Gilbey’s is a restaurant with rooms. Gilbey’s is a brasserie with beds. Gilbey’s is a rather good spot for dinner, even if one isn’t laying one’s head in the upstairs quarters later.
This is a smart/casual restaurant with a quaint façade, cosy interior, and sporting stylish design elements. The menu is constantly changing so one could be a regular at Gilbey’s and still find new temptations on the bill of fare. The ambiance is relaxed but the food is as good as one might get in any fine-dining establishment …and as a bonus the prices are more attractive!
Arrived and in droves, groups and couples
We booked our table for an early meal and the restaurant was quiet. That did cause a little anxiety, but it seems that Eton locals arrive later on warm summer evenings. They did arrive and in droves, groups and couples, and many of them seemed to have been before. There were requests for favourite tables and whether a particular dish was still available.
Our order was taken by a waitress/manager/bartender who worked hard all evening and ensured that everything ran smoothly. There was nothing banal or beige on the menu. Each dish painted a seasonal tapestry stitched with culinary flair and a good deal of gastronomic imagination. Nothing disappointed in taste, texture or presentation. It was a festival of fresh British produce. And there is a wine list over which to linger, with many a good bottle also available by the glass!
Smoked Haddock, Leek and Organic Cheddar Fishcake with celeriac and grain mustard rémoulade was my choice of starter. It contained a generous amount of fish and was a perfectly balanced dish. This would also, along with salad, make a rather good light lunch.
Jerusalem Artichoke and Pecorino Cheese Panna Cotta was my guest’s very original first course. The distinct flavour of the artichoke came through but with the creamy elegance of the panna cotta. Jerusalem artichokes are an overlooked vegetable and put to refined use in this dish.
Cornish Lamb Three Ways was my main course and it was a substantial and architectural plate of full-on lamb flavour. There was crumbed saddle, sweetbread and almonds, and slow-cooked rosemary breast with preserved lemon and spiced date couscous. It’s not often one finds such bold lambiness. A striking dish.
Tenderloin of Pork and crackling with pork cheeks and walnuts, served with potatoes and a side of roasted cauliflower was my companion’s main plate. The whole array was pronounced a satisfying masterpiece, and the crackling got a particular thumbs-up from this lover of all things porcine.
Gilbey’s Lemon Tart was our shared finale, we being too filled with memorable savouries to have any room to do justice to two puds. I can only presume that all desserts are good, if the tart was anything to go by. But one could say that about every dish at Gilbey’s, so more visits are in order.
Phone: +44 (0)1753 854921
81-83 High Street