In my previous post, Luxury in London; Mini breaks at The Savoy & The Dorchester, I promised to write a short post on some of our favourite dining spots in London. As I am very excited to be heading back to The Savoy in London next weekend (yay!), I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about one of my all time favourite subjects…food! If you’ve been wondering where you can find the perfect steak (or anything else!) in London, in the most luxurious surroundings, read on..
The Wolseley (Piccadilly)
“The Wolseley is an all-day café-restaurant in the grand European tradition on London’s iconic Piccadilly”
Close to the famous Ritz Hotel, on the Green Park side of Piccadilly, the Wolseley is easily recognisable from it’s stunning arched windows and doorways, adorned with intricate black and gold filigree style wrought iron decoration.
The suited doorman with his top hat is as much a part of the Wolseley tradition as the food and wine. He is there to welcome you – come rain, shine or snow – into the warm and comforting embrace of the restaurant. I have been a patron of the Wolseley for around 10 years, and I’m pretty sure some or all of the doormen have been there longer than that!
It’s worth a visit to the Wolseley just to see the interior alone! It is a stunning space, with huge green marble pillars, the iconic black and white tiled floor, with details apparently inspired by Venice, Florence, and some Chinoiserie thrown in for good measure! It all adds up to an elegant and luxurious atmosphere, which whisks you straight back to the Art Deco era of the 1920s and 30s.
Chandeliers hang from impressively high ceilings, with two other dining spaces on mezzanine levels (I’ve never eaten up there, but I must do it one day!)
The polished silver cutlery and crystal glassware sit upon pristine white linen tablecloths, reflecting the glow of the candlelight and chandeliers. As you sip a glass of Jacquesson champagne and peruse the extensive wine list, patrons come and go; the buzz of excited conversation and clinking of glassware ebbs and flows. In the background, waiters deftly clear away and re-set the tables in the blink of an eye. it’s easy to lose track of time in this cosy and refined atmosphere.
And the food? Incredible. Absolutely one of the best steaks in London (I usually have the fillet). It comes with a delicious gem heart salad and perfect French fries. The menu is very extensive, with everything from meat and fish from the grill, to toasted sandwiches and hamburgers. There are French and European influences alongside very traditional English puddings.
My absolute favourite starter at The Wolseley – quail egg croustade – and one of the many delicious Burgundy wines
I always assumed that The Wolseley had been a cafe-restaurant since at least the 1920s – it seems so comfortably ingrained in the fabric of the building. In fact, the location started off life as a pretty fancy car showroom, then a branch of Barclays Bank! You can read the history of the building here
Going to dinner at the Wolseley for me is like coming home. It feels safe and familiar. A place of good food, good conversation, and fine wine. It’s like stepping back in time to an era of elegance and luxury. I can’t recommend it enough! You must try it.
The Savoy Grill (Savoy Hotel)
The Grill has been an iconic part of the Savoy Hotel since 1889 (you can read all about the hotel itself in my previous post). Now a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, it underwent extensive renovation at the same time as the hotel, around 8 years ago. It has retained and perfected the elegant and luxurious Art Deco style, a stunning combination of mirrored columns, walnut panelling and crystal chandeliers.
Over the almost 130 years that the restaurant has been in business, it has hosted countless famous politicians and Hollywood royalty.. Winston Churchill, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra..to name but a few (including the Queen!). And now me. Which to be fair is probably their best claim to fame 😆.
The dining experience at the Savoy Grill is always first class; with very knowledgeable, well dressed waiters, and excellent food and wine. We love the champagne trolley, which seamlessly appears at the table just as you sit down (they have a delicious Ayala, which is one of our favourite Champagne houses).
The steak we have had at The Grill is arguably the best in London (I’m torn between this and the Wolseley!). We have had the Chateaubriand to share twice, and it’s been incredible (pictured above before we tucked in!).
Another thing I like about the Savoy Grill is that almost everyone there gets dressed up for dinner. This seems to be getting more and more rare, even in some of the Michelin restaurants we go to. It really adds to the elegant ambiance when people dress for the special occasion that this restaurant offers. Any excuse to break out a cocktail dress!
Overall, highly recommended for an elegant meal, with a fantastic wine list, and some of the best meat and fish in the city.
Another restaurant we really enjoy, situated inside The Savoy hotel, and again inspired by the decadence of the Art Deco era, best described on the website itself, “cut-glass mirroring and bright brass railings, silver leaf ceiling and checkerboard marble floor frame a central circular bar flanked by Murano glass columns and pendant glass light fittings to crown Kaspar’s theatrical style”
Speaking of Murano glass, if you want to read more about visiting Murano and Venice, I’ve written about it in a previous post Adventures in beautiful Venezia; part due.
When you first walk into Kaspar’s, you may notice a sculpted model of an elegant black cat, with the theme continuing onto the menu design. The story of how Kaspar the cat became the mascot is described on the website here.
The restaurant is predominantly a fish and seafood one, but they have plenty of delicious steaks and other meats from their lava grill, so don’t be put off if fish isn’t your thing. The food is of the expected high standard of the restaurants in the Savoy, with some excellent wines to match.
We have been to Kaspar’s twice; once for dinner, and once for a small private lunch after our wedding. The private room is in a lovely setting, just off the main restaurant, with a beautiful view of the river Thames and Embankment. I would definitely recommend it for a special lunch or small reception. I had the smoked haddock and salmon omelette, which was delicious. All washed down with plenty of Pol Roger Brut Reserve Champagne. I was pretty hungry after all that Marriage business 😀
If you are staying at the Savoy Hotel (lucky you!), breakfast is also served in Kaspar’s, and I would recommend prising yourself out of the ridiculously comfortable beds so as not to miss it! As mornings go, dining on perfectly cooked eggs, bacon and a pot of tea overlooking the Embankment is not too shabby.
Writing this post has definitely given me an appetite for when I return to the Savoy in 2 days 😀. I hope it has given you some inspiration for luxurious dining when you’re in London. You can’t go wrong with any of these three recommendations. I’d be interested to know your favourite!
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