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The Savoy Grill Restaurant Review – London

Most people have probably heard of the Savoy Hotel on the Strand in London and equally most are probably aware of the Savoy Grill Restaurant at the hotel. It wasn’t exactly on my radar of places to try when in London as I thought it would be a bit over my budget but I was lucky enough to get a Red Letter Day gift for lunch for 2 with a glass of bubbly for Christmas just gone.

What I wasn’t aware about the Savoy became the first luxury hotel in the whole of Britain when it opened in 1889. Built by Richard D’Oyly Carte next to the Savoy Theatre, which opened in 1881 it was the first hotel to be run completely on electricity. Frequented by many a famous patron over the years since then including serving Prime Ministers such as Winston Churchill who often held lunch meetings at the restaurant, Royal Families and musical royalty with the likes of Jimmi Hendrix, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra.

Savoy Grill Restaurant decor

The hotels first manager also happened to be CÈsar Ritz. Don’t know who he is? Neither did I but he went on to open his own hotel some years later, The Ritz.

With the hotel staying in the family until the passing of the final link in the bloodline who failed to bear any children in 1985 nearly 100 years after opening. The Savoy Hotel has changed hands a couple of times since then but has been under the direction of Fairmont Hotels since 2004. Closing in 2007 for a massive refurbishment originally estimated at around £100m, it finally opened back up in 2010 having passed the £200m mark.

This goes some way in evidencing the elegance and grandiuer art Deco styling of the Grade II listed Savoy Hotel and it’s adjoining restaurants and theatre.

The Food

The Savoy Grill serves mainly French affair with several different menus whether dinning for lunch, a la carte, pre theatre, tasting menu and they’ve even recently launched the Escoffier Signature Dishes menu in homage to the original chef in 1889 Auguste Escoffier.

As I was in receipt of a lunch offer our options were limited to the lunch set menu, which included a choice of starter, main, dessert and glass of champagne priced at £100 with Virgin Experience. What they do is take off the price of the lunch fixed menu and the champagne (at a cost of £90 if you just go direct with the restaurant) then you pay for any extras including service charge of 12.5% of the whole bill, this also happens to include the £90 they’ve already wiped out with the voucher.

Champagne and menu at Savoy Grill Restaurant

We were given the most amazing basked of bread to nibble whilst we pondered over the menu and found it very endearing that a waiter pushed a cart showing off the special of the day like a prized possession to each table. The special on the day, which was a Friday was a sort of seafood wellington containing Salmon instead of the usual beef, scallops and all mater of herbs and seasoning that I would of snapped up had it not had Salmon as I’m really not a fan sadly but the rest of the dish sounded amazing.

The lunch menu did seem pretty limited compared to the other menu’s and not exactly something I would of pictured on a Michelin Star restaurant but then it was probably half the price of the other menu’s and it’s more for the experience I told myself.

 

Starters

As always myself and Mwsh deliberated over who would have what so we could do a sharsies so she went for the smoked ham hock. Not one for soup and because I’ve got a slight obsession with goats cheese of late I opted for the goats curd with beetroot, hazelnut, lemon and dill.

Goats curd and beetroot starter at Savoy Grill Restaurant

As expected my starter didn’t have me clutching at my trouser waist band with the portion size with 4 little goblets of goats curd speared with micro dill stalks, dainty beets and little droplets of beetroot puree.

It tasted ok but I wasn’t bowled over really and didn’t leave me overly impressed. The goats curd wasn’t all that flavoursome and could of done with a bit of seasoning. The beets were just beets, you can’t really go too far wrong cooking them but overall I was hoping for something a bit more tantalising on the taste buds.

Mwsh’s ham hock terrine starter was a bit more generous with a healthy slab of meaty goodness to chomp with crispy bread, pickled carrot and extra hit of protein with the quails egg. A lot better seasoning with the terrine and tanginess of the pickles. This was definitely the better dish of the two.

Mains

With the limited options for mains and not taking a fancy to the special of the day I opted for the pan fried cod, purple sprouting broccoli, coco bean puree and smoked bacon veloute. Pre-empting the micro portions I thought ahead and decided to pad my dish out with dauphinoise potatoes at £6 and cauliflower cheese gratin for £5.50.

Fish main dauphinois potato and cauliflower cheese gratin at Savoy Grill Restaurant-2

This course definitely made up for the average starter. As expected the portion size of fish was fit for a child although cooked perfectly and flaked under the most gentle of pressure from my fork. The veloute added a nice saltiness to the fish from the bacon too. The coco bean puree just added a bit of substance to the small dish but the saving grace was the dauphinoise and gratin.

The dish had a thumbs up anyway but do not make the mistake of not ordering side dishes because you will be heading for the first burger joint on the way home as you’d be famished soon after. Dauphinoise being my favourite potato dish this did not disappoint. Ample portion between two with it being so rich although I think I might of just held it together to fight through and polish it off on my lonesome. The Cauliflower cheese gratin was made with a good powerful cheese and had me licking the spoon after dolloping each portion on our plates. Both came in their roasting dishes, which I thought was a nice touch too.

With only a veggie pasta dish or having to opt for paying a £12 supplement for a steak the only other option left on the lunch menu was the cottage pie for Mwsh with cheddar mash and horseradish. Also being wise the inevitable portions of the main she also topped it up with roast field mushrooms in garlic butter for an additional £4.50.

I was a bit surprised at the portion size of the cottage pie to be fair. Ok it wasn’t massive and wouldn’t of filled me on it’s own but it was bigger than I though. Then again you are paying £30 for it with a starter and dessert.

Taste wise I knew this wouldn’t be your average Whetherspoon popty ping cottage pie being the Savoy and it was deeply rich with the gravy and meat filling with an equally as moreish potato topping. Mwsh isn’t the biggest fan of horseradish but she was left with little option to go for this on the menu with the small selection of mains but it was faint if not at all made out on it’s own against the other flavours of the dish. Lovely garlicky mushrooms, now who doesn’t like those?

Desserts

As had been the feeling for the whole menu, the starter really didn’t get me all that excited considering the venue, history and grandeur of the surroundings. They sounded more like pub grub that Michelin Star lunch menu but I had a dessert in with the fixed menu and I was going to eat one.

Having already opted for one course I didn’t fancy another and the buttermilk yogurt, blueberry jam with oat and seed granola sounded a bit like my breakfast overnight oats so those were out. That left just two options so we both took a stab and one each to compare. I went for the old favourite sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream.

Sticky toffee pudding dessert at Savoy Grill Restaurant-2

Moist, sticky, spongy and moreish sponge topped with healthy slathers of toffee you can’t deny it wasn’t a decadent dish and I wolfed every morsel down but you can have sticky toffee pudding anywhere and I wanted something that would wow me on this occasion.

Being the only option left Mwsh went for the chocolate mouse with polenta shortbread. Rich and chocolaty with nice crisp shortbread. Again it tasted fine just nothing to write home about or put a big massive smile on my face after discovering something new.

We also got the softest most intense chocolate truffle and a meringue after we had finished our 3 courses on the house too.

Chocolate Truffle and meringe at Savoy Grill Restaurant

The Verdict

Apart from my beet and goats curd starter everything oozed flavour and richness but there was nothing in the dish I couldn’t have knocked up at home. You’re paying for the experience of dinning in such an historic hotel in a stones throw from Trafalgar Square.

Ok it is a lunch menu and it is cheaper than the a la carte but don’t be fooled by the original price of the set menu if you’ve had it as a gift. We had the 3 courses and glass of champagne at a cost of £100 but going direct with the restaurant you would have saved £10 costing £90 instead.

That champagne isn’t going to last you 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours so you’re going to order a bottle of something else too. We opted for a Marlborough Sauv Blanc around £43 and the enthusiasm of the waiters that won’t sit long in the ice bucket before they keep topping up the glass. We opted for 3 sides, which I’d thoroughly recommend because what comes with the menu will not fill you up unless you stock up on bread at the start and the waiter was happy enough to ask us if we required more after the first basket. We had a 2nd and they would of given us a third but we kindly declined. It was a bloody good selection of bread mind.

Savoy Grill lunch menu bill

So the sides added another £16 to the bill making it about £60 on top so far and then when you get the bill don’t be surprised to have 12.5% of the whole bill added to the cost of the gift voucher. So what started as a gift voucher for a free 3 courses and glass of champagne came to a total of £167, subtract the voucher value of £90 and we had to stump up nearly £80 extra. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty expensive lunch.

So would I recommend the Savoy Grill? Just to say you’ve tried the first luxury hotel in Britain’s restaurant and the chance to sample a restaurant under the guidance of love or hate him Gordon Ramsey then yes I would. I can’t see me rushing back for lunch there but I’m glad I tried it and would say the same to anyone else thinking about it but just bear in mind of the extra or other hidden costs you might encounter if you see a 3 course lunch for £30 that’s all.

The lunch will set you back £30 direct and the glass of bubbly was about £15 making it £45 each but we had it for £100 for two with Virgin Experience. Even though it’s £10 more than direct it does make a good present for a foodie lover as it lasts between 6-12 months and can be booked as and when they wish to dine there. I had mine for Christmas but waited till just after my birthday in May so they can keep it for a more suitable time rather than just booking the restaurant and offering to pay.

The dishes although most of them full of flavour I think they could come up with a few new and more exciting dishes if I’m being honest.

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Flavourly discount code for gourmet food box and craft ale subscription

I’ve been on a mission the past week signing up for every subscription service in existence i think! It’s probably something to do with my browsing history but i’ve been having a fair few deals popping up on my Facebook and one that stood out for me was the flavourly gourmet food box. Flavourly is like a giant graze box although you don’t have to worry about it being too healthy as there’s a few naughty things in there if you’re not counting your calories like me.

I’m a sucker for a bargain and good discount and the thing that caught my eye was the more than half price discount of the Flavourly box from the link on Facebook giving you £10 off the normal price of £17.

In the Flavourly box you’re promised 10-15 gourmet goodies from some well known favourites to upcoming and eager to break through food and confectionary producers from around the UK. You can either just get a random box delivered to your door or you can customise your box by doing a short quiz to let them know some of your preferences on the type of foods and cuisine you enjoy most and those you don’t.

My discounted Flavourly gourmet food box arrived at home yesterday and thank god my sister is on school half term to answer the door to the postie as I was dying to see what was inside and didn’t fancy taking a few hours off work to pick it up at my local post office, which is so local its over 10 MILES AWAY!!

flavourly-discount-gourmet-food-hamper-subscription

In my first Flavourly Gourmet Food Hamper I had:

  • Salted Caramel Popcorn
  • Rosemary and thyme pitta chips
  • Coconut sugar
  • Bakarwadi bites
  • Umami spiced garlic paste
  • Oregano infused rapeseed oil
  • Cook’s companion seasoning blend
  • Thai red curry spice mix, oil and paste
  • Superfusions berry mix
  • Janis quality mixture savoury snacks
  • Willie’s Cacao El Blanco chocolate

I’d estimate the box contents cost around £20 without delivery whereas I paid £7 instead of the normal £17 with the Flavourly discounted first box and £4 for delivery totalling £11. So yo are probably getting your money’s worth with the full priced box compared to some hampers that are quite expensive and you just normally end up paying for the packaging and box.

The good thing about these Flavourly boxes is they hunt down some great suppliers and producers that you won’t find in your supermarket as some are just starting out or might only be selling them at their local deli and food markets but that could be the other end of the country so it’s a good way of stumbling on some right nuggets that you would’t have come across otherwise.

If you’re thinking of testing out the Flavourly Gourmet Food Hamper but not sure on the £17+pp then get a £10 discount on your first box here.

Once you’ve signed up you can also keep getting discounts on your future orders by recommending friends and family with them also getting £10 off their first box but you also get £5 credit towards your next box. Who knows if you’ve got enough friends who don’t like eating bland crap like most people and you can tempt them to join up you might never have to buy another box yourself with the flavourly discount referral theme.

Want something to wash down you’re freshly delivery culinary delights? Flavourly also do a subscription craft ale delivery box too. You can get a mixture of boxes from all white for your pale ales and beers, all dark for your richer drinks and stouts or a mixed box to sample and pair with your snacks. You can also get a £10 discount on your first flavourly craft ale box paying just £10 instead of £20 and they even throw an extra two bar snacks to soak up the hopey nectar.



The best cheese toastie quest continues with 3 onion combo

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So it’s been a few years since I heard about Kappacasein’s in Borough Market after trying to track down the guy who made my hangover cure cheese toastie in Bermondsey Square Market after a wedding the day before although I could of actually sampled his as it’s a stones throw away from Borough Market and from what I could see from the mix he put in it was similar to Kappacasein’s 3 cheese, 3 onion and garlic mix and i wasn’t aware of the guy or the name of the stall that served me at the time as I was nearly conscious until the cheese crisp coated sourdough was handed over to me and sent smell bombs to my nose (good ones!).

I thought I’d have my own go at Kappacasein’s version apart from one or two bit’s as I couldn’t be bothered to spend too much for just one sandwich as the bread alone cost me £2.20 for 5 slices and they didn’t have any Montgomery or Ogleshield Cheddar in Waitress so I had to settle for Keens Cheddar and I had an impending date that afternoon so didn’t fancy my chances with garlic for breakfast neither was it going to do anything for my stinking hangover from a good 12 hour sesh at Curfew’s inaugural first secret garden party event the day before in Pontypridd.

So my version was to use Pan Pugliese bread buttered on one side and left to toast on my teppanyaki grill, whilst i assembled the mix of white onion, red onion, leek and keens cheddar in a bowl ready to add onto the freshly toasted buttery bread when i turned it over not before buttering the other side. add a generous amount of the filling, i didn’t put enough to start as it wasn’t oozing out and crisping up onto the grill to my liking like i remember so i had to keep adding more plus i didn’t have a decent sandwich press like they used in Bermondsey Square Market but i would painstakingly and with ease not to lose a morsel on the flip over to make sure each side was golden with toasted buttery bread and an even melt through the middle with just the right amount of gooage spitting out from the sides of the sandwich.

Once done to your liking which took me about 15 minutes of turning on the teppanyaki grill so that it didn’t burn too much and because I needed that cheese burning the inside of my gums right now! Everyone knows that it doesn’t taste the same exactly like a pizza if you don’t annihilate the inside of your mouth and gums with molten cheese it’s such a pleasure and pain experience you can’t deny yourself of.

You may need a kitchen towel or if you’re posh and have serviettes hanging around in the kitchen by all means use those to stop your fingers blistering from the hot magma laden cheese and savagely toasted bread and attack at your peril!