A day after London was cooling off from the highest ever recorded temperature in history, we made our way through Hyde Park to exit directly opposite the centrally situated Island Grill, celebrated caterer Tony Page’s restaurant in the West End.
Despite (or perhaps because of!) opening at the start of Covid, and only being able to offer alfresco dining for a while, the place has gathered quite a following.
It was at the beginning of lunch hour when we entered and were shown to our table by the maître d' who ably guided and entertained us throughout the meal.
The establishment and staff give an aura of polished class – words are spoken softly, not unnecessarily loudly. Tables covered in starched white cotton - you are made to feel instantly at ease. The dark wood panelling gives an atmosphere not unlike a Central London gentleman’s club.
The menu at Island Grill is concise and clear – one card for the starters and mains, one for dessert and separate cards for cocktails, wines and drinks respectively.
With a thirst brought on by the walk through the hot park, we launched off the experience with a cocktail (or mocktail for the more fragile). The Summer Fizz is a non-alcoholic refreshing blend of redcurrants, physalis, lime, mint over lemonade, soda water and crushed ice. Summer in a glass! For the cocktail, it was the Passionfruit Caipirinha, a Brazilian inspired beverage served with Cachaca.
The soup of the day was a cool mint and pea - ideal on the heels of the heatwave. Refreshing and cooling, the flavours were subtle and sweet.
We also sampled a risotto with wild mushroom, cooked to perfection that would make any Italian nonna proud. The portion was generous for a starter, and the rice was moist and soft with the flavours of the wild mushrooms very distinct.
Not to be missed was the foie gras, a Tony Page special. Two generous triangle shaped slices of meat Pâté, accompanied by rounds of garlic toast, fig jam and candied walnuts.
For the main course we opted for the crispy duck salad and a special off-menu option, black cod with Asian greens, recommended by the maître d'. The cod was the show stealer with its melt in the mouth texture and delicate flavours. Served with pak choi, wild mushrooms and topped with coriander sprigs coated in a soy-based sauce.
Our choice of dessert was a seasonal Summer Berries crumble, large enough to nearly be considered a meal on its own and another Italian favourite, affogato. Accompanied by a macchiato with complimentary biscuits and chocolate fudge squares all beautifully presented in Tony’s imitable style.
Whilst the prices at Island Grill are considerably higher than any other kosher eatery in the London area or indeed the UK (our meal for two was around the £200 mark), if you are looking for an experience to remember, or seek to celebrate an occasion, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything else quite like it in London.
For further information and to view our listing for the restaurant vist here.