I think I’ve become that annoying person who starts every article with “I was pleasantly surprised by …” but, honestly, I’ve had a good number of pleasant surprises the last few months. And who doesn’t love a pleasant surprise? See, the London food scene has treated me well – real well! And today will be my last individual restaurant review for The London Chronicles before I sign off for the year and spend some time with family over the festive season. So I’m glad to announce (tadaaaa) that this last spot was a real treat: Island Grill Restaurant & Bar at the Royal Lancaster Hotel.

Hotel restaurants can really be hit or miss. Some are beyond exceptional. Others barely average. But the Island Grill, thankfully, falls into the former category. The restaurant – and the hotel as a whole – is situated just opposite Hyde Park and only a one-minute walk from Lancaster Gate Station. What I love is that Island Grill has its own entrance, so you don’t necessarily have to walk through the hotel to enter the restaurant space.

The restaurant itself is divided into three section – the entrance, a lower level welcome and seating area, and an upper-level seating and bar area. The upper-level seating area is the cosiest, especially this time of year, but Kassandra and I chose to sit in the lower level to enjoy the benefits of good lighting.

Some Sourdough

Our first portion of welcome bread arrived while we were still sipping Prosecco and browsing the menu. We enjoyed a London Bakery Whole Sourdough (£4.50) with butter and olive tapenade. The bread was divine and I thoroughly enjoyed dipping it into the butter, while Kassandra stuck to the dairy-free olive tapenade.

Island Grill

Starters

Crab Salad & Smoked Salmon

There are a lot of gorgeous things on the menu at Island Grill. But we couldn’t have all so we had to choose wisely (and dairy-free for Kassandra). She opted for the highly-recommended Dorset Crab Salad, with endive, seaweed crisp, and oyster mayonnaise (£13.50). I went for the Royal Lancaster Smoked Salmon, with horseradish cream, beetroot, and sourdough (£11.50).

Both Kassandra and I were slightly in awe when the portions came out. Not only did they look divine, but they were massive! And these were just our starters!!! Kassandra’s crab salad was definitely a treat for the eyes and she loved it. I utterly enjoyed my smoked salmon – delicious, filling, and everything you’d expect a fantastic smoked salmon portion to be.

Island Grill dorset cob salad

Island Grill royal lancaster smoked salmon

Mains

Sole & Ribs

For mains, Kassandra chose the Whole Lemon Sole on the Bone (£19.50), which, again, looked absolutely gorgeous and she really enjoyed it. Our waiter, Pavlos, had highly recommended the Smoked and Sticky Beef Ribs (£21), which I ended up choosing. I certainly can’t refuse great ribs, and this portion was everything he promised it would be. The meat was so soft you could honestly just look at it and it fell off the bone. I loved every bite.

Island Grill lemon sole

Island Grill beef rib

Broccoli, Baby Leaves, and Jersey Royals

We also chose a handful of sides: Grilled Tenderstem Broccoli, Baby Leaf Salad, and Rosemary Jersey Royals. All sides priced at £4. The sides were simple and not quite as exciting as the main courses – but perhaps that is their job, right? To act as mere accompaniments to the mains. But they were still delicious.

My only note would be that the grilled tenderstem broccoli was served with chilli and I found them too spicy to enjoy, so be aware of that if you happen to order these (there’s no chilli warning on the menu).

Dessert

Fruit & Sorbet with a Floating Island

I was beyond happy at this point. Literally. Beyond happy. The service was excellent, and the atmosphere casual and relaxing, and the food magnificent. But there was still dessert to look forward to.

Kassandra enjoyed a fruit salad with sorbet, which isn’t on the menu. I was torn between the Apple Tart (£7) and the Floating Island (£7.50) but eventually decided on the Floating Island – only because I had NO idea what to expect. This is a dessert consisting of meringue, custard, pistachio praline, and compressed pear. I enjoyed it but it was a little on the sweet side for me.

Nonetheless, a too-sweet dessert didn’t take away from the magnificent experience we had.

Island Grill dessert

Visit Island Grill

Everything about Island Grill was great and I would definitely go back in a heartbeat. If you’re looking for something special, then I’d highly recommend venturing over to Island Grill at the Royal Lancaster. There’s no doubt you’ll love it as much as I did! For all info on them, see below.

Island Grill

Address: Lancaster Terrace, London, W2 2TY

Website: www.islandrestaurant.co.uk

Call: +44 20 7551 6070

E-mail: dine@royallancaster.com

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Photos by @delishkass.

Written by Benike Palfi
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Article Date: December 2019

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