Food lovers: there’s a new flame in town
The 1990s celebrity hang-out is reborn as a polished grill, says Benjamin Parker
It’s not often that I find myself nursing a potent Old Fashioned on a school night, while a great heft of meat is roasted just a sniff from my face. When I lived in Australia, maybe. Or perhaps those summer days in Britain when the sunshine feels endless and you can stoke a proper barbecue. But a November night in Mayfair? Never.
Yet there I was, propping up the calacatta rosso marble bar at
Gridiron, among the first to try this new restaurant on Park Lane. Its simple name belies the sexy space inside Como Metropolitan London.
For many, it will have big boots to fill: it replaces the Met Bar, which opened in 1997 as a members-only boozer that would morph into the hotspot for panjandrums of Cool Britannia, at the height of Britpop, where celebs would spill out in the wee hours into a picket fence of paparazzi. And what a boon for the hotel: book a room and get access.
Its decline has been a slow burn. I was seven years old when it opened so, when a tennis superstar fathered a child in the cupboard or All Saints draped themselves over low-slung sofas, I was more concerned with Pokémon cards or getting my mother to turn off an All Saints CD. But this isn’t some millennial dismissal of an icon. The cliques that made it a hub of the London scene left. A-listers were more likely to be seen one floor up at
Ordering thick slices of crispy potato galette could become a compulsion
MEAT FEASTSteaks are cooked on the eponymous gridiron, above; main, the polished brasserie decor; inset, there are a few non-meat menu options