Review: The Savoy Grill

Savoy Grill

Review: The Savoy Grill

The iconic restaurant has undergone a momentous renaissance and has emerged better than ever before

Words by Becky Pomfret

Conjuring up images of film stars, dignitaries and royalty, it’s hard to think of a hotel quite as glamorous as The Savoy. Claude Monet painted views of the Thames from his room there, Churchill was a frequent guest, Frank Sinatra performed in and stayed at the hotel, and Marilyn Monroe was often seen there, too. The hotel’s blend of luxury and history, and a location that is to die for, certainly make it a favoured destination for high-profile guests.

A few weeks ago, I was amongst them, when I chose the Savoy Grill for a long overdue catch up with an old school-friend who I’ve known for an eye-watering number of decades. As we are seated at Marilyn Monroe’s favourite table, Champagne is swiftly ordered – we have a lot to catch up on and plenty to celebrate.

Savoy Grill Elegant and traditional, the dining room (top) retains the famous chandeliers and original table layout

The iconic restaurant was reimagined last year by Gordon Ramsay’s team and reopened its doors in April 2023. Elegance and tradition are ingrained here; nearly everyone you meet with a toe in the London food scene has an anecdote about a memorable meal at the Savoy Grill. Changes have naturally been made, but the historic Swarovski chandeliers, Churchill’s favourite clock, as well as the original layout of the tables have been retained in honour of its long history. Wood furniture, crisp white linen, and immaculately turned-out serving staff all accentuate the history and personality in the dining room.

With executive head chef Arnaud Stevens at the helm – who has worked in a plethora of Michelin kitchens including City Rhodes, La Tante Clare, Lindsay House, and Jardin des Sens, and comes to The Savoy from Royal Opera House – it is no surprise that the menu is elegant yet creative. It has been carefully balanced, preserving the well-loved classic dishes, while bringing in modern twists, using seasonal produce. I’ve done my usual trick and had a good look at the menu online before even getting out of bed this morning, so I know I’ll be eating the famous Beef Wellington,

but there’s the starter to consider first. Tempted as I am by the Arnold Bennett cheese and haddock soufflé, I feel like I need something a little lighter before my heavy main course. Yellowtail crudo it is, served with cucumber and dill – a piece of melt in the mouth heaven.

The fact we experience a rare moment of silence as we tuck into our food proves how much we are enjoying our meals. My beef is served with sides of creamy pomme purée and tenderstem broccoli topped with a red wine jus. Apparently, The Savoy is offering Beef Wellington masterclasses and I vow to book in immediately – if I can make anything even half this good at home my popularity rating will be at an all-time high. When dessert is offered, we insist we cannot eat another thing, then exactly four seconds later find ourselves ordering the exotically named Xoco Mayan red chocolate soufflé, which arrives with a huge spoonful of pistachio ice cream nestling in the middle. Rich and gooey, it is more than enough for two.

Feeling so full we can barely walk, we somehow find the strength to peek into the Wine Experience room, on our way out. It’s a comfortable, golden cellar that can be reserved for a private occasion, and is stacked floor-to-ceiling with fine and rare vintages. Seating eight it is home to more than 800 wines, promising one heck of a lunch! And there are regular events scheduled, too – I rapidly add a return visit to the ‘wine room of dreams’ to my to-do list.