Located in the luxurious Lancaster Hotel, Island Grill has shown its staying power. It is – to use a football analogy on the eve of the Euro 2016 final – the Ronaldo of the West London restaurant scene, winning relentlessly in a brutal, ever changing league. In a borough and era where restaurants open and close with the speed of a camera shutter, Island Grill has been in business for 25 years.
Step inside and it’s not hard to see why: it’s a sleek (the design was conceived by Stiff + Trevillion, the team behind Wagamama), airy space owing to the vast floor-to-ceiling windows that offer fantastic views across neighbouring Hyde Park.
While the restaurant is mainly frequented by in-house guests, well heeled west London locals and a healthy smattering of Hyde Park goers also come here to chat and unwind over a cocktail and enjoy seasonable recipes – all of the produce is sourced as locally as possible, something the three stars that Island Grill was awarded by the Sustainable Restaurants Association bears testament too- in a convivial setting.
Food wise, the menu serves up plenty of please all dishes: substantial salads, fragrant soups, seafood, grills and pasta all feature. The Crab tian (Devonshire crab, chilled avocado soup, caviar, and beetroot crisps) proved the perfect starter being packed with crab that tasted as though it was straight from the sea, while the Island salad was an Instagram-worthy mountain of crunchy leaves and bulgur wheat, with a piste of purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, courgettes and roasted red onions.
Elsewhere the Leek, pea and broad bean risotto – topped with cheese crisps, baby spinach and confit lemon – is a sublimely satisfying vegetarian main. And the Pork belly (slow-cooked pork belly, celeriac and apple mash, chantenay carrots and red wine jus) will have carnivores purring with pleasure – especially when washed down with a glass (or two) of Friendly Gruner Veltliner Laurenz, a wonderfully crisp white wine.
If you’ve got room there’s an extensive list of wickedly indulgent desserts – think creme brûlée, Baked sultana cheese cake and Apple and blackberry crumble. Alternatively close with a selection of sorbets and ice creams or a coffee served in elegant crockery and accompanied by welcome gourmet popcorn.
Other pluses? Portions are plentiful and beautifully presented, prices are reasonable and service (ask for the lovely Lauren) friendly and efficient. For an affordable taste of the islands in the heart of London, head here.
NEED TO KNOW
Island Grill (Open 7am-10.30pm daily; Lancaster Terrace, W2 2TY; 020 7551 6070; http://www.islandrestaurant.co.uk)