London restaurant festival 2014 is here! My first choice for dining had to be The Strand Dining Rooms; a stone’s throw from Trafalgar square, interior modelled on Pullman dining cars, and a menu to die for, it was a no brainer!
The art deco appearance of the place is the first thing that hits us. I’m a huge fan of Agatha Christie so the 1940s luxury train styling made me feel like I was walking in to one of her novels, and I immediately felt at home. We were greeted by friendly staff that showed us to our comfortable booth seats in the dining room and given recommendations for food and drinks.
After a couple of signature cocktails and some warm bread, we made our starter choices; I chose the seafood Scotch egg, served with a brown crab meat sauce. This was such a unique dish and I was blown away by the combination of flavours. The runny yolk of the egg in the middle not only looked incredible but it added an extra sauce to the dish, pulling everything together nicely.
The second starter was a pulled pork shoulder croquette served with salad and apple vinaigrette. The croquette was delicious and filled with excellent quality meat; the apple vinaigrette complemented the dish well and added an extra flavour dimension.
One of the great things about the Strand Dining Rooms is that it doesn’t feel like you’re dining on one of London’s busiest streets, it’s like stepping in to a time portal away from the hustle and bustle of The Strand, only waking up to it when new diners walk through the door.
Up next came the much anticipated mains. The first dish was highly recommended to us by the restaurant manager, and it wasn’t a dish to be refused: Slow cooked Dedham Vale Jacob’s ladder and smoked ox cheeks with caramelised carrots and parsnips with a red wine jus. I’m salivating just thinking about how tender that beef was, it was maybe one of the best beef dishes I have ever tasted – pure beefy bliss and that’s all I can say about it! It has to be tried to be believed.
The second main, again came recommended by the manager; grilled lemon sole with a cockle, smoked bacon and wild mushroom sauce, spinach and sautéed potatoes. I’m not usually a huge fan of fish in restaurants because of all of the tiny bones, but this was filleted at the table for us and it was perfect. The fish was beautifully cooked and the sauce didn’t overpower the fish but complemented it well.
When we ordered dessert, the waitress raved about the baked cheesecake so I had to try it. This was unlike any cheesecake I’ve had in my life – more cake than cream cheese, it was surprisingly light, well flavoured with vanilla and matched perfectly with the sharp raspberry sorbet.
My dining partner went for the rice pudding with milk ice cream, which came with a forest fruit and thyme compote. The rice pudding was served in a cute, individual mason jar, with a tiny espresso cup of the compote on the side. Not just impressive on presentation, it impressed in taste too. The rice pudding was creamy and went well with the compote and ice cream. It must have tasted good as the Mason jar was licked clean!
I really recommend a visit to The Strand Dining Rooms – with the London restaurant festival offer on 2 courses for £24.50 or 3 courses for £29.50, you can’t find a reason not to go!
The Strand Dining Rooms
1-3 Strand, Grand Buildings, London, WC2N 5EJ
London Restaurant Festival – 2 courses & a glass of Prosecco for £24.50 or 3 courses & a glass of Prosecco for £29.50