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Reaching new heights at the fabulous Polo Lounge at The Dorchester Rooftop

There has been a bit of clamour recently about the Dorchester Hotel’s new pop-up restaurant, the Polo Lounge and for some the (Tomahawk) steaks are high! Replicating several dishes from the iconic restaurant located within the legendary Beverley Hills Hotel, the ‘pop-up’ in Mayfair is situated on the roof of the hotel offering gorgeous views of Hyde Park and beyond.

Bizarrely, for a restaurant review, most of the reviews seem to focus more on the pricing rather than the food. While the prices are, I agree, somewhat high, it could be argued that you get what you pay for. If you want to eat in the finest five-star hotel in the UK, at an exclusive restaurant that is only there for a limited period, while enjoying the views and especially service that is synonymous with the Dorchester then once has to as they say, ‘pay the piper’.

I also find it ironic that some critics’ focal point is the pricing of a restaurant menu in a week when Jeff Bezos lost his mantle as the ‘world’s richest man’ to Bernard Arnault the chairman of the LVMH group. This to me was one the most incredible events of the last few weeks and singularly demonstrates – correctly or not – that luxury is a commodity that sets its own pricing policies and there are plenty of people – again correctly or not – willing to pay the price. Having said that – people are not easily parted with their money and especially wealthy people. So the food and experience has to match expectations.

And thus, back to our visit to the rooftop.

The pop-up is located on the 9th floor of the hotel and accessed via a dedicated lift. Fortunately for us the evening we had reserved a table turned from a cloudy, dark afternoon into a clear, bright evening with sunshine as is the wont of London weather.

The tables on the roof are sparsely placed and all offer nice views of London – eating al fresco is a real treat especially when it is not accompanied by the hustle of city traffic and noise. An all-female trio played live music as we were ushered to our table.

The restaurant has been a huge success and was completely full, despite this the sporadic placing of the tables and being outdoors made it feel less so.

The menu has a selection of classics that are served at the Polo Lounge in Beverley Hills and other dishes created by the hotel’s in-house chefs.

A glass of champagne in hand we began with the bread basket. A selection of fresh garlic bread, butter brioche and fabulous pretzel bread accompanied with cajun butter and chive cream cheese. It reminded me of one of my favourite things to do in the world which is to sit in a café in Paris with a glass of wine and a baguette and watch the world go by – so this alone could have made my day!

We next had the show-stopping Steak Tartare. The beef and accompaniments are wheeled out on a gueridon and assembled by the chef at the table. The theatre adds to the occasion and the chef obliges with adding/deleting ingredients to suit your taste. This is one of my favourite dishes and despite what you might imagine, very difficult to get just right. I loved it.

We followed this with a trio of crab cakes fried with a crispy texture that balanced the succulent crab filling and was enhanced by a lovely mustard vinaigrette dressing.

Despite eyeing the £135 Dry-aged Tomahawk we opted for the Lobster Risotto on the recommendation of our server who informed us that the steak was a truly generous portion and could feed 2-3 or more!

The risotto was perfect. Al dente with a creamy sauce and juicy lobster pieces that melted in your mouth – this with a side of broccolini is as elegant as fine-dining gets.

After a brief hiatus of enjoying the music, we wondered whether we should peruse the menu for the pudding options having been fully satiated by our previous three courses.

We indulged!

Often I go to restaurants and choose 3-4 starters then skip the entrée and go straight to the pudding. It’s a well-worn strategy that has done me well if not my waistline!

The pastry chefs at the Dorchester are on another level. A fabulous and rich banoffee tart is only outshone by the delicate peanut butter cup chocolate cake. The star of the show, however, is the sublime Strawberry Soufflé – a light and flavourful grand finale that truly is the only way to punctuate an evening of glamour and style and add a little of the pizzazz and Beverley Hills magic.

The Dorchester Rooftop launched in April 2021 to honour The Dorchester’s 90th anniversary, with the Polo Lounge following a series of guest chefs with more to be announced later in the year.

The Polo Lounge at The Dorchester Rooftop launched on Thursday July 1, 2021, and will run through until end of September, open daily from 12pm to 11pm Monday to Saturday, and 12pm to 10:30pm on Sunday. Reservations only and with a minimum spend of £60 per person.


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