and the servings were just enough in size, leaving us both satisfied and ready for our main courses. This was indeed a great start and we were both looking forward to the next stage of this culinary journey.
The service was quick and efficient, and for the main course, I opted for the succulent Roast Rump of English Lamb which was complimented with roasted cauliflower, cauliflower puree, curly kale and a flavoursome salsa verde. My guest decided to order from the Grill menu and went for a sumptuous 8oz Fillet of Beef which I am told is exquisitely tender and melts freely in your mouth.
We also ordered a selection of sides that consisted of chips, green salad, rocket, West Sussex cheese salad, thyme roasted carrots, spinach, and my absolute favourite, mash potato with grain mustard which was aromatic and velvety on the palate.
By now, my guest and I were absolutely full, but we endeavoured to make room for dessert as this would be a crime not to do so. The Island Grill’s classic and signature honey pannacotta with fresh berries, edible flowers and a brandy snap is the talk of the dessert menu. This incredible sweet is made with honey produced on site from the thousands of bees living in beehives on the roof of the hotel.
However, my guest and I chose the traditional Apple and Blackberry Crumble which didn’t let us down. This classic sweet treat is made up of a granny smith blackberry compote and a golden crunchy crumble, served with a luscious single scoop of vanilla ice-cream which was blissful. We ended our thoroughly enjoyable feast with an English tea and a hot chocolate.
In short, the Island Grill offers a fantastic dining experience and stunning cuisine that is well presented, and friendly staff. It is so worthy of its three stars awarded from the Sustainable Restaurants Association. I am already looking forward to returning to sample more from this exceptional creative menu, and this time, I’ll leave enough room for the honey pannacotta with fresh berries too.
Island Grill – Where and How?
The Island Grill is located at Lancaster Terrace, London W2 3PF, United Kingdom. For reservations, call 0207 551 6070 or visit www.islandrestaurant.co.uk.
Breakfast: Mon – Sun: 8am – 11am
Lunch: Mon – Sun: 12pm – 4pm
Dinner: Mon – Sun 4pm – 10.30pm