Wednesday, 19 February 2014

London Lancaster Hotel // Island Grill

Friday 14th February marked my return to the London Lancaster Hotel - a hotel I have had the pleasure of staying with before as many of our awards nights are hosted there. However this time it was for leisure not work, which made a nice change. This time I stayed in a Double Deluxe room on one of the highest floors of the hotel which made for stunning views of London. For me personally, the best thing about the rooms are the beds. Nice and firm, but at the same time you sink into the bed in the most satisfying of ways. I made a conscious effort not to sit or lie down before dinner, as otherwise I knew there was no way I was leaving that bed!

For the last two years I've stayed at the London Lancaster Hotel with work, and as our awards nights are already catered for, I've never actually had the chance to try out any of their restaurants. They have a Thai restaurant ("Nipa Thai") which looked very ornate and would be the perfect backdrop for a romantic meal. Not a huge fan of Thai food, this swayed me towards the Island Grill. Because "grill" is a magic word. It usually equates to a meat feast which is fine by me. The Island Grill had a far more casual feel than their Thai restaurant. I think it even accepts "walk ins" if you're not a guest at the hotel, as people were constantly streaming through a side door. My only criticism about the restaurant was that it felt very cold. Kudos to the restaurant staff, as they did pull a curtain across the door. However the door was constantly open and closed so it did get a bit draughty. My advice would be to wear something warm if you were to eat here. My little pink dress with three quarter sleeves wasn't the warmest of things to be wearing!


What was great about the Island Grill was the sheer amount of choice. It took us ages to decide and our waiter never once rushed us. An impressive choice of starters, sharing sides for the table like tear 'n' share bread, and plenty of fish and meat options for the main course. There were some vegetarian options but not many. But then if you're veggie, I don't think a "grill" or steakhouse would be your first choice of restaurant for a meal! Despite the chilly feel to the restaurant, there was a lovely atmosphere on Valentine's Day. Red candles, red flowers, balloons, little chocolate hearts in red foil and dimmed lighting.


To start, we had the scallops and pancetta served on a bed of puy lentils:


The scallops were up there as some of the best I'd ever tasted. Cooked to perfection and a great contrast against the crispiness of the pancetta. Our only disappointment was that we only had two scallops each - most other places we've been to have given us three, and as these were sooo good, an extra one would have been nice. I'm not usually a fan of lentils but these were actually really tasty and the sauce was perfect with the frise salad.

For the main course we had the duck served on a bed of wilted spinach with roasted parsnips and beetroot:



Perfection. I thought the scallops were good, but damn. The duck actually had me speechless. Cue big smiles, some silence, a pause... and then a very audible "damn that's good". Cooked medium, the duck had the perfect amount of pinkness. A really generous amount of meat, very tasty, very rich, and I struggled to finish the accompanying frites. To drink, we had a bottle of Argentinian Malbec - one of my favourite wines and the perfect accompaniment for grilled meat.

Their dessert menu was a little disappointing considering it was 14th February so we opted out. Plus we had had more than enough to eat at that stage. So we sat and enjoyed the rest of the wine and went back to the room instead. In the lift back to the fifteen floor we noticed that the London Lancaster Hotel has a Thai themed afternoon tea which may be interesting to try one day.

The London Lancaster does a lovely breakfast, but this time I opted out for a change. One of my favourite places in London for breakfast / brunch is only 4 mins away by train so it seemed silly not to go as we were so nearby. We left the hotel a little later than planned - I just couldn't leave that gorgeous bed - and by the time we got to the café, queues were already snaking out the door and there was a 45 minute wait for a table. Heart breaking. Instead we sauntered further down Oxford Street to one of our favourite places for burgers. First meal of the day... burgers. Does it get any better than that?


The rain put a dampener on our plans for our day in London so instead we went shopping and headed back to watch The Perks of Being a Wallflower. A beautiful film which I ended up enjoying more than the book. On Sunday we made veggie curry, ate enough for about 4 people, and spent most of the day in bed watching films. A bit of a lazy weekend, but absolutely perfect.

What have you been up to lately?

4 comments:

  1. Your meal looks delish, look how much meat you get! I love that you had burgers for breakfast haha xxx

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    1. I could quite happily eat burgers for lunch, breakfast and dinner! :) I do need to find some new burger places in London though x x

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  2. Sounds like you had the perfect weekend, the food looks amazing! I will have to remember the Island Grill next time I am in London! xx

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    Replies
    1. I believe they take walk-ins? Because we booked the table separately to the hotel reservation so think it is dealt with separately? x x

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