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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Bottomless Brunch on the Southbank at Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar

Words & Photography by Matthew Brown and Luiz Hara

Name: Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar

Where: London Marriott Hotel County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB, http://gillrays.com/

Cost: The Gillray’s Bottomless Brunch is available every Saturday and Sunday, from 12-3pm, for £40 a head. Diners can choose two courses from the extensive menu, which is organised into four sections: Cereals, Eggs, Meats and Treats. This will be accompanied by an unlimited number of glasses of Cordoniu Brut, a light and refreshing cava that is perfect for an early afternoon sitting. Side-dishes are available for £5 extra, and include a Bloody Mary, triple-cooked chips, and cauliflower and truffle bake.

About: I last reviewed Gillray’s in 2013, when I came for a sumptuous steak dinner, complete with oysters and cocktails. I recall that meal well and looked forward to my return visit for their new weekend brunch. You can read about it here.


The restaurant is named after the 18th Century political caricaturist James Gillray, and this impressive spot in the South Wing of the Marriott Hotel County Hall boasts great views across the Thames to Westminster.


The beautiful wood-paneled, large-windowed dining room is a welcome respite from the tourist rush outside, but it’s also the perfect place to enjoy a brunch before seeing a matinee at the National Theatre or Old Vic, or a film at the BFI.


The Bottomless Brunch offers some signature dishes from the evening menu (sirloin steak and a thick bacon chop) alongside brunch favourites such as eggs royale, pancakes and chia-seed pudding. It is good value and a lot of fun. 

When I came here last, I mentioned that it would have been good to see more affordable options on the wine list, and I'm happy to say that the brunch menu now gives you the opportunity to enjoy a Gillray’s meal with a good-quality free-flowing cava, Cordoniu Brut.


What We Ate: We started with a complimentary hors d’oeuvre from the kitchen, miniature Yorkshire puddings, filled with melted cheddar, and accompanied by a horseradish and creme fraiche dipping sauce. This innovative take on a Sunday Roast classic was such an improvement on the original! The cheese adds texture and flavour, and the fresh dipping sauce went perfectly with the light pudding batter. They were so good, we asked for more!


One of the first courses was the quinoa porridge, made with almond milk and topped with raspberries, pomegranate seeds and honey. Beautifully presented, it was a healthy way to start, with the almond milk ensuring that the dish wasn’t too rich.


Next was the Eggs Royale - an English muffin topped with smoked salmon, poached eggs and a rich Hollandaise sauce. It’s a brunch classic, and the Gillray’s version was so generous that they even folded an extra slice of smoked salmon between the halves of the muffin. The grilled lemon halves were yet more proof of Gillray’s attention to detail, this dish made for a decadent start to the meal.


The second course was a 200g sirloin, topped with a fried egg. It was accompanied by a side dish of flat cap mushrooms with rosemary. Unusually for a restaurant in an international hotel, Gillray’s prides itself on its local suppliers. The Aberdeen Angus steaks come from Darragh O’Shea’s farm in Scotland, and this shows in their depth of flavour.



The second main course was the Gillray’s Steak Burger. This enormous stack, containing a 280g patty, cheedar cheese, onion rings and gherkin may have taken their generosity to a fault! It was hard to tuck in to, and even harder to finish! Sadly, the thick patty could only be ordered well done, it was flavoursome if a tad dry. The onion rings were crispy on the outside, and the hash brown nuggets were a brilliant and addictive invention, served alongside a delicious red onion and bacon chutney.



What We Drank: Our meal started the way every good brunch should, with a Bloody Mary. In the Gillray’s version, the spiciness of the Tobasco is softened by slices of fresh cucumber and lemon, and the addition of celery salt.


After that, we started on the unlimited bubbles. Cordoniu Brut is the perfect choice of cava for the Gillray's brunch. It's dry and light, and the prominent apple notes give it a sweetness that works perfectly with the dishes.


Likes: The incredible cheesy Yorkshire puddings that came as a complimentary hors d'oeuvre, and the generosity that continued throughout the meal. 

Dislikes: We would have liked to see some more imaginative sweet dishes on the menu, other than the usual staples such as pancakes and waffles. 

Verdict: The Gillray's Bottomless Brunch is the a great weekend treat, especially for meat lovers who want to have the Gillray's experience, with a view of the Thames and unlimited bubbles at a great price.

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