Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Guinea Grill

As you walk through the doors of the dining room, escorted by the finest of English waiters from yesteryear, you pass at the entrance an enticing glass case filled with gargantuan prawns and beautiful salmon fillets, behind which the chef is grilling thick juicy steaks. But don’t be fooled, despite this tremendous choice of fine surf and turf, there is only one thing that you can order on your first trip (or 10 trips, or maybe ever) to the Guinea Grill – one of their famous steak pies.

I sat down with my friends in this classic oak-paneled dining room and when asked for our order it was 7 steak and mushroom pies, and 1 steak and kidney pie. Simple. Of course this is not your average ‘pie and a pint’ type of place – all tables in this small dining room reserved in advance by well-to-do business men from the boutique investment firms of neighboring Berkeley Square. The pies are a hefty £12.50, and a minimum food spend of £17.50 per person requires you to at least supplement those pies with some of the side dishes. We all made it out of there for £28 per person, steep, but worth every penny.

The pies are the best you’ll ever have, and have won many awards including pie of the century which just sounds awesome. They come in a glass dish (not sealed in a pastry), with a seasoned and toasted bready crust on top. The large chunks of beef taste like they have been slow roasted for days, while still retaining some pinkness, flaking with a fork, and practically melting in your mouth. The sauce is incredibly thick and rich, with a fullness undoubtedly from a hefty pour of red wine.

The sides are also good, but more just to get some greens with the massive helping of meat. I recommend the potatoes dauphinoise (cheesy and decadent) and the creamed spinach.

The service is old school English, from the hotel-like usher at the door, to the side dishes individually spooned onto all of the plates, the selection of mustards offered with the pie (I recommend the brown grainy one), and the funny gelatinous sweets offered with coffee.

And while most patrons will be sipping fine Bordeaux wines, this is actually a Young’s Pub, so you can wash the pie down with a fitting pint of Young’s Special Bitter (or two).

A treat in more ways than one, this place is an absolute must if you are in London for a Friday lunch.

Category: Dining
Expectation: Best steak pie in the world
Satisfaction: 5 out of 5

Category: Drinking
Expectation: Beer
Satisfaction: 4 out of 5
- Youngs ales, plus some lagers. Small bar, but nice alleyway outside in front for pints after work on a summer evening. Good wine selection in the dining room.

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