Location, location, location; the maxim of estate agents who believe that the area in which a property is located is the guiding factor for a buyer. One might think the same would go for restaurants. A place that is centrally located, possibly by the river, offering great views would be the ideal place for a place to eat. Not so, it seems. Ever since the recession hit, people have become more selective about where they go out. The current housing market means that you can’t be picky where you choose to live. But the range of apps, user guides and online sites means that you can be very discerning when choosing where to dine out.
This train of thought was inspired by a recent visit to Gillrays, which seems to be indicative of this current trend. It is ideally located, only a few hundred yards from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, plumped very close to the Thames and with magnificent views. Named after one of England’s most noted satirical cartoonists James Gillray, it has class, character as well as an accompanying bar which boasts over 30 types of gin.
Yet incredibly, not many people seem to seek it out. I came at the end of the week expecting to find it bustling yet it was only half full. More the pity and more the luck for chancers like myself. Because the food served here is tremendous. Their Devonshire crab cakes were nimble and delicately flavoured, whilst my companion’s pan-fried scallops with rhubarb and blood orange were exquisitely rendered.
But it was in the main course where the restaurant showed its forte and ability to astonish. There is a debate over the length of time it is sensible to age beef. Some put it at 14 days, some at 22. At Gillray’s, it is 35 days. I can’t give an objective opinion as to what the extra 13 days does to the quality of the beef. All I can give is a subjective of how excellently the porterhouse steak was rendered and the myriad of options that were laid for its accompaniment.
My companion went for the sirloin and was similarly enraptured over the quality of the meat and how it had been prepared exactly to his specifications. We each took our time over what were fantastically thought out dishes with real expertise and craft applied. We were so preoccupied with our steaks that we ran out of time for dessert. It might be a fortunate turn of events as we were already waddling by the time we reached the outside and pottered along the Thames.
One caveat to an experience at Gillray’s is the price, which you might find more demanding than other places. But given the location, the views and the undeniable first rate quality of the food, it is well worth finding time to pay a visit.
Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar
Westminster Bridge Rd
Tel: 020 7902 8000