The English Grill at The Rubens – Refined Dining Near the Palace
By Tom Wilkinson
The new English Grill at The Rubens at the Palace is a luxury restaurant that should be on your list of great London restaurants to visit. And with sumptuous décor and always fresh produce from suppliers that also supply the Queen herself… well, you know it’s going to be good.
As its name suggests, The Rubens is located just a short stroll away from Buckingham Palace – its address is actually 39 Buckingham Palace Road, and it’s directly across from The Royal Mews – making the exquisite English Grill a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. The food is exceptional, and we were constantly made to feel like royalty as the waiters and sommelier tended to our every need. And to top it all, the menu is generously priced for the quality of the food and service provided.
For our starters we opted for the locally smoked Scottish and Irish salmon, along with the lobster Arnold Bennet. The lobster was prepared with eggs and cheese for a very rich dish that was perfectly matched with the superb Missionvale Chardonnay. The smoked salmon was truly an experience as the waiter wheeled over a marble table with several sides of salmon on it and then sliced it at the table. H Forman’s smoked salmon is smoked locally in London, and should be high on your list when shopping for your own table.
Delightful Dishes at The English Grill
For her mains, my companion had the Dover sole for yet another at-the-table-experience as it was deboned in front of her. The fish was light and delicately grilled so as not to ruin the flavour, and was served with lemon and tartar sauce. I decided to have the famous mixed grill. Bacon, lamb, steak, liver, kidney and exceptional sausages led to a very rich and sophisticated take on this much-loved meal.
Finally, for dessert we chose to have the ice cream sundae and crème brûlée. The sundae is available with several different flavours and I chose a mix of vanilla and chocolate. It was a nice palate cleanser to end my meal. Crème brûlée is often, I find, disappointing. I’m pleased to say the same cannot be said of my companion’s dessert: light and with a perfectly crisped top that wasn’t burnt, it was one of the best crème brûlées I have ever tried.
World-class Wines, Super Sommelier
Despite his shuttling back and forth to the other tables, it really felt like we had the sommelier to ourselves for the evening. Being unsure of what bottle to have, we asked for a tasting flight of the Bouchard Finlayson wines so that we could get an overview of the selection on offer from this wonderful South African winery.
As we deliberated over the menu, we were treated to a glass of Nyetimber‘s Classic Cuvee. This delightful British take on sparkling wine from West Sussex is one of the Queen’s favourites and has been served at many royal functions.
We started with the lighter Chardonnay, which served as a good accompaniment to the smoked salmon, then moved onto the Sauvignon Blanc and the Missionvale Chardonnay. As we progressed to the next course we were treated to two reds: a Sangiovese/pinot blend and a pinot noir that paired better with our meatier mains. The Hannibal blends Sangiovese and pinot noir grapes for a medium bodied Italian style wine. The pinot noir, Galpin Peak, is made using a pinot noir clone that is very close to the original grape from Burgundy. This leads to a rich, full bodied wine that pairs well with meat and fine dining.
All these wines were served with copious tasting notes from our sommelier who always knew the correct moment to appear at the table and move us to our next glass. The English Grill’s service and fine food should not be missed.
You can enjoy a great video of The Rubens at the Palace on Luxury.TV.
Contributing Editor Tom Wilkinson makes cocktails in his spare time and podcasts about their history at Dr Wilko’s Campaign for Better Beverages. He also produces 2 other podcasts: Hat of Many Things, on random topics drawn from a hat and Unparliamentary Language about the state of British politics.