I recently won a competition on Instagram which was organised by Bookatable and London Marriott Hotel County Hall for a meal for two at their Gillray’s Steak Restaurant.
The hotel restaurant is located on a prominent site of London South Bank, and the restaurant has some tremendous views of the river and the Palace of Westminster. Needless to say, we were pretty chuffed to win this.
Our table was booked for Saturday at an early evening time of 6 pm. The bar was already buzzing from tourists visiting the area. The dining hall is an elongated room with large, full height windows to maximise the views and a private section towards the rear.
As part of the win, we were offered a three course meal from the Chef’s Hat Menu and a choice from their own brewed Gillray’s beers, as well as a choice of Bellini, Cava or Gin and Tonic. Normally, this set menu is priced at £28 per person (beers not included) so pretty good value considering the location.
For starters we had:
Free-range Chicken & Mushroom Roll – ‘Woodall’s’ Black Combe Ham, Aubergine, Tarragon
Crusted Pan Fried Mackerel – Baby gems, Croutons, Parmesan, Marinated Anchovies, Oyster Dressing
We were initially not too impressed by the sound of the starters. However, it looked and tasted better than how it was described on the menu. My chicken was delicious. From the description, I was expecting something rustic, but the presentation was really elegant and the flavours worked wonderfully together. Kris’s starter had the some fresh leaves and the breaded mackerel was generous, although it could have probably done with a dribble more sauce or dressing.
We both went for the steaks because, in a steak restaurant, that’s what you do. They serve O’Shea’s Steaks – 28 Day Dry Aged beef that comes with Confit Vine Cherry Tomatoes & Triple Cooked Chips. Kris opted for the Rib Eye 200g whilst I had the Rump Steak 300g, both cooked medium rare as per the suggestion of our waitress.
Kris’s steak was good, but mine was dry and definitely cooked more medium than medium rare. The chips, although well-cooked, were under-seasoned. I was surprised that for a steak restaurant their steak was the weakest of all the courses.
Things perked up with the arrival of desserts. I had the Baked Coconut Pie – Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream, which was a real treat. Kris had the Black Cherry Bakewell Tart – White Chocolate Custard. Unfortunately, while the filling and custard tasted great, the pastry was overcooked and quite hard.
Unfortunately, the whole evening was a bit disappointing as to how it was all executed. To begin with, I was asked to email the competition voucher to the FOH when I arrived at the restaurant, even though it was a competition run by the restaurant itself and everything had been confirmed over email in advance. I showed the voucher on my phone but having to email again whilst you are getting settled for an evening meal is a bit inconvenient, especially as mobile reception in the restaurant was not the best. We were kept waiting until they figured things out. A better communication between their Marketing Team who organised the competition and the restaurant staff would have helped things run a lot more smoothly.
In addition, there was no clear communication as to what was included as part of the meal, which led to several awkward conversations with the staff when we ordered. For the record, we just wanted some clear communication and clarification from the staff.
As redemption, our bill was fully taken care of and we were offered a further 20% off voucher for our next meal as an apology.
So, at the end the evening turned out to be a real mixed bag. We were appreciative of the complimentary meal but the whole evening left us feeling awkward and uncomfortable. However, as a three course meal for under £30 in such a prominent tourist location, this is possibly a good deal for when you have visitors to London.
Location : London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB
More information can be found here.