The brainchild of chefs Richard H Turner (Hawksmoor and Pitt Cue) and Colin McSherry (The Fat Duck, The Ledbury, Murano), Gridiron opened last October on the former site of The Met Bar at Como on Old Park Lane. A unique marriage of Turner’s expertise cooking on an open flame and McSherry’s fine-dining creativity, the menu is wholesome and tempting, the decor is contemporary and sleek with antique touches, and the atmosphere is relaxed. The all-star talent behind this restaurant also includes cocktail aficionados Max and Noel Venning (of Dalston’s The Three Sheets) and wine expert Fiona Beckett, who have created a mouth-watering selection of unique beverages to pair with Turner and McSherry’s sublime offerings.
Brummell visited on a Saturday night and the lights at Gridiron were low, creating a deliciously warm and inviting ambiance. A modern brasserie-style space, this Macaulay Sinclair-designed dining room is all soft leather, dark wood and marble with dark-green banquets running along the length of the room and antique food sketches lining the walls. The focal point is the long marble counter-top dining area and open kitchen where diners can enjoy the theatre of the open flame and witness the creativity and finesse that completes each dish.
Divided into meat, fish and vegetables, with snacks and starters, mains and desserts, the menu is varied and tempting, especially with the smoky wafts permeating from the open kitchen. We started with an oyster with mignonette, light crispy fried scampi with moreish jalapeño tartare and enchantingly buttery burnt leek with hazelnut aillade and brown butter. For mains, we ordered the light and umami tempura monkfish with a side of cavolo nero and Roscoff onion fondants to share. It’s hard to overlook the chops and steaks on the menu, given the orange flames flashing from the kitchen, so we also opted for the Highland sirloin on the bone accompanied by a side of beef dripping gallette potatoes. Turner may be known for his work with the open flame but nothing prepared us for how delicious this particular dish would be, with its buttery, crispy outer edges and delicately succulent meat. Brummell‘s companion described it as, ‘the best experience of eating meat I have ever had. I didn’t want it to end’. But end it did. Luckily our desserts of light chocolate mousse with blackberries and verdamanda, and a refreshing honey tart rounded off our near-perfect meal beautifully.
One thing that makes Gridiron so captivating is the quality of the aforementioned all-star collaboration. Fiona Beckett’s wine list of new-world flavours alongside European classics is generous and appealing, while Max and Noel Venning’s cocktails are both inventive and familiar, providing a delicious twist to classic flavours. There’s a Harvey Wallbanger with green tea and mandarin, a sinus-clearing pickled martini and (our favourite) a White Russian – made with coffee, miso and clear milk – which managed to be both creamy and refreshing.
Three-course meal for two, including wine and cocktails, £150.
Combining the expertise of top chefs, sommeliers and mixologists – alongside fun, friendly, knowledgeable staff – has paid off for Gridiron. If you’re following the trend of keeping meat for a weekly treat, then Turner’s steaks and chops are just the ticket.
19 Old Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1LB; gridironlondon.com