Thursday, February 29, 2024

Steaking Red Ken

A review of Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar

 

James Gillray (1756 – 1815) was a Chelsea born caricaturist and printmaker and is most famous for his satires against George III. In naming their restaurant after him, the Marriott County Hall has firmly pinned themselves to honouring his spirit and life.

 

Situated diagonally across the Thames from the Palace of Westminster and located within the former home of the Greater London Council, this vast but somewhat narrow steakhouse is peppered with images of the characters Gillray created and has a separate entrance from the hotel itself.

Gillray's
Gillray’s

 

In honour of the gluttony that Gillray portrayed, meat is the theme here and it is supplied by O’Shea’s. The selection includes eleven 35 day dry aged Aberdeen Angus steaks on the main menu but myself and three friends were lucky enough to opt for a “limited edition” wagyu that melted in the mouth after sharing two portions of 12 Cornish oysters (£18 each) to begin.

 

The remainder of the menu is dominated by English produce such as Forman’s “London Cure” smoked salmon (£9) and Kentish salt marsh lamb chops (£19). Instead of bread, Yorkshire puddings stuffed with Montgomery cheddar are offered at the start of the meal. Heartiness and excess, though, is especially confirmed in the restaurant’s star offering: a 1kg steak named the “Bull’s Head”.

 

What truly impressed me though is the restaurant’s gin selection. Undoubtedly amongst the most comprehensive in London, around 39 currently are on the list and a particular pleasure was encountering the bar manager Joao Gloria who had remembered my particular way of drinking G&Ts from when he worked at PJ’s in Fulham Road several years earlier: lots of ice, no lime, no lemon, tonic on the side and most importantly lots of gin.

 

Naturally, to conclude and in honour of County Hall’s most notorious inhabitant, Ken Livingstone, we had to opt for a staple English dish: a traditional sherry trifle (£8). As we delved into the red fruit soaked in sherry one of my companions commented: “Even Ken wouldn’t see red if he dined here”.

 

Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7902 8000.

 

 

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