The Colony Grill Room

The Beaumont Hotel, 8 Balderton Street, London, W1K 6TN, United Kingdom

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The Colony Grill Room is the main restaurant of the 73-room Beaumont Hotel, the first such venture from experienced restaurateurs Corbin & King (of The Delaunay, The Wolseley, Fischers, Zedel and Colbert). The building dates back to 1927 and was originally a full service garage for Selfridges, and more recently an Avis car hire building. Apart from the facade, which is listed, the new building was created entirely from scratch, but the interior design echoes the art deco feel of that period. The exception to this is what appears to be a steel figure crouching on a corner of the roof, and which is in fact a hotel suite created by Antony Gormley. The hotel opened in September 2014.

Unlike the middle European tinge of some of their ventures such as The Delaunay and Fischers, The Colony Grill Room is intended to invoke memories of New York and London of a vague yesteryear. The retro feel extends to the art deco style of the windowless dining room, with much use of dark wood and black and white photos of movie stars on the walls. The dining room can seat around 100 diners at any one time, the tables packed close together with comfortable red banquette seating.

The head chef is Lee Ward, who opened Fischers in June 2014 and The Delaunay in 2011, after working for nine years for an event company called Rhubarb. The menu, featuring dishes such as shrimp cocktail and oysters Rockerfeller, had starters ranging in price from £6.75 to £17.50, main courses from £15.50 to £33 and side dishes from £3.75 to £5.50 (which seemed to me pretty ambitious for a tomato and onion salad). The dining room is open all day.

The wine list featured around 125 labels, ranging in price from £19.75 to £295, with a median price of £59 and an average mark-up of 2.6 times retail price, which is quite fair by London standards. Example bottles included Grüner Veltliner Wachauer Rainer Wess 2013 at £31 for a wine that you can find in the high street for £12, Le Volte 2012 at £54 compared to a shop price of £19, and Two Blondes Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc 2010 at £98 for a bottle that will set you back £40 in a shop. 

Prawn cocktail was a modern interpretation of the dish, with prawns hanging over a bowl in which was a spicy tomato sauce rather than the traditional Marie-Rose sauce. The prawns were cooked a fraction longer than ideal but were fine, and the sauce had a quite lively chilli kick (12/20). A Caesar salad had crisp romaine lettuce, croutons, and a traditional dressing that could perhaps have had a touch more lemon and Worcestershire sauce to my taste (12/20).

Veal Pojarski is a traditional French recipe, using minced veal chops to create a sort of version of the more familiar wiener schnitzel. The breadcrumb coating was crisp and rested on a bed of spinach and a tomato-based sauce with a pleasant hint of paprika, which nicely lifted the flavour of the meat (14/20). This came with good quality thin fries, properly seasoned (14/20). Whole Dover sole was also good, served on the bone and precisely cooked, offered with a well-judged Béarnaise sauce (14/20).

Apple pie was made using Bramley apples that had sufficient tartness to balance the pastry, and the vanilla ice cream on the side had plenty of flavour (14/20). An ice cream sundae had a trio of ice creams, the best of which was a hazelnut ice cream that had a few fresh hazelnuts mixed in - hazelnuts quickly go stale if frozen, so this was a nice touch (13/20). Coffee was a Musetti blend and was fine. 

The bill came to £108 a head, albeit with a bottle of excellent Kientzler Alsace Riesling, and the mildly irritating £2 cover charge that this restaurant group insist on levying. If you shared a bottle of modest wine then a more typical bill per person would be around £85 a head. Service was charming, with careful topping up of drinks and staff that were enthusiastic and helpful. The suave Jeremy King was present in the dining room, overseeing details of his latest creation. As often with Corbin & King restaurants, the overall package of lovely design, appealing menu and excellent service softens the impact of the bill that is actually quite high for the level of food that appears. 

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