If you are looking for a good quality steak restaurant in London that’s a little more upmarket but with a relaxed and informal atmosphere paired with superb service, then JW Steakhouse in the Grosvenor House Hotel is the place to visit.
With almost floor to ceiling windows overlooking Park Lane, this is a large and lively restaurant with a Bourbon Bar at one end that’s worth arriving early for, boasting the largest selection of Bourbons in London (with just over 300), from the oldest, a 1901 Mellwood Whiskey and other pre-Prohibition Bourbons, to a more modern-day Revolver cocktail, you’re sure to find something you like.
Having chatted with the extremely knowledgeable Robbie about the vast array of Bourbons and tried a couple of Bourbons at the bar, we are shown to our table by the window overlooking a bustling Park Lane. Our delightful waitress Claudia, explains the different types of steaks on the menu, from the finest cuts of USDA beef to the hand cut selections of Aberdeen Angus and UK prime cuts.
A large blackboard covers the back wall of the restaurant outlining and explaining the various types of Bourbon, steaks and sauces which is most helpful. For example, the steak section has a drawing of the various cuts and explains where they come from. There is a choice of seven which include the Filet, Porterhouse, Rib Eye, New York Strip, Kansas City Strip, Flat Iron Steak and the Tomahawk Rib Eye. Another section of the board explains steak temperatures, so if you have ever pondered when the waiter or waitress asks how you would like your steak done, do take a look and decide whether you want your steak rare with a core temperature of 52°C or well done with a core temperature of 71°C or of course anything in between. It’s all there in black and white.
The menu is clear and easy to follow with a nice selection of classic starters that includes Smoked Salmon with traditional garnishes or one of my favourites, a Maryland style Lump Crab Cake. They also have a nice selection of oysters, grilled jumbo shrimps and a seafood platter ideal for two of you to share. However, on this occasion we both choose the JW Shrimp and Avocado Cocktail, which was delicious and not something you see that often on menus these days, so it was a real treat!
My friend, very wisely I might add, chose the 6-ounce filet steak topped with ‘oscar’ lump crab, asparagus and béarnaise sauce, which looked and I am told tasted delicious, whilst I opt for the current special, a filet steak from Uruguay, which comes from the UNESCO protected grassland in the country and named “Grassland Beef”. It is soft, rich and almost sweet in taste and full of flavour. We also order a side of healthy creamed spinach and JW Chopped Salad.
Head Chef Robert Stephens, who I got the opportunity to speak with, recently joined Grosvenor House from South Place Hotel, and is keen to offer a regular ‘guest beef’ every couple of months on the menu so that regulars get the opportunity to try new cuts and breeds. However, popular cuts will always be on the menu, such as the JW Steakhouse signature Aberdeen Angus and USDA Creekstone USDA prime steak which has fantastic marbling. Robert also gave a special mention to their Highland Wagyu and wagyu steaks in general, which are particularly popular with their guests and customers from the Middle East.
I must also give a special mention to the JW Steakhouse traditional Porterhouse Rolls, whose name comes from the Porterhouse Hotel in Boston. They literally melt in your mouth!
As well as steaks, the menu also offers a selection of other dishes to suit any non-steak or meat eaters including a Spit Roast Half Chicken, Seared Tuna Steak, Braised Short Ribs, Steak Tartar and Wild Mushroom Risotto as well as an assortment of sandwiches and salads.
Do make sure you leave some room for a naughty but nice dessert. The JW Steakhouse legendary signature Cheesecake, which I have had before, is unbelievably good and extremely popular, so popular in fact that last year they sold 39,572 cheesecakes! On this occasion we opt for the Pecan Pie, which is served with a choice of vanilla, cinnamon or Bourbon ice cream and topped off our long lunch beautifully along with a double espresso.
Other American classics include a Warm Brownie Pudding, Mississippi Mud Pie and Warm Apple Pie to name a few or of course you can be a little healthier and choose a selection of farmhouse cheeses.
JW Steakhouse offers a good selection of wines by the glass from the United States, South America, France, Italy, South Africa and New Zealand, whilst the full wine menu has a much wider selection including sparkling wines, Champagne and Rosés. We choose a 2014 Jack Hammer Pinot Noir from Central Coast, USA, which complimented our steaks perfectly.
Make no mistake, this is a place for steak lovers who like big portions. Put that together with friendly and professional service plus the Bourbon Bar and you have something a little bit special and unique. I for one look forward to my next visit.
The Grosvenor House is currently in the final stages of an enormous £50 million refurbishment programme which started back in 2012 and should be completed by the end of this year. This investment by Marriott International has seen a complete refurbishment of the hotel’s now 496 rooms and suites, lobby and Park Room, along with the relocation of a brand-new Executive Lounge to the ground floor, to bring this iconic 350-year-old building, which once belonged to the Duke of Grosvenor and was rebuilt as a hotel in 1929, up to 21st Century standards.
JW Steakhouse, 86-90 Park Lane, London, W1K 7TN, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7399 8460
Located in the Grosvenor House Hotel overlooking Park Lane and Hyde Park. If you use the entrance on Park Lane, you will find the restaurant immediately on the left-hand side. The closest Tube Station is Marble Arch on the Central Line (a five-minute walk) or Green Park, an 8-10-minute walk on the Jubilee, Victoria and Piccadilly lines. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week with lunch from midday to 6:00pm and dinner from 6:00pm to 10:30pm Sunday to Thursday and from 6:00pm to 11:00pm on Friday and Saturday. The Bourbon Bar is open daily from midday to 11:00pm.
Type of Restaurant: American Steakhouse
Price Band: Medium to High
Insider Tip: Arrive a little early and enjoy a cocktail at the Bourbon Bar where you can try a pre-Prohibition Whiskey or something a little more modern. On warmer days you can take your cocktail out onto their terrace overlooking Park Lane.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Food and whiskey photographs by Simon Burrell and restaurant photographs courtesy of JW Steakhouse