Time stands still at the Guinea Grill

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The Guinea Grill is the gentleman of London’s steakhouses. Originally a pub that quietly served steak to hungry diplomats after world war 2, the Guinea Grill opened its steakhouse to the general public in 1952.

Since then it has become a steak institution and  one of London’s favourite steakhouses.

An image of the boardroom at the Guinea Grill
Old fashioned set up at the Guinea Grill

In 66 years it feels like little has changed. I was seated upstairs in ‘the Boardroom’ where old photos and portraits of past presidents hung on wood-paneled walls, white linen graced the tables and where the tartan carpet has probably lapped up the splashes of a thousand juicy steaks. The Guinea Grill is either timelessly classic or in desperate need of refurbishment.

The beef

The Guinea Grill serves traditional cuts of steaks including sirloin, porterhouse, fillet and rib steaks. The restaurant serves “British Beef”. I asked the waiter if the steak was Angus, and the waiter raised his eyebrows in shock and said “Oh no sir, we source our steak from our supplier in Aberdeenshire”. I’m betting it was Aberdeen Angus. I ordered the 450g Rib steak on the bone, cooked medium-rare for ¬£39. 

An image of the beef display at the guinea grill
The beef display

Eating the beef

The wait for food was too  long. After waiting 30 minutes I checked the status with the waiter who would come back every 5 minutes to tell us the steak was 5 minutes away. We waited over an hour for the steak.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the steak. Recommendations from friends and the legacy of the restaurant suggested the steak would be decent, but the bumbling service was giving me some doubt.

The steak turned out to be tasty  (in a surprising way) and tender. The steak had an intense smokey taste that dominated any other sense. It was almost like it had been cooked on a dirty grill. The smokey taste isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’m partial to a steak with a smokey crust but it shouldn’t be the only flavour that you can taste. 

An image of the Bone in Rib-steak at the Guinea grill
Bone in Rib-steak at the Guinea grill

The perfect steak is the balance between a smoky seasoned crust and a tender, beefy interior. This steak didn’t nail the crust while the rest of the steak, despite being tender, didn’t taste of anything but smoke. That said, this was still a thoroughly enjoyable and easy to eat steak.

Verdict

The Guinea Grill is a defiantly old-fashioned steak-serving-pub that may take itself a little seriously, yet it bumbles on and delivers a half decent steak.

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