What: Located where once was the celebrity hangout Met Bar, in the COMO Metropolitan London on Park Lane (which is also home to Nobu), Gridiron is the hotel’s move to embrace the style of live-fire cooking that is currently sweeping through the capital.
Who: There’s something of an Ocean’s Eleven feel to Gridiron with Hawksmoor executive chef Richard Turner (the George Clooney of the outfit) having put together a crack team of industry pros. These include head chef Colin McSherry, whose impressive CV includes The Fat Duck, Nuala and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal; Bad Sports owner Liam Davy, who runs the front of house operations; Guardian wine critic Fiona Beckett, who has taken care of the wine list; and sommelier Lucy Ward, formerly of Noble Rot, who has created an ‘Under the Counter’ wine offer. If that wasn’t enough, the cocktail list has been put together by Max and Noel Venning of Dalston cocktail bar Three Sheets.
The food: Turner describes the cooking at Gridiron as being gutsy but a bit more refined than dishes at some of the other restaurants he’s involved with (which include Pitt Cue and Blacklock). During a preview meal dishes on show included snacks of grilled duck sausage and crab on toast with lardo (when knew lardo and crab were such great bedfellows?), starters of wood roast scallop with bone marrow XO; and salt and pepper pork ribs; and mains of Isle of Mull dry-aged prime rib; and wood-roasted turbot with chicken salt butter, served with a tomato salad and mashed potato. It’s proper good, too.
The vibe: The restaurant, with its open kitchen that allows guests to watch the chefs toiling over flames, is an improvement on the rebooted Met Bar, which lost some of its swagger after a refurbishment and a change of door policy back in 2011. That said, it has much more of a hotel feel to it than any of Turner’s more moodily fitted out other projects, but that’s probably no bad thing given its postcode and the type of clientele it will want to attract.
And another thing: Diners will be able to order a burger at Gridiron, although it won’t be on the menu. It’s going to be served pink (so don’t tell Westminster Council).