The same restaurant that was once known for serving “the finest meal in the British Isles,” according to a 1972 New York Times review, The Connaught Grill in Mayfair reopens its doors, after being closed for 20 years.
Located within the Connaught Hotel, The Connaught Grill showcases the architectural work of John Heah, woodwork of George Nakishima Woodworkers through his daughter Mira, and culinary arts of Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
A discreet rosewood-clad corridor leads guests to the room. Custom cabinets line the corridor walls displaying one-of-a-kind vintages of wines and champagnes from Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée Conti to Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Francaises – drawn from The Connaught’s extensive wine cellar, and works of art by design masters Louise Bourgeois, Idris Khan and Le Corbusier line the length of the entrance.
The restaurant is adorned with wooden panels and furniture, crafted in Pennsylvania by George Nakishima Woodworkers. In London, Nakishima’s daughter Mira Nakishima oversaw the assembly of the handcrafted work. All of the booths, tables, and chairs model the American black walnut wood in all its glory — blemishes, cracks, and imperfections welcomed, making for an authentic and historical, yet luxurious, atmosphere. The wood perfectly encompasses a spirit of grandeur being exuded by the reopening of the distinguished restaurant.
The open kitchen in The Connaught Grill allows guests to see chefs cook on a theatrical wood-burning grill and rotisserie. Meat and fish are grilled using British hardwood charcoal with embers of burnt apple wood. Once ignited, the grill’s constant heat seals and enhances natural flavours, adding subtle sweet notes carried from the apple wood.
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten pays homage to classic grill dining, but with his own signature twists of modernity, and using ingredients with the finest provenance. “I am truly honoured to play a part in bringing The Connaught Grill back to life in London” he says. His favourite from the original menu, the fabled ‘Oeuf en Surprise’ a boiled egg, wrapped in ham and aspic, topped with truffle and caviar, is reinterpreted as a three cheese soufflé served with a softly cooked egg and black truffle fondue.
For true best of British comfort, a ‘Pie of the Day’ menu celebrates traditional favourites such as steak and kidney, oxtail and bone marrow, shepherd’s and seafood pie. A Sunday Roast is presented and carved on the restored silver trolley from the original Grill, wild seabass en croute is a ceremonious pastry-enrobed showstopper, carved tableside in true old-school Connaught style, and a knife menu is presented alongside meat and fish, harking back to service moments of yesteryear. For vegetarians, try the spit roasted celeriac or the roasted caraflex cabbage; and, vegans, there is a winter vegetable pie curated just for you. The Connaught Grill brings a piece of history back to London while offering its diners a lavish and traditionally British experience.
Co-owner Patty McKillen said, “We are bringing the Grill back to be discovered by a new generation, a Connaught Grill of today not yesterday, using craftsmen and chefs of today, but with the spirit and old school charm of the legendary Connaught Grill.”