One recent very cold lunchtime a small group of journalists gathered in the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London to embark on a culinary journey around all the fine eating establishments housed within this iconic London hotel.
Our journey began in the recently refurbished and beautiful Park Room which overlooks a busy Park Lane, with a glass of one of my favourite champagnes, Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque and some moorish canapés to set us up for our journey ahead. For those of you with a penchant for Afternoon Tea, the Park Room is best known for serving a fabulous Afternoon Tea, which is so popular that they actually serve over 100 teas a day! They are currently serving their Winter Afternoon Tea, inspired by the 7th Duchess of Bedford, who many say started this oh so British tradition.
As well as serving a classic afternoon tea, The Park Room also mix some wicked classic cocktails, which includes their special signature Yellow Rose Tea.
It was then on with our coats, gloves and scarves for the short walk to the newest kid on the block, Rüya London, which opened its doors to the public last summer, for our starter course. This warm and welcoming Turkish restaurant is the brainchild of restauranteur Umut Ozkanca, who opened the first Rüya in Dubai, where many of the dishes have been brought across to London, to create an enticing and rather unique contemporary menu by Head Chef Colin Clague. This is sophisticated Anatolian cuisine at its best.
The restaurant’s stylish and upmarket interior has been designed by Conran and Partners and features custom-designed Turkish tiling. Rüya can seat 110 people and offers a private dining area as well as a comfortable lounge and chef’s table, which is adjacent to the open kitchen.
As well its superb cuisine, Rüya also has what they call their beverage programme, which is designed to guide guests on a journey of discovery with different flavours from all over the regions of the Anatolian Peninsula.
A selection of four tasty dishes were pre-arranged for us to try. The first one is named Borek, which is filo wrapped feta cheese with carrots, courgettes and walnuts and was delicious. The second dish, Finn Pancar, is made with a roasted baby beetroot salad, goat’s cheese and com bread. The Lamb Manti is an interesting mix of tomato, roasted garlic, yoghurt and thyme. Whilst our final dish, an Aged Kashar Cheese Pide, is topped with a slow-cooked organic egg and a sprinkling of black Perigord truffle and gets my vote as the favourite out of the four.
Somewhat settled, warm and reluctant to go, we bid adieu to our welcoming hosts and once again donned our coats, gloves and scarfs and stepped outside into the freezing cold for the very short walk, well steps really, to the next stop on our culinary journey, the well-established Corrigan’s Mayfair, headed up by well-known Michelin star Irish chef Richard Corrigan. Richard Corrigan and his team have created a menu that features, quite literally, the best from the land and sea. This is an unapologetically quintessential modern British restaurant, and I love it!
As our coats are whisked away, you can’t help noticing the presence of the long bar, which is a popular haunt with regulars in the evenings. But we were not to stay here, but rather ushered to the rear of the restaurant to a warm and traditionally decorated blue private dining room overlooking the chefs hard at work in the busy kitchen. Fortunately, there was a glass panel in between us and the kitchen, so there was no noise or food smells wafting through, but it was rather fun to watch the food being prepared.
As we sipped on a welcome glass of Paul Déthune Grand Cru Champagne, we perused the à la carte menu. Whilst fish was a popular choice with a number of my fellow diners, I chose one of my favourites, venison, which paired beautifully with the 2011 Coto De Imaz Rioja.
Well and truly sated, it was then out into the cold once again for the final stop on our culinary journey, which brought us back into the main hotel for dessert and a dram of whisky at one of my favourite steakhouses, JW Steakhouse London and The Bourbon Bar. This is where they serve their legendary signature JW Steakhouse Cheesecake, which is unbelievably good and extremely popular, so popular in fact that in 2017 they sold 39,572 cheesecakes! Now that’s some doing.
A little mention should be given to The Bourbon Bar, as it stocks arguably the finest selection of Bourbons in London, with over 300 rare, pre-prohibition, single barrel and small batch Bourbons and will be featured in a forthcoming article. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Robbie and Paolo last year and got the opportunity to sample some exquisite whiskies and chat at great length about the history, prohibition and the distillery process. It’s a fun bar to hang out in and Robbie and his team’s knowledge is second to none. Paolo also makes a mean Espresso Martini!
And so our culinary journey had come to a satisfying end. But for those of us who didn’t have to rush off, a warming glass of Single Barrel Jim Beam and some mouth-watering Petits Fours set us up nicely before venturing out into the chilly afternoon air and going on our merry way.
There is no doubt that JW Marriott Grosvenor House London offers an exceptional choice of bars and restaurants coupled with a superb level of service. The hotel recently completed a multi-million pound refurbishment programme which started back in 2012. This investment by Marriott International has seen a complete refurbishment of the hotel’s now 496 rooms and suites, lobby and Park Room, along with the relocation of a brand-new Executive Lounge to the ground floor, to bring this iconic 350-year-old building, which once belonged to the Duke of Grosvenor and was rebuilt as a hotel in 1929, up to 21st Century standards.
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London, 86-90 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 7TN, England.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7499 6363
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of JW Marriott Grosvenor House London, Rüya and by Simon Burrell