Restaurant review

Restaurant Review: The Bar & The Grill at The Dorchester Park Lane

The Dorchester bar and grill are a heady cocktail of classic and contemporary.

Photo: The Dorchester

The iconic Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane opened its glamorous doors in 1931 and 90 years later it is not showing its age.

As the Christmas lights began to twinkle in the ever-sparkling Mayfair, I walked through its famous Art Deco revolving doors to visit its much-loved stylish bar, then discover the new menu that a talented young chef has brought to The Grill.

If the walls of the Dorchester bar could speak, they would tell mind-boggling tales of table dancing, dangerous liaisons, scandalous galleys and deals and celebrity secrets. And bartender Giuliano Morandin, who has been there for 40 years, has seen it all.

But today it is focusing on the here and now with a range of new cocktails that celebrate 90 hotels.e anniversary while perfecting old classics.

Giuliano is a true legend of the London bar scene, and guests in November will be able to enjoy the special off-menu birthday party. Jade cocktail, as well as its signatures such as the Martinez and The Perfect Ten. With the bartenders (women) Lucia and Denise, he made them with the same love as always.

I tasted the color pink the 90e, which celebrates the hotel’s anniversary and includes plum and grapefruit sorbet, vintage port, the rare Forbidden Fruit liqueur and Old Tom Gin from The Dorchester.

Jade is as precious as it sounds, a bright green champagne-based drink with gin and melon liqueur with a melon zest dipped in pepper. Giuliano tells me that the pepper brings out the flavor of the fruit in this cocktail that has been served thousands of times at the bar.

Dorchester regular Alfred Hitchcock reportedly loved cognac-based A Drink Die for, named in his honor, and I can imagine the grumpy old filmmaker sitting in an armchair in a corner of the bar sipping it and definitely using some of the characters for his next film.

We moved to The Grill for dinner and went from classic to contemporary.

The renovated Great Grill Room still has a fabulous 1930s ceiling, but also features a dramatic twist chandelier and sleek leather and wood decor. At the back is the pudding bar, with modern glass shelves featuring plants, kitchen items, and driftwood.

But he’s the new boss on the block Tom Booton, the youngest chef at The Grill at The Dorchester, that’s making the real waves here. ‘Our personal take on a modern day British grill with signature dishes including homemade stout bread and the Grill’s lobster thermidor pie is the description of the new food.

Certainly the the menu is intriguing. To start off we went with raw scallops for me and bolognese squid for my husband (looks weird but tastes great).

I chose the Delicia Pumpkin Bream as a main course which was not only pretty to look at but delicious, while my carnivorous husband opted for a venison loin stuffed with beet porcini mushrooms and Nero cavolo. Both dishes were beautifully presented with surprising and satisfying flavors.

We could have chosen the herbal-crusted catfish with mussels, leeks and Anna or Ribeye potatoes, stuffed potatoes, chive mayonnaise and chanterelles – so many dishes that revisit good British cuisine. The waiters were very attentive and described each dish perfectly and with genuine enthusiasm.

We were guided to beautiful wines by the sommelier, who suggests unusual wines to accompany the dishes, encouraging guests to step out of their winemaking comfort zone into the unexpected, including Greek and orange wines. We finished with a coffee and cream soft serve with hazelnuts and Pedro Ximenez. Celestial – and just a little Christmas?

The Grill at The Dorchester has reinvented itself and while retaining its glamor and style, has a new modern twist with a playful vibe that’s as fresh and exciting as any of Giuliano’s cocktails.

Opening hours: The Grill: Wednesday to Saturday 12 p.m. to 2.15 p.m. 6 pm-10pm; Sunday 12 pm-4pm
The Bar: Tuesday to Saturday from 12 p.m. to 12 p.m.
Address: The Dorchester, Park Lane, London W1K 1QA

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