3 memorable date experiences

The Grill at the Dorchester

 

From its opulent dining area to its silver service, everything about The Grill at the Dorchester hints at established, reliable dining. The staff are exceptionally doting, the menu reads like an homage to big flavours, and the atmosphere is pleasantly inviting.

 

Whilst the food is hardly groundbreaking, it certainly lives up to the quality you would expect from such a renowned institution. Classic flavour pairings are given new life with modern techniques in a varied and well constructed menu. Tomato and basil have never worked together quite so spectacularly as they do in a rich, foam laced soup, and the delightfully ironic combination of plump Israeli couscous and succulent pork is satisfyingly hearty.

 

Although The Grill may not be the home of the latest gastronomic revolution, it never claims to be. It promises simple flavours executed to perfection in a modern manner, which is exactly what it serves up.

 

Dishoom

The ultra trendy Dishoom Shoreditch is an atmospheric hangout, where eclectic ornaments and vintage fixtures mix seamlessly with the trappings of an authentic Bombay cafe, creating a uniquely enchanting space. During the quiet hours, you’ll find it in a warm, sleepy lull as those with the luxury of time sip smooth, rich chai and wolf down fried eggs and chili jam wrapped in a naan fresh from the oven. At lunch and dinner, Dishoom is transformed into a bustling hub as the eager crowds pour in.

 

The food is somewhat traditional, with a focus on substance over style; the unapologetically robust, tangy lamb chops, with their crisp ribbons of fat, are a particular highlight. There’s an elegant simplicity to the way that Bombay staples, like the chicken tikka (made with sweet vinegar), are offered up without pretension, relying purely on flavour to carry them through. And boy, do they deliver.

 

Sahara Lane

Sahara Lane promises so much: it’s website is bursting with life, colour and an almost palpable sense of excitement.  Offering Moroccan food in ultra trendy Shoreditch, and surrounded by restaurants offering authentic culinary experiences, it should really be something special.

 

Sadly, it hypes itself way beyond the levels that it is able to reach. The food is solid but unspectacular, and there is something a little too muted about the flavours. Considering that this is meant to be an accurate representation of a culture that prides itself on the subtle interplay of flavours, the lack of variety in the spices, or taste in the meat, is highly disappointing. Like the food, the atmosphere seems flat and mundane, although some live music did help to perk things up a little.

 

Sahara Lane isn’t a bad restaurant by any means, but it simply isn’t good enough to stand up to its peers. Whether it actually is or not continues to divide opinion. Some praise its championing of an underrepresented food, whilst others call it an insult to the vibrant culinary culture of Moroccan food.


January 11, 2018

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