Although there is a lot to be said about the joy of discovering something new, like a bar, restaurant or holiday destination, there can be a great deal of comfort in returning to a favourite haunt. For me, my week in the south of Spain is Gillray’s, which is based inside the Marriott Hotel by Westminster Bridge, is one of those places. It is the perfect time of year to visit, with the tranquil views over the Thames, Westminster Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben made ever more glorious by the purples, pinks and oranges of the oncoming sunset.
The sense of familiarity is brought on by the classic decor of the place with extensive wood panelling, high windows and the works of the eponymous cartoonist James Gillray. He was a contemporary of William Hogarth in the 18th century and his depictions of public figures were so incendiary as to raise the ire of King George III.
The restaurant is renown for its steaks, which are sourced from England and aged for 35 days. But before embarking on the meat, my companion and I kicked off with us both choosing the scallops, which were served with garden pea puree, mint and smoked bacon jam. Although I felt that the scallops were a little undercooked, they combined exceptionally well with the puree and jam.
With the mains, my companion and I diverged on our choice of steak. My companion went a fillet whilst I took on the rather more substantial rib eye. Both were sumptuous cuts of meat, bursting with a variety and intensity of flavour. This combined with the our respective choice of blue cheese and red wine sauces accentuated the potency of the experience.
Although we were now pretty full from everything that we had eaten, we were always going to find a bit more room for dessert. My companion picked out the English cheese board, which was composed of ‘Lyburn’ Oak Smoked, Stoneycross, Tunworth and Barkham Blue. I ventured for the slightly more indulgent Cambridge Burnt Cream. Both were excellent and a fine way to finish off the meal.
Gillray’s has everything you would want from a meal at a top London restaurant. It has history, character, fantastic views, great food and exceptional service. It may be a little on the pricey side but you are definitely getting value for money.
Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar
Westminster Bridge Rd