The company I work for organise a Christmas party for all of us on the contract. My team, however, usually have our own as we’ve always been kind of separate from everyone else.
This year it was down to me to decide where we would go. We like to eat and have a good drink so in past years we’ve been to a few different Chinese establishments. This year I wanted to do something different. Initially I wanted us all to go to Red’s True Barbecue and have their Christmas deal. Unfortunately I waited too long to book and couldn’t get a slot that suited us. Lesson learned!
I popped into Bookatable.co.uk, always worth a visit when in need of inspiration of ideas as to where to eat, especially if your after a deal. I put in the time, date and number of people and had a look at the available deals. This is how I found Gillray’s Steak House and it’s three courses and a cocktail for less than £30pp deal. The reviews seemed decent too. SOLD! Grillray’s it was.
I’d booked for a 7pm seating so this gave us an opportunity to go somewhere for a few drinks first. We settled on Zander at the Bank Restaurant at the St James Hotel (you can read about this gem of a bar in my circumspect article here).
Nicely festive after Zander, we took a brisk walk between St James and County Hall across the Westminster Bridge avaoiding the tourist photographers and the pickpockets. Gillray’s is set inside the Marriot Hotel in the old County Hall building and it is stunning. They have a fantastic bar and the dining room is very tastefully decorated. The bar is one that is worth a visit just in and of itself if you’re a gin fan; it has over 100 different varieties to choose from.
We were seated and provided with our cocktail; a fizz based drink with a few added extras which was a little sharp but tasty nonetheless. The set menu we had gave around three options per course. As a table of meat eaters most went for the ham hock fritters with homemade piccalilli. I wanted something a bit different so opted for a mackerel dish with new potatoes and horseradish. While everything on the plate was well prepared and delicious, I couldn’t help but think that it would have benefited from a warm element, whether the mackerel or the potatoes. It just felt like it wasn’t quite what it could have been
For the main course everyone went for the ribeye steak, cooked to varying states of bloodiness. A nice touch was that we got to choose our own steak knife from an ornate box. Simply put, the steak was really good. Excellently seasoned and not a bad size – 200g. We did notice that even though we all had the same, there did seem to be a difference in the size of the steaks that arrived on the plates. I won’t complain too much though as mine came out a perfect medium rare. The chips were crisp and fluffy and the béarnaise was silky smooth.
There were a few options for dessert but when you see sticky toffee pudding and ice cream on the menu everything else pales in comparison. The pudding itself was wonderful. Managing to be light but incredibly comforting at the same time. One of my colleagues had the same and the others looked on rightly enviously from their ice cream or chocolate mousse.
All in all it was a great experience at Gillrays. There were some touches I really liked, for instance picking your own steak knife. The staff was really attentive too. What I didn’t enjoy was the length of time we waited in between courses. Normally 10-15 minutes between courses is pretty standard. We must have waited up to 30 minutes between courses and the restaurant didn’t appear to be all that busy. It’s annoying but it wouldn’t put me off visiting again. That said, I probably wouldn’t go to Gillrays again, if only because there are so many more steak restaurants in London I have yet to try, but don’t let that stop you from visiting.
London Lamppost Score – 3.5/5
Gillray’s Steak House
London Marriott Hotel County Hall,
Westminster Bridge Road,
This article is a reworked version of one originally written by the Author on his blog Shakey Eats