When news reached the Gentleman’s Journal offices that a hotly anticipated new restaurant was opening last week in our favourite London district, our ears pricked up and curiosity was ignited.
This white-hot new spot takes the form of a modern live-fire grill on Old Park Lane, and is a unique collaboration between leading British chefs Richard H. Turner and Colin McSherry.
Gridiron combines Turner’s expertise in open flame cooking and ethical sourcing, with McSherry’s creativity and fine dining craft, honed at kitchens including The Clove Club, The Ledbury, The Fat Duck and Murano. Diners can also taste the delights of a cocktail list by Max and Noel Venning, and a wine list by renowned wine expert Fiona Beckett.
We spoke with this stellar line-up of collaborators to learn all about their inspirations, the ancient art of grilling, and what diners can expect from a night on hot coals.
Cooking up a storm…
“I have had an interest in live fire cooking since I was very young”, says McSherry. “For me it’s a more exciting method of cooking, so when I was given the opportunity to help design the Gridiron kitchen, it was always going to be the centre point.”
And what might diners expect from a menu cooked over a live grill? “I feel that cooking over wood and charcoal gives the product a more unique, interesting depth of flavour, whether that’s fish, meat or vegetables.
Our burnt leek dish for example is proving very popular — it is a simple dish but demonstrates the beauty of cooking directly on the fire.”
With thousands of restaurants across the capital to choose from every night of the week, what makes the concept at Gridiron so special? And why choose to have the grill as a centrepiece to the venue? “I think it stems from the original chef’s’ table, which was historically a private table in the kitchen of the restaurant.
Now, it’s the ‘norm’ for most new restaurants, and I think it brings a sense of theatre and creates an atmosphere for the guests.”
Another thing you can be sure of when you enjoy a meal here, is that your food has been ethically sourced.
McSherry says, “the UK and Ireland have some of the best produce in the world and we work closely with our producers to ensure the best quality is achieved. As British and Irish chefs, we should champion and support our local producers.”
Shaking things up…
What does it take to design a cocktail list that compliments a particularly smokey menu? Cocktail masters Max and Noel Venning explained, “we wanted to create drinks that complimented the food without stealing the show, but could also be drunk and enjoyed independently.
We’ve created a list that we think works well with the style of food coming from the grill, and drinks such as the Apple + Plum work really well with meat dishes.”
Popping a cork…
Fiona Beckett is one of the best respected names in wine, and writes regularly on how best to pair it with food. Did complications arise when trying to contend with the bold, smoky flavours of a grill?
“Not really, of course you don’t want wines which are shrinking violets, but that still leaves plenty of scope for beautiful flavour — plus, many of the dishes on the menu are actually quite subtle in flavour.
Guests can also expect a range of New World wines on offer at Gridiron, and for Beckett they allowed for fuller, more exciting taste. “I think particularly Australian wines are often overlooked these days, but they have a lot to offer in terms of purity and ripeness of fruit.”
“We also have a great sparkling wine called Black Chalk which is English — and we are always keen to try new examples!”
Gridiron Restaurant London
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