Over the years, I’ve visited Gillray’s on several occasions and they’ve always stood out as one of the venerable institutions in London where steak lovers would go for their dose of high-quality meats. I visited recently to see if anything has changed in the Gillray’s experience. I happen to have visited with the same friend I invited to the restaurant more than 10 years ago and it was interesting to compare notes.
Firstly, there were a lot fewer business diners as you would expect in the post-pandemic environment and the atmosphere was more relaxed with families visiting the restaurant and tourists from other parts of the country. The lighting was significantly brighter than before, although you can see enjoy the scenic views of the iconic London Eye close-up.
The menu is helpfully divided up into sections like “For the Peckish” and “For the Ravenous” to help you pick just the right amount of food to satisfy those hunger pangs. High on the list of starters to try is the utterly divine, Yorkie Sliders. Despite the word sliders, this is not a hefty starter and the addictively appetising Deano’s bacon jam served on top of melt-in-your-mouth pulled beef ribs, along with ‘Lyburn’ smoked cheddar makes this one of the most popular dishes on their menu. My guest wanted to balance his meat intake with a healthy dose of vegetables hence why he ordered the marmite Caesar wedge salad. The execution is pretty much like the classic creation but served with marinated anchovies to give it that added punch of umami richness.
Now moving onto the main act with the steak: whilst they don’t give you an option to choose the provenance, they do have some heftier options like the Tomahawk (800g) and Gillray’s Bull’s Head (1kg prime rib). My friend is always up for an audacious challenge and ordered the Tomahawk whilst I was more on the conservative side and opted for the 250g sirloin. You’ll find the steaks here have more of a classic feel. You have more of a bite to the steak than say the more-recently popular A5 wagyu. The steaks are dry-aged so they have an intense, deep flavour that develops with every bite. They have all the quintessential sauces and sides to keep your most demanding steak traditionalist happy.
As much as their signature sticky toffee pudding appeals, which is served with dreamy butterscotch sauce and Dorset clotted cream ice cream, you would probably have had to skip lunch to facilitate a 3-course dinner here given how generously portioned some of their steak offerings are. Thankfully there’s no pretentions at Gillray’s and they will happily provide a takeaway box for any unfinished steaks, so you can enjoy them further at home, maybe for a steak sandwich lunch?
If you are looking for a digestif post-meal, then head to their adjacent gin bar. With over 100 gins on offer, this is the gin palace, that will impress the most tricky of gin connoisseurs. Most impressive is the fact, they have their own, bespoke Gillray’s gin made in collaboration with Rebel Distillers. It has a warming, sweet hint of liquorice that pairs particularly well with steak. Their house version of a grapefruit gin and tonic did help to settle my pleasantly full stomach with very little bitterness in the aftertaste.
Gillray’s has firmly established itself as an institution for steak lovers to make their regular pilgrimage to satisfy their meat cravings and now with an even more relaxed atmosphere, there’s no better time to visit.
Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar: a must-visit institution for steak lovers