As soon as a friend suggested that we meet for dinner at the Covent Garden Grill we were admittedly very sceptical. It is well known that restaurants in this area mostly cater for tourists, usually overpriced, terrible service and very often tacky in atmosphere. We have had some terrible experiences with restaurants around the area with the exception of Hawksmoor and Dishoom which were both absolutely gorgeous.
With this perception in mind we were pleasantly surprised upon arrival. The restaurant is fairly small but has another floor below which has seating to accommodate those busy times. The bar hosts a wide range of beers and wines which are not usual in typical pubs/restaurants in this Covent Garden (although we did spot a bottle of ‘Echo Falls’ so brownie points deducted).
It was the service that made this place truly special. We had one waitress rather than a mix and match which often cause delays and lack of attention. We were talked through the menu and when we asked about recommendations we were given a knowledgeable and honest opinion of the food that would be served.
We ordered chicken pate and mushroom brochette for starters which was good although rather unadventurous in presentation and the mushroom sauce (which can often make this simple starter a winner) lacked flavour. It was under seasoned and the taste of mushroom did not come through strongly enough.
For the main course we both ordered rump steak with a béarnaise and a garlic butter sauce. The steak was served on horrid wooden boards, that clearly was supposed to be ‘modern grill’ inspired but just was too small to eat off and very awkward. We cheekily asked for another plate and the waitress immediately served us with a warm ceramic plate and said that she totally agreed that they were impractical. The steak itself was cooked perfectly and was really thick yet tender, we ordered chips and vegetables to go with this. The portion of chips were much more stylish in presentation as they were served in mini chip frying trays and really suited the brasserie atmosphere.
Our plates were taken away immediately and we were then asked if the food was ok; which is a style of service we like. It annoys us immensely when waiters ask halfway through a mouthful if the food is good – how embarrassing is it to try and answer politely while chewing on food? If there was an issue surely we would raise this, no.
Anyway we left feeling full and satisfied. The food was much better than we originally thought it would be and although lacking flavour and presentation here and there, it made up for in other areas of the menu. The star of the show was the efficient, friendly and experienced service which is unusual in casual London restaurants especially those based in Covent Garden/Leicester Square area.
For the sheer surprise at the service, quality and price for that area, Covent Garden Garden Grill gets from Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls:
Food Atmosphere Service