Eating local, like a local in London
Adam Handling’s former stomping ground, Caxton Grill, is located in the heart of Westminster, just behind New Scotland Yard. It’s also a hop away from St James’s Park underground station. It’s one of those places we’d planned to visit on several previous trips to London but didn’t quite make it. Now we have, so here’s how we got on…
The Caxton Grill is a modern space with neutral colours, wooden tables and a surprisingly casual atmosphere. There’s also a bar and terrace area for an even more relaxed evening.
We looked over the menus, whilst nibbling rosemary and potato bread, and sourdough with rosemary and sea salt whipped butter. Forgo any bread-free 2017 resolutions you might have right here, both breads and butter were worthy of the carb hit! We also liked the cute butter knives and serving slate.
The restaurant’s executive chef Alexander Boyd has created a menu which features local ingredients, you might be thinking “in London?” but actually, many come from the hotel’s own kitchen garden on the roof, which includes honey from up to 350,000 bees!
To drink we settled on a bottle of Vina Mariola (2014), a Bobal from the Utiel-Requena DO region near Valencia. This was a smooth, medium-bodied and slightly dry red wine.
I started with seared scallops with creamed celeriac, crisp celery, saffron sauce and pomegranate.
It looked really dainty and pretty. These were perfectly cooked scallops surrounded by delicious flavours, both sweet and savoury. Three scallops would have made this even more of a joy to eat!
Mr Foodie felt the winter chill and picked pumpkin soup with baby onions, toasted hazelnuts, dried chestnut sponge and 20-year-old balsamic vinegar. A good-sized portion and there’s something satisfying about toasted nuts.
Since Caxton Grill has a Josper Grill, we decided to share the rib of beef. It was a wise decision.
A huge slab of meat, served with sides of fat chips, tender stem broccoli with almonds and roast red onions and thyme plus a Béarnaise sauce.
Succulent and tender beef, crisp vegetables and fluffy chips worthy of dipping into the Béarnaise sauce. We struggled, but it was a happy struggle!
I was needing something sweet but light to end my meal so chose the St Ermin’s fruit garden. It was beautifully presented and almost too pretty to eat. The dish contained hibiscus and apple jelly, fresh berries, almond cake, blueberry marshmallow and blueberry yogurt ice-cream. Delicate flavours and just the right amount of sweetness to end the meal.
Mr Foodie ordered the chocolate and coffee tart with Creme fraiche panna cotta, hazelnuts and torn sponge. There was lots going on in this plate with pleasant contrasts between crunch and soft, smooth textures. This was very moreish.
A lovely dining experience at Caxton Grill. Friendly and helpful service from a couple of different servers, the vibe was relaxed chatter so no need to worry about feeling out-of-place when you drop that fork! The dishes were well-presented and tasty. Our only gripes were that coming in from the Caxton Grill side entrance it did have a hotel restaurant feel (which I suppose it is!) and no one was at the desk when we entered so there was a bit of a wait (the restaurant is up a set of steps from here, but not sure about disabled access in other parts of the building). They stored our luggage away safely while we ate which was good. The single toilet on the way in was checked and found to be clean and in order. Adam Handling may be away now but Alexander Boyd seems to be more that just a replacement.
+ They have a Josper Grill
+ Very good food
+ Ingredients from roof garden
+ Friendly, adept service
+ Stored luggage for us
+ Clean toilets
+ Handy for the tube
– Feels like a hotel restaurant/no one at desk when we arrived
Caxton Grill, St. Ermin’s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street, London, SW1H 0QW
Tel: 0207 227 7777
Disclaimer: The folks at Caxton Grill invited us along for a complimentary meal. Even though Freddie was 411.8 miles away at the time, his feline sixth sense knows that we are truthful in what we write.
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