Probably the word ‘fun’ is not top of many lists when describing London’s signature luxury hotel, The Dorchester. This is the 1931-vintage hotel that could be said to have marked a glorious finale to the Art Deco movement – well, after this what else could be done? It WAS gorgeous and it IS gorgeous. It is elegant and thoughtful and, says the gal, it is also oodles of fun.
I was to lunch at The Grill, designed by Thierry Despont, and the first surprise was that all the menu items appear to be composed rather than simple grills. The next surprise was meeting the chef, 26-year old Tom Booton. He is not only charming and a real personality but boy, can he cook. My starter of baby artichoke salad with ‘loaded skin’, empty potato skins filled with the salad and foie gras snow (powder) liberally spooned over, was one of the most delicious dishes I remember in months – as was, to be fair, the follow-up, of pot-roasted cauliflower with black garlic, grapes and hazelnuts.
See Tom Booton, who loves working the floor, above, with the hotel’s Manager, Italian Mirko Cattini (the pair are inspecting a slow-cooked duck). THEY were both having fun and, looking around the nearly-full restaurant, I could see all the other diners were too. It obviously helps that there is a very well-priced weekday lunch menu, £23 for two courses, but that is just one of a myriad of ingredients that make this restaurant work, and which add to the overall perception of this luxury hotel.