Gillrays restaurant London is situated right next to the river Thames, with views out to houses of parliament.
But despite the enviable central location, the inside of the building on the capital’s South Banks provides so much to look at there’s hardly time to take in the scenery outside.
The British steakhouse invited The Food and Drink Innovation inside to sample its menu.
The bar – a circular room with high-backed yellow leather sofas – boasts an extensive cocktail list (if you’re as indecisive as me allow at least 15 minutes to make an informed decision) and is light and spacious in it’ feel.
The staff are attentive and more than happy to offer drinks recommendations according to your taste preferences.
The dining room is a very different space but equally as light and clean in its feel.
The concise menu isn’t overbearing in it’s offering but foregrounds what the restaurant is best know for – its English steak.
Bone in or out, fillet, sirloin, rib eye, rump, T-bone, ladies cut, – to name a few – these beef options take centre stage on the menu.
So even if you are tempted by the Billingsgate Grilled Fish or Veal Cutlet, you think better of it and opt for the beef.
The waiting staff are incredibly friendly and not too formally attentive – which fitted the feel of the place and made for a more relaxed meal.
Well informed on the menu and obviously passionate about the food they serve, they all offered information about the food my guest and I ordered.
When quizzing our waiter on the baked oysters in cheese and spinach he smiled and said – “these are just delicious – the cheese and spinach are slightly creamed when baked underneath it.”
I took from his smile that I’d be making a wise decision to try these and I wasn’t disspipointed.
Although a large portion of six giant oysters was a bit overwhelming for a starter, they did not disappoint on taste, and my guest, who ordered scallops with pancetta and pea puree, was more than happy to help me finish it.
But the main course was the big show.
The fillet steak, ordered medium-rare, was exactly that.
Perfectly pink throughout and melt in the mouth, you can tell why the chefs are so proud of their steak offerings.
Served with my choice of stilton sauce (other options were peppercorn, Red Wine & Bone Marrow, Stilton, Steak Butter, Peppercorn, Tarragon Butter & A Selection of English Mustards) on the side, the meat also had a side of grilled cherry tomatoes.
My guest, who ordered a Sirloin steak, and I shared Parmesan chips, creamed spinach and green beans with pancetta, and, although we may have had eyes bigger than our tummies when we ordered three, we found each exciting enough to prevent us leaving any untouched.
With a short and very classically british dessert menu; Cornish Clotted Cream; Warm Chocolate Pudding; Bramley Apple Crumble Hot Custard and Lemon Meringue Pie -it was the ice creams and sorbets that saved it and stood out as interestingly different.
Ordering a bowl of the ice creams and a bowl of the sorbets, the flavours were exciting and delicious– Dark chocolate and blood orange, salted caramel, and rhubarb and custard ice creams and Elderflower and champagne, Brambly apple and Gin and tonic sorbets.
Busy for a Tuesday night – and therefore not lacking an atmosphere – the food showed us why.
With main courses costing around £28 the food didn’t fall short of the expectations its price tag set up and Gillrays proved itself to be a welcome break when wandering in from London’s busy South Bank.
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