If you’re ever looking for a restaurant with a view, then look no further than Gillray’s Steakhouse, perfectly situated on the banks of the River Thames with spectacular views of the London Eye, Houses of Parliament & Big Ben. Having battled our way through the crowds of tourists that flock towards the many London attractions in the area, it was a welcoming calm oasis to escape and spend our Saturday afternoon.
It is located in one of London’s most impressive buildings, the former London council at County Hall, which has had a colourful past since it was officially opened in 1922 by King George V and Queen Mary. From being struck by a bomb in World War II to the infamous political battles between Ken Livingstone of the Greater London Council and Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government during the 1980’s, the County Hall has truly been stamped by history.
Today, the restaurant and bar reflect the political history of the County Hall’s past, and the intelligence, style and humour of the English personality, James Gillray; a famed caricaturist of the late 18th century. The long oak-panelled corridor felt like a bit of a maze before we eventually arrived at the restaurant, smartly furnished with upholstered leather sofas, the warm ambience enhanced by the natural light that flooded through the large windows.
Their menu features seasonal produce, the majority locally sourced from within 150 miles of the restaurant, using Kent and Essex based farms.
In place of bread, we were served Yorkshire puddings with a cheese-filled centre to whet our appetites whilst we waited for our starters to arrive.
Our starters included the Crispy ‘Clarence Court’ Burford Brown Egg, coated in a golden breadcrumb shell with a vibrant and slightly runny yolk. This was topped with a crunchy Woodall’s pancetta crisp, and accompanied by warm asparagus spears, diced tomato and hollandaise sauce.
Salads are always a great summer option, and I enjoyed the Hot Smoked Salmon Salad that was served with baby potatoes, young spinach, avocado, and lightly mixed together with Tiptree grain mustard dressing.
I had my eye on their selection of 28 Day Dry Aged Aberdeen Angus, sourced via O’Shea’s that is known for bespoke butchering and ageing, where all their free range, organic beef is carefully hand selected from some of Britons Finest Farms.
I went for the lean cut which is a firm favourite for many: the Fillet Tail, medium rare as I usually like it, with peppercorn sauce to accompany it. The meat was tender and had a butter-like texture and subtle flavour, served with a rich bone marrow & confit vine cherry tomatoes. The steak menu is definitely guaranteed to entice the meat lovers out there, with a selection of different cuts, including a 1kg bulls head (!), and Gillray’s Meat Feast for those who want to go all out.
There were also some non-meat options – we tried the fish of that day which was the Whole Baked Plaice, beautifully cooked and coated in light golden breadcrumbs, complimented by a lemon & lilliput caper butter.
Anything with truffle always catches my eye, so I obviously went for the cauliflower & truffle bake, and some tenderstem broccoli as our sides.
Desserts were equally as satisfying: the chocolate & hazelnut bar with salted caramel ice cream is every sweettooths’ dream, and the lime posset with cracked black pepper cream had a lovely smooth texture, with a butter shortbread on the side.
Our experience was relaxed and enjoyable and I am tempted to return try out their Gin & Tonic afternoon tea at The Library, and visit their impressive bar which serves classic and contemporary cocktails and is particularly famous for its extensive selection of 100+ gins. Still deciding on where to head to this Bank Holiday weekend? Well here you go …
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Until then, have a great weekend!
- I was a guest at Gillray’s Steakhouse, but all photos and views remain my own.