GBR is located at the bottom of the sophisticated luxury hotel DUKES London and shares elegant décor and refined furnishings. It’s an intimate space with a bar on one side, a mirrored back wall and windows to the outside on the other. Banquettes line the walls and share light green velvet upholstery with the chairs.
Fresh flowers adorn the black marble-topped tables, the lighting is understated and the music is low. It breathes sophistication.
It also delivers on its title, Great British Restaurant, as ingredients are sourced from the UK and labelled as such – Cumbrian Lamb, Lancashire Pork, Cornish Mackerel, even an English Pecorino Soufflé. Norfolk born Executive Head Chef Nigel Mendham has designed a menu featuring traditional British dishes with a contemporary twist.
Dishes can be either ordered as starters or mains, so I opt for Scorched Cornish Mackerel to begin. Strips of the fish have been lightly charred and there’s spiced Yorkshire rhubarb, crumbs of Yorkshire Fettle cheese and fennel sorbet. The fish has been grilled to perfection and the different accompaniments don’t overwhelm. It’s an impressive dish.
My companion choses the Yorkshire Wagyu Burger as a starter which is almost the size of a main. The meat is sandwiched in a brioche bun with Somerset brie and summer truffle. Ironically, for a British menu, it comes with a side of French fries, as you might expect, and a portion of aioli for dipping. The Wagyu beef is juicy and full of a flavour and it’s a definite hit.
Moving on, I’m staying with fish and get Loin of South Coast Hake, covered in brown shrimps and served on a bed of mash. There’s also a dollop of wild garlic puree to add the necessary zing and the mix of textures works well. My companion is also not budging from meat and orders the 250g Grass Fed Rib Eye Steak. Normally it comes with chips but instead she swaps them for Rainbow Chard, Orange Blossom Honey.
No need to add that the steak is perfectly cooked, slightly pink and tender. We share the vegetables and the chard’s bitterness is nicely countered by the sweetness of the honey. I’ve also ordered a side of Green Beans, Pickled and Crispy Shallots which are sufficiently al-dente with the shallots delivering a satisfying crunch.
So the desserts and there’s a slight misunderstanding as we get three rather than two, no bad thing when they’re as good as this. The GBR Bramley Apple Crumble is a deconstructed version with the crumble scattered round an apple shaped vanilla parfait with apple puree in the centre. There’s also a red apple sorbet and stewed Bramleys on the plate plus a cup of hot custard. It’s not quite what we expected but none the worse for that.
I’ve ordered Dark Chocolate Fondant which arrives in classic shape. The Fondant oozes warm liquid and, surrounding it, is a hazelnut sorbet with whole nuts, orange clusters and salted caramel. No surprises here, just what the doctor ordered.
The third dessert of Yorkshire Rhubarb is a bit of a surprise but we tuck in nevertheless. Two ginger spiced meringues sit either side of a duo of rhubarb sorbet and compote, topped with a dollop of clotted cream. It’s very good and very British, although it has hints of Pavlova which originated in New Zealand.
This has been an excellent meal, gratifying to discover that the ingredients are UK sourced and even better for that. Dining here is elegant and refined without being overtly formal. We’ve enjoyed Chef Nigel Mendham’s slight twist on traditional British dishes and look forward to seeing what he comes up with in the future.
All Day Dining daily from 12:00 – 9:30 pm
36 Little St. James’s Street
London SW1A 1NS
Tel: 020 7491 4840