Elysium Magazine loves a restaurant where we can sate our carnivorous desires. So when the opportunity came to visit The Grill restaurant at The Montcalm hotel in Marble Arch, known for its meat-heavy theme, we were understandable keen to get our teeth into the menu. But what did we make of our experience, and is this the type of place to take your lady or your mates? Read on to discover our verdict.
Located just off Oxford Street, close to Marble Arch tube station is where you’ll find The Grill within the five-star Montcalm hotel. Newly opened towards the end of 2011 this restaurant is a hidden gem amongst the London metropolis. You’ll see why shortly.
The Look, The Feel
The layout and setting of the restaurant is very welcoming and slick while the staff play big part in adding to the relaxed atmosphere with their attentive approach. This sets the scene for your experience at The Grill as the staff here adds to the elements that makes this place special.
With a mixture of tables to two, larger group tables and circular booths, numerous seating combinations are available – with the booths offering a decent level of privacy without closing you off from the rest of the restaurant. The cream leather chairs are comfortable, while the ambient décor and soft lighting we experienced in the evening helps you quickly settle down.
Arriving at the restaurant just after 7.30pm, we were the first guests to be seated, which made the ambience of the room seem a little flat, but as the evening went on additional couples and groups arrived to help add to the atmosphere, and stop us from feeling like we were dining alone. Our waiter for the evening was very knowledgeable about the menu and the day’s specials, and was also on hand to make recommendations about the wine – always a good sign for a restaurant.
Once settled, we were presented with a complimentary amuse bouche of a rather tasteful potato fritter along with a selection of warmed bread rolls – both were delicious.
For starters we had the Rosary goats’ cheese brûlée with apple and walnut salad (£8.50) and the Crab salad with peas and brown crab veloute (£18.50). Both dishes were served with impeccable presentation and tasted divine. The goats’ cheese brûlée left you wanting more – just the kind of appetisers to whet the appetite before the main course.
One thing that struck us once the starters were completed was the chef’s skill in creating a menu, and delivering it with such high regard for flavours and knowing how to compliment them. Likewise was the rapid service of the food, just as well because we couldn’t wait to get our teeth into the next course.
Onto mains, one of us was swayed by the special of the day – sea bass on a bed of creamed leeks (£20.00) while the fillet of Dorset beef with foie gras butter, watercress puree and shallot tatin (£35.00) seduced the other. Both dishes were of a very high standard – the sea bass was beautifully cooked and of a good portion size, while the beef was cooked to order and not dried out – beautifully juicy. This was melt in the mouth stuff.
The menu is quite varied, but focused around the meat-lover, with options for pork, chicken, veal and seafood all looking tempting. As such, vegetarians among you will be disappointed in the variety left here – with a small handful of vegetarian dishes making up the ‘Alternatives’ section. This restaurant is called The Grill – that should be all the indication needed for the type of culinary experience on offer.
To round off a splendid meal, for dessert we ordered the almond shortbread blackberry cheese cake with lavender ice cream (£8.50) along with the custard tart with hazelnut ice cream (£8.50). Elysium is happy to report these tasted as delicious as they sound – and also the perfect portion size considering the two courses before this. All highly impressive.
Overall, The Grill restaurant is a welcome addition to the London eatery scene. The menu of Andrew Ives has to be admired for its meatiness – something the discerning gent would have appreciation for in healthy amount. The lighting and décor of The Grill will appeal to those diners not looking for an intimate dining experience, but saying that, taking your lady to this restaurant is something we’re sure she’ll enjoy due to the fine food. Likewise, if this is a meet up of mates for lunch or dinner then the meaty menu is suited just fine.
At the moment The Grill at The Montcalm is a hidden gem but this will not be the case for long as word will soon spread of the great dishes on offer here. The chef is a perfectionist and the level of innovative thought on the menu brings all your senses into play at the dinner table. Highly recommended.
Contact: The Montcalm London,34-40 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London, W1H 7TW; Tel. 0207 958 3200