The Rib Room Bar, Jumeirah Carlton Tower, London SW1X 9PY
Last year, when Saff was invited along to review the newly refurbished Rib Room, I was gutted! Not only had the iconic Knightsbridge restaurant been given a makeover by designer Martin Brudnizki but Head chef Ian Rudge had created a new menu too. (Don’t worry the renowned roast rib of beef is still there – but be warned, it’s huge. literally the size of a cow!)
So when I found out that the Rib Room bar menu also had a recent overhaul, I just had to go. Also they were recently awarded three AA Rosettes at the AA Hospitality Awards 2012, and Michele was named Hotel Restaurant Manager of the Year at The 2012 Hotel Cateys. The elegant bar and restaurant has a really cozy feel – low lighting, dark furniture and decor with sparkling touches of gold. The polished marble bar counter takes center-stage, and a stage it is. As it’s here where the cocktails are prepared with all the theatre and drama of a Broadway show.
Despite it being in the heart of Sloane Street and on the ground floor of the 5 star Jumeirah Carlton Hotel, you’re made to feel welcome and relaxed… Although I wouldn’t wear ripped up jeans, unless you’re a former Grand Slam tennis champion!
The bar’s clientele, mostly businessmen, ladies of leisure and shoppers taking a well deserved break, were causing a gentle buzz. We decided to sit at a low table to people watch, flick through the bar menu and study the brilliant cocktail lists.
From the ‘Drinking with Dickens’ page, I picked the For Love o’ Liquor £15. Patron XO Coffee, Baileys, Galliano and Coconut Cream. This, as the menu says, is ‘A creamy after-dinner indulgence’, you can say that again! It was served up by the mixologist who developed the drink for a cocktail competition in Spain five years ago. Guess what? It won best cocktail and so it should. It tasted like a liquid dessert, so sweet, so creamy and Baileys always says Christmas to me.
Saff ordered a Sloane Street Vesper, £15, from the London Dandies section. Pinky vodka, Sipsmith’s gin, Americano Cocchi and Lillet Blanc. A combination of cheek & chic – but it’s the combination of premium vodka and gin that delivers such a powerful kick.
Next I just had to order from ‘The Gin and Bitters Experience’ £16. You choose from the bespoke bitters selection (I went for Grapefruit) and a gin (I had Miller’s Westbourne Strength). The bartender mixes the drink at your table until it’s perfect for your taste. Some bartenders are said to be able to analyse your character from what bitters and gin you order – I had no idea of what he made of me!
Talking of taste it was time to order from the bar menu, although we could have easily ordered from the cocktail list all night. The food menu is split into four sections, light bites, sandwiches & burgers, soups and salads and steak and fish. We’d been on a run of burgers, one at Byron and one at MeatLIQUOR‘s first birthday party, so we both decided to continue the theme.
Saff ordered the Trio of mini burgers £12, from the light bites section. There’s the choice of three varieties, Classic, Caramelised onions and Cheese. You can have one of each or all the same, it’s up to you. Each slider sized burger is cooked medium and holds on to its quality beef flavour, the meat is perfectly seasoned and not ground too finely. Saff really rated the caramelised onion topping, which she described as like an onion marmalade.
I went ‘large’ and chose the Crab and lobster burger, £22, from the sandwiches and burgers list. The actual patty is quite difficult to describe, dense like beef but with the delicate flavours of seafood. Massive chucks of white lobster meat in an amazing Thermidor sauce topped it off. Served with a subtle lime mayonnaise and a refreshing tomato and red onion salad (in a retro space age bowl – for some reason it reminded me of Space 1999). The buttery sweet brioche bun deserves a special mention too, I could have easily eaten a baker’s dozen.
We also shared a side order of chips, at least twice (if not thrice) fried. Perfectly golden and crispy outside whilst super fluffy inside, delicious dipped in the lime mayo!
We just about had room for a dessert, these aren’t on the bar menu but just ask the friendly bar staff. The Valrhona white chocolate mousse with blackcurrant jelly £8.50, was screaming out to me. Layers of creamy white mousse and a jelly so intense that it may well have been a solidified blackcurrant juice. Topped with a white chocolate shard, fresh berries and vanilla ice-cream.
Saff ordered the baked custard tart with blackberry and pear compote, £8.50, maybe because I recently had one at Tuddenham Mill. She thought it was a delicious, perfect traditional custard tart that hadn’t been ‘messed with’… Although she didn’t use those words – I blame the cocktails.
Jumeirah Carlton Tower
On Cadogan Place
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7858 7250