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REVIEW: Manhattan Grill

Steak that’s a cut above the rest...


Dinner at West India Quay in London – let’s just say Canary Wharf and be done with it – may not be an obvious choice if you don’t work in the city, but donning the business attire ala Romy and Michele isn’t required for a meal at Manhattan Grill.

Part of the Marriott Hotel, the restaurant sits at the base of the five star establishment and overlooks the water quay side. The area is much calmer in the evening, this alone makes it worth a journey on the Docklands Light Railway.
There’s a variety of dining options available – so if you *are* looking for something akin to a business woman’s special, you can indulge in some over-sized snacks on the terrace, or you can book a mezzanine level for more grandiose gatherings.

It was a standard dinner for two that GT went for, although there’s nothing standard at all about Manhattan Grill. From service to servings, the experience was so much more than can often be experienced the closer to the centre of London you get. That’s a polite way of saying that having a waiter who knows the ins and outs of the entire menu – and ALL of the wines - and recommends things to you with a passion, can be sorely lacking these days. Manhattan Grill excels on all counts.

For example, our wine tasting experience – which matched the right wine for both a red and a white wine drinker to our meals – was an unexpected but extremely welcome education pre-starter.

And oh, what starters – be advised that these are no tiny portions attempting to hide in the non-existent shade of some greenery on a giant plate. I went for a goats cheese and red onion pastry tart, expecting the aforementioned portion size. In fact, it could easily have been a meal for me – and was so delightful that my mouth is watering just thinking about how smooth and delicate it was.

The other side of the table opted for a taster platter – which is usually only available to larger sized tables – in order to flavour for a few of the other options available.

This elongated dish comprised of seared black pearl scallops with a delicious pea puree, king prawns in a chilli garlic butter, Devonshire pork belly in an apple sauce and a baked blue swimmer crab cake that was wonderfully light.
You’re already getting the picture about the portions, right?

Despite the restaurant being famous for their steaks, I opted for their incredibly succulent corn fed chicken with lemon thyme jus. It felt like it melted in my mouth, with sides of moist, flavoursome mash and perfectly cooked greens.
My partner had the sole intention of enjoying a steak and definitely wasn’t disappointed. He opted for a Scottish Aberdeen Angus 10z, medium rare at their suggestion, which he described as one of the best steaks he’s ever eaten and “impossible to fault”. If you’re one for meat sweats, this one turns up the heat.
Although toppings are available, he opted for it plain – albeit with a selection of all the delicious sauces they have on the side...

We also got to choose our own steak knives from a selection offered in a presentation box – although this probably makes little difference to how it all tastes, it’s a nice personal touch.

As previously mentioned, their portions aren’t small but I’ll be honest... We still desperately wanted a dessert each but only managed to share one. We opted for double chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream – once again the quality was far above the usual restaurant cakes on offer and possibly worth a visit alone. Or at least with a glass of wine.
It’s a refreshing and stress-free dining experience, where you’re treated as a person and – ironically for the food on offer – not like cattle. You won’t be hurried from your ample seating and you won’t be practically sitting on your neighbours’ lap. As many other restaurants try to force customers into a ‘shared dining experience’, Manhattan Grill is a cut above the rest.

Manhattan Grill is at 22 Hertsmere Road, London. Details and reservations at manhattangrill.co.uk.


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