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Wareing At The Savoy Grill


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the chef’s table is separate in a raised. air and sound conditioned booth over the main cooking area.  The table is black and shaped like a piano top and can take up to 8-10 people at 100-00 GBP per head excluding drink.

Anny, I'm a bit confused. Do you mean that if you want to eat in the cooking area as opposed to the main restaurant it costs £100 per head as opposed to £25 per head? :huh:

Or do you get completely different food or something?

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Tony, the 100-00 per head was the figure given 'off the top of his head' by the maitre d' showing us the kitchen.

In fact the chef's table opens today and has two costs:

560-00GBP for lunch and 680-00GBP for dinner for up to 8 people.

This includes champagne and canapes on arrival, a kitchen tour, a discussion with the head chef about the menu (dependant upon what's in the kitchen that day and what you fancy eating) , depending on choices then 6-8 courses and coffee and chocolates.

Booze, naturally, is additional.

Cheers

Anny

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  • 4 weeks later...

I like having dinner with the Finch's. Tony has forgotten more about wine than I will ever know and can figure out a good bottle at 100 yrds. Faro on the other hand barely drinks at all so there is more for everyone else.

Last night the four of us ( Me, Tone, Faro and the ever estimable Robin ) went to the Savoy Grill for supper

It took us a few moments to figure out where the entrance to The Grill Room was and we wandered around The Savoy in a re-enactment of the scene in Spinal Tap "Hello Cleveland"

When we finally managed to find the door which is pretty hidden and discreetly signed as you enter the hotel, I was pleasantly surprised. The room is lovely, lots of booths and with a real buzz about it. They gave us a great little booth near the kitchen which was handy to see all the kithcen and trolley schtick going on.

While we sipped on a pre dinner Aligote ( didn't enjoy much, a bit soft ) some pre amuse were bought to the table which while excellent individually were a bit of an odd combination. Hummus with small melba toasts and a brandade on top of small brown shrimps.

The menu is £35 for three courses which with the range of choices ( about 6 each in each of hot, cold starters, soups, seafood and shellfish and meats ) is very good value indeed.

We were joking that the chef being who he is, the amuse was bound to be a cappucino of something and we were spot on. It was a delicious soup of sweet potato which had a real depth of flavour

To start, I chose the calf's sweetbreads which was very good, crunchy outside, soft and melting inside. Tony had a King Prawn torellini with a celery veloute ( hurrah!) and Robin had hand caught scallops ( with no corals on, I guess so as not to offend the Americans ) I can't recall what Faro had, but Tony's dish was the standout.

Faro and I shared the Chateaubriand for two for the main course while robin had Belly Pork and tony Anjou Pigeon. The beef had a great flavour and was cooked ( rare ) perfectly to order. I was less keen on Robins pork which was a few slices of slightly dry belly with no discernable texture. Again, Tony's meal was the standout with the pigeon having an amazing flavour and being pink as it should be.

Desserts came either from the trolley ( a nod to the old Grill Room ) or from a list of chef's specials. Tony and Robin chose from the trolley which had a selection of about 10 fantastic looking desserts on offer. They both wen for a trifle which the four of us shared while our plum tatin was being prepared. The trifle was pretty good but nowhere near as good as the tatin that came out a moment later. The only downside was that it was supposed to be served with an almond ice cream but we were given a pretty ordinary vanilla. I guess in the bigger scheme of things, it is a minor failing.

Coffees and a mint tea ( not fresh mint but from a bag- aghhh!) were served with two types of petits which were quickly demolished

Wines on the list were pretty overpriced. The very ordinary aligote was £25. The wine we were recommended with our starter ( Tony-remind me ) was about £5 a glass and was not bad, a slighly raisiny wine from just south of Barcelona. The highlight was a Monastarios 98 which was superb but at £55 about £10 over priced.

We had a guess about the bill and I reckoned that if it came out under £100 a head it would be a decent deal. In fact it was much more than that ( a decent deal that is ) The meal came to £75 per person including service which was exemplary throughout.

At that price, and with this level of cooking this is a bit of a steal and in every aspect the superior of Petrus which was exactly twice the price on a recent visit.

8/10 - one point off for failing the mint tea test and for the entrance not being directly in my sightline when I entered the hotel

Edited by Simon Majumdar (log)
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Half way through the meal a waiter came up and asked Simon if we would like a tour of the kitchens afterwards. Simon immediately decided that this honour was being bestowed upon us because Marcus (or someone) had recognized him, but maybe they make this offer to all the girls.

Being the Savoy the kitchen was spacious and spotless. Good working conditions, I'd guess, except that on a hot night in June it was like a bloody steam bath, especially compared to the air conditioned restaurant.

Is there some rule which forbids air-con in kitchens? Or is air-con there but just overpowered from the heat of the ovens and ranges? I can't believe the Savoy Group are too poor to install it. Given what we were discussing on the chefs and drugs thread, the substance you're going to need most in there is as much iced water as you can get.

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Half way through the meal a waiter came up and asked Simon if we would like a tour of the kitchens afterwards. Simon immediately decided that this honour was being bestowed upon us because Marcus (or someone) had recognized him, but maybe they make this offer to all the girls.

Being the Savoy the kitchen was spacious and spotless. Good working conditions, I'd guess, except that on a hot night in June it was like a bloody steam bath, especially compared to the air conditioned restaurant.

Is there some rule which forbids air-con in kitchens? Or is air-con there but just overpowered from the heat of the ovens and ranges? I can't believe the Savoy Group are too poor to install it. Given what we were discussing on the chefs and drugs thread, the substance you're going to need most in there is as much iced water as you can get.

Tony,

I know what you mean, the heat these guys work under, for long periods of time is unbelievable. We had a tour of Manoir's kitchen a while back. The chap who showed around was highly enthusiastic and inordinately proud of the new ranges( Basildog take note ), that had recently been installed. Dwelling over the section that prepared meat, for a three minutes, he patiently explained what each of the chaps did. I think I lost three pounds ( I wish) whilst standing there those three "short " minutes, that section was like being in Dante's inferno. He eventually took us to the section that was responsible for plating up the ice creams and sorbets and it took all my self restraint to stop myself from diving in , head first. This was in March, so lord only knows what it would be like on a August evening ! I am not quite sure how they manage it, night after night.

Edited by Bapi (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

As Sam and I were uninvited to the above shindig we made it to Savoy Grill under our own steam on Friday night. Following Simon’s tip off we found the very discreet entrance to the restaurant ok. My first impression was that the room was too dark, but that gradually wore off through the evening. The décor was great, one of best dining rooms I’ve been in.

We were escorted to a large booth diagonally opposite the entrance, and were very pleased with our view of the room and the size of the table. Canapés of Cod brandade with brown shrimp , hummus and croutons followed. The Cod and shrimp concoction was extremely flavoursome.

An amuse of Celeriac veloute with truffle oil was next up and also very intensely flavoured. We drank a glass of the house white at this point but can’t remember details.

Choosing was very difficult as much on the menu appealed but I settled on King prawn tortellini with lime and chervil, white asparagus and a celery emulsion followed by Canon of Dorset lamb, fondant potato, baby artichokes, cherry tomatoes and black olives with lamb jus.

The tortellinis were good; lots of filling though couldn’t detect the lime. Minor discretion was the Celery emulsion was actually Celeriac as served as the amuse minus the truffle oil. That aside, when does a veloute become an emulsion?

The lamb dish was not unlike many I’ve had/seen served numerous times before but it was beautifully cooked and presented, with an array of bright colours. A real summer dish.

Sam’s starter was a Foie gras remoulade with a potato and spring onion salad, presented at room temperature allowing the flavour to come through.

Sam had said all week that she fancied beef and though the Chateaubriand on the menu is for two there was a single portion on the tasting menu and they were happy to accommodate Sam’s request. When it arrived the waiter joked about the size of the portion, as it was extremely large. Thankfully it was meltingly tender thus it was much lighter to eat than it could’ve been, and with some help from yours truly an empty plate went back to the kitchen. Accompanying Pommes cocotte, spinach and morels were also good.

With our mains we drank a 2000 Crozes Hermitage Alain Graillot, which showed harsh tannins for the first few sips but gradually opened into a blackberry and oak fest, perfectly suiting the beef.

We both felt dessert was a letdown after what had gone before. All desserts were from the trolley and though what we had, trifle and chocolate and raspberry something, were ok it seemed almost like an afterthought. I think it’s a pander to the traditional brigade, but if you’re going to update the first 2 courses to a modern cuisine why leave desserts stuck in a time warp?

Service was extremely slick and friendly without; the napkin test was passed before Sam had managed to leave the table!

At £35 this reincarnation of The Savoy Grill must be the best value meal in Central London right now and I heartily recommend it.

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I agree with Scott on this, however, I think the lamb was Cornish :wink: Perhaps Basil can tell us what is so special about Cornish lamb?

The desserts were a let down for me, I just felt that with all the effort that had gone into the starters and mains, the puds were a complete cop-out. The only thing missing from the trolley was a Black Forest Gateux!

Bits Mr. F forgot.

Bread - 2 slices each of white, brown and bright red tomato bread, good unsalted butter.

With our trolley dolly desserts we were given 2 tiny cakes each.

We skipped tea, thanks to Simons warning of no fresh mint, but were given some PF's of mini macaroons and slightly salty fudge.

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I am happy and relieved to read positive reviews of the decor at the Grill!

I work for Barbara Barry, the designer, and we were all concerned about inciting the wrath of Londoners by screwing with such a venerable landmark.

We are also responsible for Boxwood. and are currently working on the Savoy front hall, including the LP Bar.

Though I am not directly involved with these projects (I am responsible for product design), I am very interested in people's reactions to the decor.

BTW the food sounds great, as well.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Dinner at the Savoy Grill on Friday. Stifling heat meant we couldn’t be bothered to walk too far looking for somewhere to drink so went to the American Bar. Immediately realised that this wasn’t our sort of place, average age 45, clientele tourists or businessmen. Anyway, had a good martini and a fabulous cocktail I not had before called a Rickey, vodka, soda, lime and syrup. I will order this again if only to do my best Bianca impression “Can I have a Rickeeeyyy please”. Service was shambolic but appeased by plentiful refills of fabulous crisps.

The restaurant on the other hand was the epitome of slick service. We had a very spacious booth near the service area, the room is great, all art deco and twinkling candles. I loved the champagne trolley and the fact there seemed to be one waiter for every person.

We ordered a pleasant enough Chianti and they performed a great ceremony of decanting it over a candle that I thought was a bit over the top for a £42 bottle of wine. (am I wrong?)

Pre amuse of Cod brandade with smoked salmon and Amuse of celeriac veloute with mushrooms had good depth of flavour.

Menu has increased to £40 for 3 courses.

I started with Ballotine of mushroom and foie gras that was tasty but not spectacular. H had a generous portion of sweetbreads that was crisp and delicate.

We shared the Chateaubriand for two. This was a really tasty piece of beef, a wonderful crust and cooked perfectly rare. Served with a small copper pan of pommes cocotte that would have benefited from being slightly crisper. Half a red onion, little discs of celeriac and a sort of onion marmalade also accompanied the beef.

Pre dessert of raspberry yoghurt was a good plate cleanser.

I went for the trifle from the trolley and wasn’t impresses at all. It was really runny which made it difficult to eat. H opted for the coffee soufflé, great marketing “We only have 10 for the whole restaurant sir”. I don’t like coffee but it looked like a fine example of its kind. Eaten with a glass of Reisling and a Chenin Blanc, good but over priced at £9 and £12.50.

Total bill £140, would definitely go again if only for the room and the great service

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I have often said I believe Marcus to be a wonderful chef, but one small thing irks me when he and his uber buddy open a new place.

The price.

The set them very low, upon opening anyway, create a bit of a buzz for their good value and gradually increase the price. I am not talking about needing to increase to meet costs, or an increase in ambition, just a low price as marketing ploy in the first instance.

it is a small thing I grant you.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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I have often said I believe Marcus to be a wonderful chef, but one small thing irks me when he and his uber buddy open a new place.

The price.

The set them very low, upon opening anyway, create a bit of a buzz for their good value and gradually increase the price.  I am not talking about needing to increase to meet costs, or an increase in ambition, just a low price as marketing ploy in the first instance.

it is a small thing I grant you.

To me this is actually one of the least annoying things they do :biggrin:

I have a real bugbear with restaurants charging full whack and then saying " sorry the service/cooking is a bit iffy tonight, everybody's just bedding in" it is like paying full price for previews at the theatre. Some smart places offer a reduced rate in the first few weeks to promote trial and offer a deal while things are settling down

West St is one I can think of.

The only criticism of GR & W in this instance is that they don't tell people that the opening prices will last about about 13 minutes before being hiked. But, give their track record, then people probably expect it

S

Edited by Simon Majumdar (log)
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I have a real bugbear with restaurants charging full whack and then saying " sorry the service/cooking is a bit iffy tonight, everybody's just bedding in"  it is like paying full price for previews at the theatre.  Some smart places offer a reduced rate in the first few weeks to promote trial and offer a deal while things are settling down

Simon,

you make quite a fair point, for those reasons I like to let a place establish themselves.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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The Savoy Grill was by no means full last night but it was a Monday. We had a really nice booth type table and the service was extremely solicitous throughout. I tried to convince my friend that this was because they knew the famous Tony Finch from egullet but she soon replied with "don't bullshit me, they're treating everyone the same" :sad:

Actually when Matthew Fort described the food in The Guardian as "middle of the road", I know what he means. I don't necessarily mind middle of the road and it particularly suited my friend, who is a conservative eater (she ordered her lamb well done :shock: -the EMBARASSMENT. But then again she was born in Penge so what can you expect?)

Amuses, ballotine of foie gras, smoked trout with caviar,canon of lamb Provencale style, roast Anjou pigeon with foie, the desserts (they have dispensed with the dessert trolley)-all were fine and correct. The pigeon was especially flavoursome. There was nothing wrong with the meal at all. But it did lack that zip, that excitement you get in a really top place. It was a bit production liney, lacking a chef's personal touch.

Still it is "only" £40 per head for food which by London standards and given the superb quality of the room, the comfort, the service including a very helpful (female) sommelier, still represents good value for IMO and I would go again.

Matthew Fort sneered that the place was full of middle aged people (how old is Matthew Fort?). And he's right. It was definitely spot the under 40s night last night. But the next table was Alan Coren, so we were mingling with the stars :unsure: and besides, if I want to mix with young people I'll go and queue outside a club in the pissing rain for three hours so that I can be told to fuck off by the doorman :wink:

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Thats the risk with having a number of outlets to manage, you have to come up with food that a brigade can produce with consistancy without an the executive chef there all the time to oversee his recipes and ideas. It's bound to lead to food with a production line feel. Hopefuly "Petrus by Marcus Wareing at The Berekeley" as, God help us, I believe the place is to be called, will be where the chef's personal touch can be felt. If you see what I mean.

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"Petrus by Marcus Wareing at The Berekeley" will be where the chef's personal touch can be felt. If you see what I mean.

Well I see what you mean, Andy, but does Marcus ????

My last visit to Petrus a couple of months ago was significantly disappointing. Do we have any indication how much of his time Marcus will be spending at the Berkeley ? I feel I would want to give it a try, but I have to say that I intend to wait a few months to see what others are saying about it first :hmmm:

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He's in a slightly akward position now really isn't he? If he says, I'll be spending all my time at "Petrus by Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley " (just trips off the old tongue doesn't it?) then will he be accused of abandoning Fleur and The Savoy? If he says, I'll be spreading my time between the 3 ventures (and however many more there might be in the pipeline in the future) will people say, well why the hell should I pay £60.00 a head at Petrus when you're not even there. Damned if he do, damned if he don't. I wonder if that little word "by" has significance in this context, designed by Wareing, not actually cooked by him.

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"Petrus by Marcus Wareing at The Berekeley" will be where the chef's personal touch can be felt. If you see what I mean.

Well I see what you mean, Andy, but does Marcus ????

My last visit to Petrus a couple of months ago was significantly disappointing. Do we have any indication how much of his time Marcus will be spending at the Berkeley ? I feel I would want to give it a try, but I have to say that I intend to wait a few months to see what others are saying about it first :hmmm:

agreed

It was hideously expensive and not that great. The word "perfunctory" came to mind when I thought about the cooking

S

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This issue of whether a chef's past reputation and name are adequate to support a restaurant in his absence has been discussed at length here at eGullet. I have always felt that it is dishonest, but now more importantly I am starting to think that it is the route to commercial failure.

The Savoy seems to be getting "nice place, conveyor belt food" write-ups at eGullet. That is not enough to make me want to eat there. Petrus was a major disappointment last time. That does not encourage me to eat at Fleur or the new Petrus.

So Wareing has tripled his number of restaurants and (at least for now) lost at least one customer (I can't believe I'm alone) which doesn't seem a recipe for commercial success.

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Interesting about Petrus, as the last time we went April-ish it was excellent and by far the best of our visits there, the room is piss poor though.

My understanding is that the restaurant at the Berkeley will be Marcus Wareing's restaurant, where he is aiming to get 2/3 stars etc and he will only do that by cooking there. It was never the intention that he should be at Fleur, and I understand that he is executive type chef thing at the Savoy, as in doing menu, overseeing, choosing staff etc but not actually there, often. I assume he was around a lot at the beginning because the opening was a big event for him and Petrus had closed, with the Berkeley not being ready.

Paul

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Interesting about Petrus, as the last time we went April-ish it was excellent and by far the best of our visits there

We went in early May, I think (about a week before it became Fleur).

It was never the intention that he should be at Fleur, and I understand that he is executive type chef thing at the Savoy, as in doing menu, overseeing, choosing staff etc but not actually there, often.

My guess is Wareing was absent when we were at Petrus, and if the food we had was any indication of what Fleur is now like in his absence, then I won't be going to Fleur. If it was any indication of the sort of food that the staff he trains turn out, then I'm not surprised at the diffident reaction to the food at the Savoy.

My understanding is that the restaurant at the Berkeley will be Marcus Wareing's restaurant, where he is aiming to get 2/3 stars etc and he will only do that by cooking there.

Then what does he think is his contribution to Savoy and Fleur ? If he's working full-time at Petrus (which he will absolutely need to do to get one star, let alone three) how will he be able to "oversee and choose staff" at Savoy or Fleur ? How will he be able to expend time on designing the menu ? And so on and so on.

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