Nestled just off the high-end shops of Sloane Street, you’ll find The Rib Room at the luxurious Jumeriah Carlton Tower. In a fast-changing and sometimes cut-throat London restaurant scene, The Rib Room is somewhat of a rarity, a restaurant that has been going strong for over 50 years. Serving London’s most discerning diners since 1961, The Rib Room offers a classic interpretation of British fine dining, and tonight we were going to find out why this stalwart of the London food scene has kept diners coming back after all these years.
We are greeted at the door with a smile and our jackets are taken. When asked if we would like to take a drink at the bar before our meal, how could we refuse? This is something that restaurants at hotels know how to do well, and The Rib Room is no exception. The same hospitality extended to hotel guests is given to diners and it makes you feel special. As we sit in comfortable cocktail chairs, our waiter talks us through some of The Rib Room’s signature cocktails. I chose the exotic sounding Arabian Sea; a citrus and lychee concoction topped up with champagne, and my dining companion opted for the English country garden, a gin fizz which has a subtle floral twist thanks to the addition of violet liqueur.
As we sip our drinks, taking in the gentle murmur of the bar around us we have time to appreciate our surroundings. The dining room was recently refurbished, and the look is clean and polished, as are the crisp white table cloths. A bold emerald geometric carpet and upholstery with dark wood and bronze finishes ensure it retains its retro charm. The tables are well spaced apart, and the lighting is soft giving you the privacy that’s often so lacking in newer restaurants. As we take our seats, my dining companion is offered a stool to put her handbag on. Little touches like this really highlight the level of thought that goes in to the service at The Rib Room
To start, I opted for the beautifully plated dressed crab. A lime and avocado mayonnaise and cubes of pickled cucumber add zing to the dish without overpowering the delicate seafood.
My friend ordered the foie gras. This unctuous morsel packed a serious punch of flavour having benefited from being pan seared, thin slices of smoked Gressingham duck adding to the richness. Peach purée acted as an unusual but welcome sweet contrast to the dish, with truffled brioche crumbs providing texture.
I couldn’t not try steak at the Rib Room, but never had I been presented with a choice of steak knives by our waitress. This is another nice personalised touch and demonstrates how The Rib Room provides excellent service throughout the meal. My fillet steak was perfectly cooked, the outside proudly bearing the scorch marks from the grill. As my expertly recommended knife glided through to reveal the tender blush inside, I was in meat lover’s heaven. The generous accompanying chips were crisp golden batons concealing a light fluffy centre. Both chips and steak were joyfully dunked in suitably fiery peppercorn sauce.
If red meat isn’t your thing, The Rib Room still has plenty on offer. My friend ordered the slow cooked halibut on a bed of wilted sea vegetables. This generous portion had been given a final buttery bronzing in the pan. Our only reservation was the delicate Sloe gin sauce, we wanted more of it.
The dessert menu is where the Rib Room gets a bit more playful with the traditional, and, as far as I’m concerned, Mr Kipling can keep his cherries as my clementine Bakewell tart with mandarin sorbet was exceedingly good. Inviting glazed segments of the seasonal fruit on top of a moist frangipane and crisp pastry crust was light and not overly sweet.
My friend ordered the baked Alaska, a burnished dome of plum-flavoured marshmallow-like meringue encasing light almond ice cream, sat upon tender poached plums. Caramelised almonds and bijoux mini meringues provided crunch.
We round the evening off with a coffee and some dainty petits fours, although I confess we didn’t have much room left for them.
In a restaurant scene as ever changing as London’s, with trends coming and going, it’s easy to see why The Rib Room has stood the test of time. They serve food you really want to eat, the menu reads as an homage to British restaurant classics, but with the five-star refinement you would expect from Knightsbridge. What’s more they serve it to you very well. From start to finish the service at The Rib Room was thoughtful and attentive, but never fussy. Quality and substance never go out of fashion, so here’s to the next 50 years of The Rib Room.
The Rib Room
Jumeirah Carlton Tower, On Cadogan Place, London, SW1X 9PY