Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar

City Connect’s Girl About Town, Alexandra Abrahams, reviews one of her favourite hotspots in London – Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar.

Having worked in the drinks industry for the past few years I am in the privileged position of not only sampling the fine cocktails but also the fine food!

There is a real Gin trend at the moment. I have already written about gin and the history. It seems to be returning back to London with a vengeance!  From London based distilleries  where gin is produced to larger brands, gin is definitely back in!

One of my favourite bars and restaurants in London is the newly renovated Gillrays Steak House and Bar at the Marriott County Hall Hotel. It is the bar which has over 60 different gins from London Dry Gins to Genever to Plymouth. All the gins probably taste the same to us all but in fact possess their own characteristics. A true London dry gin must contain juniper for it to be classed as such and possess an ABV of at least 37.5%, and all the ingredients have to be present at the time of distillation.

It is this sort of background a geek like me and even my non cocktail aficionado friends like to hear about and Gillrays is no exception. As soon as you enter the grand interiors you are transported back in time.  You probably all know the Marriott County Hall within close proximity to the London Eye but many are unaware it is actually there as it used to house the Saatchi exhibition.

It is now called Gillrays after the 18th-century social and political caricaturist James Gillray. Reproductions of his characters appear on decorative panels and the titles of some of his classic images are used as names for cocktails such as Fashionable Contrasts containing a combination of Chase Marmalade vodka shaken with freshly squeezed cranberry juice, sugar and soda water (£14), and The Morning after Marriage (Hayman’s gin with Asaam tea tincture, shaken with Morgan’s spiced.  We had a lovely description of all the gins by Carlos the Bar Manager who knew everything there is to know about gins/spirits and had just hosted a master class in gin making.  Cocktail master classes also seem to be the latest trend – and I shall be visiting a Bombay Sapphire one this week so will report back.

Alongside our English gins and cocktails we tried some of the English starters including yorkies which were delicious melt on the mouth mini Yorkshire puddings with brown gravy, pigs in blankets, scotch eggs, thick cut chips and marvellous views across the Thames. A good place for a date as it is intimate without being too cosy: it’s also comfortable and chic.   There is a lovely ambiance and buzz about the place: you get the feeling it is new but also well established and friendly staff throughout.

I shared a steak with my companion.  The steaks in question include Rib eye (260g) and D Rump (300g), prices for Rib Eye are £28 which is quite normal. You do have to factor in the side plates such as the Heritage chips at £4 each and the creamed spinach or carrots but these portions are not particularly small and will certainly feed the nearby MPs at the Houses of Parliament!

Desserts are delicious and include Sherry Trifle in a jam pot at £9.50 which is that large you have to take home with you.

I would highly recommend this restaurant/bar for a drink post work, for dates, with family and even after a spot of sightseeing by the South Bank.

Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar
London Marriott Hotel County Hall
London County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road
London
SE1 7PB
020 7902 8000

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About Alexandra Abrahams

Alexandra Abrahams originally worked at the BBC and has since gained a wide range of experience from a plethora of jobs. Her time as a Dating Consultant for a matchmaking agency led her to start writing a book entitled “Secret Diary of a Matchmaker”. Being blessed with a Mariella Frostrup voice, she also does voiceovers including corporate work for IBM, Body Shop and Gillette. Alex now works as a Brand Ambassador for a premium spirits company. The vacancy was advertised as the Best Job in the World. This international role sees her working closely with luxury hotels, bars and private members clubs. Alex also arranges exclusive events and parties where she charms all in sight with her schmoozing skills. Alex describes herself as a proper “Girl about Town” and will attend any new party all in the name of research!

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