The Savoy Grill heaves with so much history that you might as well be eating your dinner inside a three part BBC documentary. The legendary central London hotel’s grand, but far from excessively capacious, ground floor dining room is where at various moments throughout the 20th century, you’d find 1) Charlie Chaplin at his regular window-adjacent seat, 2) Noel Coward and Ivor Novello holding court in the middle of the room and 3) Maria Callas going about her affair with the fabulously wealthy Aristotle Onassis in plain view of other diners. Tres chic!
The very essence of immutable, star-studded decadence.
Other guests include, but are not limited to, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor. So many Hollywood greats have sliced into some steak at the Savoy Grill that it is to London what Musso & Frank is to Los Angeles, and what Sardi’s is to New York; the very essence of immutable, star-studded decadence. And while silver screen sirens are now far more likely to be found in the likes of Hakkasan, Nobu or Chiltern Firehouse, the Savoy Grill will never go out of style.
A revamp in the first half of 2023 saw the Grill closed for a number of months, and rather than bringing in an Instagram-friendly millennial redesign, the refresh has seen it slink further into its iconic status. It’s now so extremely low-lit that it’s hard to make out what’s on the menu – and even harder to take a decent snap for social media – but in an age where some restaurants seemingly put more effort into creating a social ‘moment’ than a decent dinner, this is hugely appreciated. Instead, the look is pure 1930s Hollywood; all velvet booths, silk-lined walls and Art Deco opulence. Unobtrusive jazz plays and diners, lured by Gordon Ramsay’s name above the marquee (though you won’t find the man himself in the kitchen, but rather capable exec head chef Michael Turner), are broad and diverse. This is a real treat night food, and on the Friday evening I attend, we spot special anniversaries, 21st birthdays and family outings, all brimming with a sense of occasion and joy. There are a lot of smiles at the Savoy, not least from the charming staff.
Food is a classic with the slightest of twists. The Arnold Bennett omelette – which was invented at the Savoy in honour of the 1920s writer of the same name – was served in souffle form as a starter, light but still boldly creamy and with a decent thud of smoked haddock. Oysters came with a bright pink (at least we think it’s bright pink) rhubarb mignonette and aged Comté gougères showed off a sublime choux.
The main event was a punchy beef wellington, pink (again, we think it’s pink), sizeable and hearty. The kind of solid British cooking that ruddy faced men in tweed into blissed out reveries. Our Savoy Grill eclair is a little stodgy, but all of the above were part of a £110 tasting menu, which makes for pretty decent value in a room this renowned and with service this attentive. If it's good enough for Marilyn Monroe...
The vibe Fancy dining, but with an egalitarian, friendly accent. All are welcome at the Savoy Grill.
The food Classic classy British scran, as well as French cuisine; lobster thermidor, duck a l'orange, and the grill itself sears a selection of steaks, chops and cutlets, from prime British breeds.
The drink A 40-odd page wine list ensures all bases are covered.
Time Out tip The five course Taste of Savoy tasting menu will really fill you up – and then some – and makes for the best value option on a menu where the beef wellington will cost you £65 if ordered alone.