Kerridge’s Bar and Grill opened in the Corinthia Hotel in September 2018 seating 90 guests. The room, in the space that used to house the disappointing Massimo, has burgundy coloured banquettes, with a quite high ceiling that is now painted green. Tom Kerridge’s sculptor wife Beth made a pair of large bronze statues that are in the room, and a rotisserie is visible in one corner. The head chef is Nick Beardshaw, who trained at The Castle in Taunton and Midsummer House in Cambridge before joining The Hand and Flowers in 2010 and then moving to its sister restaurant The Coach.
Pricing was ambitious. Starters were £9.50 - £16.50 except for the Lobster Thermidor glazed omelette at £29.50. Main courses were £31 - £36 but mostly over £30, and side dishes a further £5. Desserts were £11.50 and cheese £15. There were lunch and pre-theatre set menus at £29.50 for three courses.
The wine list was lengthy and spanned the globe. Sample references were Gaia Nemea Notios white 2017 at £46 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £12, Pyramid Valley Vineyards Rose Vineyard Riesling 2014 at £69 compared to its retail price of £25, and the excellent Chateau Montus Pacherenc Sec 2012 at £80 for a wine that will set you back £29 in the high street. For those with the means there was plenty of choice too, with Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre 2012 at £350 compared to its retail price of £137, and Chateau Latour 2005 at £1,200 for a wine whose current market value is £744.One tip is to try the Spanish dessert wine Barbara Fores Vi Dolc Natural Terra Alta, which was £60 for 500ml compared to its retail price of £34, and was excellent.
A cheese and onion tart appeared as an amuse-bouche. The pastry was quite delicate and the flavours worked well (14/20). Bread was from a bakery called Combeshead in Cornwall; the sourdough was reasonable, though not as good as can be found at some bakeries in London these days. Crab vol-au-vent (£16.50) came with avocado, green apple and crab bisque. The vol-au-vent was quite delicate, the crab tasting fresh, though some more acidity from the apple would have improved this for me (14/20). Lobster thermidor (£29.50) is a classic dish invented by Auguste Escoffier around 1880 that rarely appears on menus these days. Milk, butter and flour is made into a quite thick, creamy white sauce, into which shallots and pieces of lobster meat are added. This is completed with peppercorns and mustard, tarragon, chives and grated Gruyere cheese, along with lobster meat, and finished under a grill. The glazed omelette version here worked well, the lobster tender, the sauce being of suitably thick consistency. This was a rich, pleasing dish (15/20).
Brill and chips was an up-market take on fish and chips. The initial press release made much of this being turbot and chips, but apparently brill has been used since the launch. The £32.50 price tag for the brill would presumably have been even higher with turbot. This was a nice enough dish, though the batter was not of the lightness that you would find in a tempura restaurant in Japan. However the brill was nicely cooked and the triple cooked chips were fine. On the side was tartare sauce, pease pudding and also “Matson” sauce, the name referring to a place in Gloucestershire where Mr Kerridge grew up, and essentially is a slightly sweet curry sauce. The condiments were fine. Overall this was very nice, but for me not a patch on the fish and chips at The Scran and Scallie, which had better batter and condiments (14/20).
Quail (£29) was cooked on the rotisserie and served with boudin blanc, wild mushrooms and squash royale. This was pleasant enough, the bird cooked medium rare, though as a big fan of quail I couldn’t get overly excited about the flavour of this one (13/20). On the side, hispi cabbage with garlic was also cooked on the rotisserie. I love cabbage but this seemed quite one-dimensional in flavour despite the herb mayonaisse slathered over it (13/20).
Unfortunately things took a dive when it came to dessert. Apple tartlet looked pretty, topped with Bramley apple sorbet. However the layer of Granny Smith apples lacked enough acidity, and I am puzzled as to why these fairly tasteless French apples would be used right at the peak of the English apple season. Something like Cox’s Orange pippin would have been sharp enough and have more flavour (12/20). If the tart was a bit disappointing, the crème brulee was a real problem. The top was blowtorched very hard so that it was almost black in places, but the crème brulee underneath was not even close to being set, so was just liquid. If there was vanilla present, and it looked as if there should be from the visible black dots, then its flavour did not come through at all. It was a poorly made dish and we both just tried a couple of bites before giving up (barely 10/20) though to be fair they took this off the bill without us asking.
Coffee was a Guatemalan coffee from a Nespresso pod and was pretty ordinary. Service was good, the dishes arriving at a steady pace, and the staff were friendly. The bill, sharing a decent though hardly high-end bottle of wine and a dessert wine, came to £152 per person, and this was the nub of the issue for me. We were eating, the dubious desserts aside, very capably cooked pub food, but the bill was something that you might expect in a much higher end restaurant. Even if you ordered cheaper wine then the prices are high, and you would do well to get away with £100 for three courses, coffee, water and a modest bottle of wine between you. This is simply an awful lot of money for food of this quality.