Monday 24 February 2014


Dinner at Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar

Set in the shadows of London landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament and The London Eye, Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar is perfectly situated for a well-earned break after a day of exploring the city and strolling along the South Bank.

The restaurant and bar are beautifully laid out, looking both elegant and casual at the same time, and as soon as we arrived we were greeted with a warm welcome, which was a taste of the excellent service that was to come that night.

While sipping our fruity cocktails we ordered some starters that were perhaps not ideally matched to our mains, but were delicious nonetheless. My guest opted for the Cornish Oysters baked with Sage Cheddar Crumb. Being from New Zealand she's always had a wealth of fresh oysters at her finger tips and she hadn't tried them in the UK yet but she found these delicious and flavoursome. They were well presented on a bed of coarse sea salt, and for a starter six was more than enough.

I choose the Pan Fried Scallops with Black Pudding, Celeriac and Apple - which was excellent. I always find scallops hard to resist and I found they worked really well with the denseness of the black pudding, combined with the light tartiness of the apple and celeriac purees on the side. With three large scallops and a decent size of black pudding on the plate, this was a good portion for a starter - and it looked stunning on the plate too.

As Gillray's is a steakhouse we of course had high expectations of its namesake, but unfortunately we both felt that the bone-out Rib Eye fell slightly short of expectations. The pieces of meat were cooked well (medium rare per our order) and the flavour of the beef really came through, but both pieces were less tender than we'd hoped for as the fatty and muscular areas of the cut were more excessive. The more succulent pieces however were divine and went particularly well with the dark red Californian wine we'd been suggested to pair our mains with.

The sides we ordered with the meat were delectable and could not be faulted. The Cauliflower Cheese was soft and creamy, the Red Emily Sautee Potatoes with Shallots were flavoursome, the Portobello Mushrooms were big and juicy and the Truffle and Old Winchester Chips were possibly the most crispiest chips we've ever had the pleasure to try.

Even though we were satisfied from our mains, it didn't take much to be persuaded to give the desserts a try as well. My friend's Flourless Chocolate Cake was beautifully presented and very rich - a real chocoholic's delight. My Seasonal Meringue Pie with Ice Cream and English Custard on the other hand was light and slightly zingy, making it for me the perfect, fresh finish to an otherwise heavy meal.

Our waiter on the night was exceptionally attentive and helpful, offering not only a friendly service, but also excellent wine matching advice and even a basket of home-made Yorkshire puddings filled with cheese and with a spread of crème fraîche and mustard on the side (verdict: delicious) before we'd even had a chance to place our order - he truly went the extra mile.

With a knowledgeable and friendly staff, a diverse range of dishes and a stunningly beautiful location - we had a clear view of the majestic London Eye towering over the South Bank while the sun set over the river Thames - Gillray's is not only a convenient and delicious dining location but also a great place to meet up with friends or colleagues for some after work drinks.

Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar is located inside the London Marriott Hotel County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB.

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