The Dining Room at The Goring

The Dining Room at The Goring has reopened following a major refurbishment. The Luxury Editor’s Simon recently visited the five-star hotel’s restaurant in London’s Belgravia and enjoyed an evening that oozed confidence, charisma and style. Read on for the full review. 

Opened by Otto Richard Goring on 2 March 1910, just East of Belgravia, dominating a side street in the heart of Victoria, the Goring remains the only hotel in London owned by the family that built it. Every reigning Monarch and serving Prime Minister has been welcomed into the establishment since its opening and Queen Elizabeth II granted it a royal warrant of appointment in 2013, the only hotel ever to receive such an honour. Not surprisingly, the Goring has become a byword for luxury and even from the spick and span exterior, its entrance to a waterfall of fresh and colourful flowers, and its doormen resplendent in tomato red tails, such reputation seems immediately justified. 

The Michelin starred restaurant closed down for four months earlier this year but recently re-opened in May. Russell Sage Studio renovated the dining room and did a sterling job, providing it with a contemporary joi de vivre whilst respecting its more traditional history. The walls are wrapped in a lively pistachio wallpaper from which flowers blossom, butterflies flutter and even a monkey gallivants in what looks like a wedding cake dress. Comfy, relaxing sofas as well as more formal armchairs serve tables covered in white linen and a luscious burgundy carpet or rug fills the whole restaurant with a theatrical warmth. Pom poms hang from tied back curtains, some of the ornate ceiling is painted in gold detail and two elegant but not ostentatious chandeliers help light the room. 

The space really is quite beautiful and we start our meal with a befitting glass of Ayala champagne. Sharp, angular 1920s type jazz, fills the background and we’re also served an amuse bouche whilst perusing the menu. It’s a beetroot coloured, marble sized, sphere of Goat’s cheese and rests on a crunchy base. There’s also some elderflower and yuzu present for an intriguing sign of what’s to come.  Homemade sourdough is served with traditional salted butter but also Marmite butter, whipped, fluffy and constructed from yeast rather than actually Marmite; it’s a beige colour and packs a surprisingly powerful punch.

I’ve heard Marmite mixes with oysters to create an umami tsunami but we keep the two separate and share six Jersey oysters. Served on a large bed of pebbledash ice and a silver platter, the oysters are super creamy and are cleaner, purer in taste than many. The mignonette sauce is sweeter than it is tangy and it would have been easy to consume a further six oysters in the blink of an eye. 

The Spiced duck liver is foie gras but with a more genial name. It has a flecked, marble appearance and is sublime in its silky softness. Its feint bitterness is offset by slithers of Oak Church strawberries which are surrounded in a jelly like strawberry rind. A tall Brioche bun infused with pistachio accompanies.

The Roast Orkney scallop is no less mouth-watering. Pan fried with lemon verbena and nut brown butter, the large scallop is crisp on the outside and succulent on the inside. Doused in pork belly fat and sprinkled with black olive powder, it’s served in a laurel of green leafery with a pea purée that practically transports you to the English country garden where it was grown. Small chunks of pickled pear offset the sweetness of the scallop. 

Staff wear different coloured jackets with different styled rhinestone broaches for different jobs. For example, our Maitre D’ wears a blue jacket with a peacock’s feather broach. Our sommelier wears a burgundy jacket with bubbling wine glass broaches. Our waiter wears a slick white jacket, no broach but instead, a turquoise pocket handkerchief. As you’d expect, all are super knowledgeable and friendly but also discreet. Our sommelier recommends a George Millérioux Sancerre with the duck liver and a Bolney Estate Lychgate Bacchus from Sussex for the scallop. Both are light and spot on. For mains, our sommelier recommends a Dog Point Pinot Noir from New Zealand. 

The Dover sole is a feast. It’s chunky and wholesome and cooked in butter but not served swimming in it. A little bit, here and there, has a nice crunch to it. Small cubes of fried bread and slices of lemon accompany it. It’s also served with artichoke in Barigoule, an iconic Provencale way to cook the dish, albeit one with a confusing history – something to do with rare mushrooms!? Either way, the artichoke is tender, possibly mashed but, most surprisingly of all, is covered in what looks, tastes and sounds like rice crispies.

The Dry aged Aylesbury duck is no less epic and actually is a double duck serving. Oblong pieces of rare but unfeasibly tender meat are served parallel to each in a rich red wine sauce, with blanched and thus bold green asparagus. On a rare occasion, the duck melts in the mouth and, as if this wasn’t enough, is accompanied by another, smaller duck dish; glazed duck leg which could, in different circumstances be mistaken for a chocolate ice cream on a stick dipped in chopped hazelnuts. There’s a dollop of Cherry puré and hoisin sauce by its side and the texture is succulent but more like that of high-quality crispy aromatic duck.

We take a quick break before dessert and investigate some of the art, most of which hangs on the wall on the right as you enter the restaurant, just next to where we sit. Most if not all is traditional in its approach and apart from one small portrait which is the spitting image of Black Adder II and Queenie, most of it represents a fascinating pictorial history of the hotel, its staff and the Goring family. For example, there’s a refined portrait of the hotel’s former managing director David Morgan-Hewitt (now its Chairman) next to, most touchingly, the hotel’s beloved doorman, Peter. A sign of ‘legend’ status, Peter doesn’t seem to have a surname, not online, not offline, not in the hotel’s bustling bar or trim corridors. He’s just known as Peter. He’s 82, has been working at the Goring for 60 years and continues to work there today. In his portrait, he looks like a proud man who loves the life he’s lived. A more humorous painting is of four members of the Gorings dressed up in dark blue mohair suits, playing instruments as if they were the Beatles. It, also, is strangely moving.

For dessert, we share a chocolate mousse cake with hazelnut praline and salted caramel. There’s a scoop of Madagascar vanilla ice cream and the mousse is served with a biscuit bottom. The praline is hidden in the mousse’s middle for a pleasant and surprising twist in texture and the salted caramel is divine. It’s a sumptuous finish to a truly sumptuous evening which oozed confidence, charisma and class. The new restaurant was undoubtedly worth the wait and is something the Gorings, chef Graham Squire and Peter the doorman should be suitably proud of.  

Contact Details

Address: 15 Beeston Pl, London SW1W 0JW

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