Located inside one of London’s finest five-star hotels sits a hidden gem of a restaurant, serving up A-star service and traditional British cuisine at its finest.
Whilst I'd heard about The Rubens - placing it amongst its fellow cohort of iconic London spots harking back to the golden days of British grandeur - I'd heard nothing about its equally lavish restaurant, The English Grill at The Rubens at the Palace Hotel - but what a treat I was in for.
The English Grill is certainly no shrinking violet. Filled with a plethora of regency-style paintings and ornamental silver bowls, pomp and splendour reigns supreme within these four walls. Everything is decorative and reminds me of childhood adventures around National Trust treasures. Set in the middle of a sea of rich mahogany sits a long marble-topped island laden with platters of fruit, veg and freshly baked breads - a selection of which were placed on our table as we mulled over the menu. However, the real focal point is the central candelabra, which I’m proudly told was formerly housed in Windsor Palace.
But it isn't just the interior that's gotten the royal treatment. Attention to detail runs through all aspects of the spot, with attentive waiters and a next-level service that left a lasting impression. Receiving a warm welcome from the maitre d, we're next greeted by our charming sommelier for the night. Clearly a seasoned pro, he got rid of the stress of wine selection by suggesting a wine flight (£40). Not only was he spot on with a selection of Bouchard Finlayson vinos throughout the meal but he kept a friendly and chatting air about him whenever checking in on our evening.
Starting off the meal on a seafood note, we picked the king scallops with chorizo and smoked Applewood cheddar (£21) and the ‘London cure’ smoked salmon (£20). Presented in three shells, the meaty scallops were perfectly complemented with the smoky combo of Applewood and chorizo. As for the salmon, we were in for a spectacle when two thick slabs of Scottish and Irish salmon rolled up on a large glass trolley. Theatrically sliced in front of us, the servings were generous and offered alongside a lemon and selection of dips and sides. And to drink? A Bouchard Finlayson Chardonnay (£15).
Deciding to put the restaurant's grill to the test, I opted for the grilled rosemary and garlic lamb chop (£30) for my main. Served with a rich and meaty gravy, it was perfectly cooked to my medium rare preference and reminded me why I haven't been able to go fully-veggie. However, it was the sides that really stole the show for me. A bowl of garden peas, onion and bacon (£6) offered up a refreshing interval from the richness of the meal whilst the recommended truffle gratin (£6) was something else. A creamy bowl of glutinous indulgence, it was love at first bite.
At this point, we were starting to struggle. Ordering two fresh mint teas, we decided to split our desserts. One of my all-time favourites, The English Grill's creme brulee (£9) was done beautifully and didn't let me down. The grilled peach and lemon posset (£9) made a perfect palate cleanser for the end of an incredibly rich meal.
The DesignMyNight Digest
If you're looking for a special evening of five-star food and incredible service within a quintessentially British location then The English Grill at The Rubens at the Palace Hotel is the spot for you. And with a bunch of varied menus to choose from, including their breakfast, afternoon tea and pre-theatre set menu, a meal at this royally good spot can suit all budgets.