The Grill at the Dorchester in Mayfair: Young talent takes the restaurant to new heights
Tom Booton has made more than a few headlines as the youngest chef to be appointed in charge of The Grill at the Dorchester, a restaurant with an almost centenary history. In 1975, when the dining room was known as The Terrace, a Swiss 28-year-old (two years older than Booton) led the kitchen to gain two Michelin stars. It took 11 years to achieve that, and the name of the chef was Anton Mosimann.
The restaurant has been completely refurbished, giving it a fresh new look but also including details dating back to 1931 such as the gold door and ceiling ornaments. The design is sleek and the atmosphere is relaxed. Most of the materials have a golden shade – or a colour that matches impeccably – to the delight of the wealthy guests of this luxury hotel.
The set menu comes in at £60 for three dishes or £75 for four, with a couple of plates available at a premium. There’s also a dedicated vegetarian menu, something that probably derives from Booton’s experience at Alyn Williams at the Westbury, where he was head chef.
After a glass of bubbles (Veuve Clicquot brut NV), we begin with a scallop ceviche, covered with orange granita and oyster leaves. This refreshing dish, served on a shell, also carries a more autumnal note with the addition of chestnut. A Cumbrian Beef Tartare, with thinly cut radish, beef fat yolk and oxtail jelly, shows all the technical skills of this blooming kitchen.
We continue with a Glazed Veal Sweetbread and a Cheddar and Onion Tart. I have to admit I didn’t expect the former to be in the form of a soup: being a sucker for sweetbread, I enjoy savouring the texture of the meat, and the liquid didn’t help with this. It’s still a pretty good dish, with slices of celeriac and maitake mushrooms. A glass of Viña Cubillo 2010 by López de Heredia (Rioja) is a brilliant pairing.
The highlight of tonight’s meal is the lobster thermidor tart, inspired by the French classic dish. Contrary to the traditional version, the lobster is beautifully preserved and presented on the top of a tart filled with Booton’s interpretation of the thermidor sauce. It takes a glance to see it’s a standout, before the first bite confirms the initial impression. We also have a solid ribeye – perfectly cooked medium-rare – which comes with a beef roll, onion rings and samphire.
Despite our waiter’s promise to complete our meal at the dessert bar, we have to stay at our table as the counter is already full. On the menu, there’s a choice of four puddings and/or the cheese course. A tarte tatin cannot be ignored by your writer, and here it’s prepared using pineapple and rum, and paired with raisin ice cream. It’s simple and delightful. The banoffee tart is a lighter take on the popular English pie.
Smart and sleek, the Grill offers an informal yet sophisticated dining experience. A young team drives this restaurant in the kitchen and at the front of house, and with more experience and hard work – teething problems are normal – history may well repeat itself: some of those accolades that Mosimann received in the 80s may actually return.★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
To book a table at the Grill at the Dorchester, 53 Park Lane London W1K 1QA, call 020 7629 8888 or visit their website here.