The Dorchester – for breakfast – restaurant review

It’s one of London’s most iconic hotels. Ask any local or tourist to name a couple of the most famous hotels in London and the Dorchester is liable to be one of those mentioned. It’s been around for a while, since 1931, so it deserves the accolade of Classic with all the positive connotations that word affords.The Dorchester

During the Second World War, the strength of the Dorchester’s concrete construction gave the hotel the reputation of being one the safest buildings in town. Winston Churchill stayed in the hotel, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower took a suite on the first floor, now the Eisenhower Suite.

The hotel closed for a couple of years in the 1980s. Some areas were showing their age and it needed an injection of technology and amenity. The Dorchester has, however, maintained some public areas that offer that opulence of another age, sporting characteristics that we all crave but which are so often lost with unsympathetic refits.

Its location has, no doubt, helped with its prestigious reputation. It’s found on Park Lane in Mayfair, overlooking Hyde Park. Not a bad address, but every hotelier knows that guests will not return if the interior doesn’t match the location, and if service and customer care fall short. There is plenty of competition out there but The Dorchester has maintained its creditable position.

The imposing facade is softened by thoughtful planting, presenting the guest with a veritable cascade of flower and foliage, but the real Dorchester treasures are found the other side of the revolving doors with polished brass trim. It’s the striking Promenade which, for me at least, is the epitome of timeless charm.

The Promenade is a comfy space, a vision of old gold and architectural features that transport one back to a genteel era when potted palms were the norm and one had plenty of staff to polish the silver, and the butler wore a morning suit.

OK, so not many of us have maids and footmen but we can borrow a little of the Dorchester’s luxury every time we visit. It’s a big and sumptuous hotel but it’s not intimidating. Every guest is made to feel at home – like they belong and most importantly, like they are special.

The Dorchester breakfast It was an early morning treat for us – breakfast at a cosy side table in the Promenade. Crisp linen, gleaming cutlery as one would expect, and a stand that would soon be garnished with a plate of croissants, pains au chocolat, Danish pastries and muffins. All of these are made at the Dorchester so you’ll know they are fresh. Small dainties with amber shine. Almost too good to eat… almost.

The Dorchester Bacon Buttie was reassuring and intriguing. It would seem an oxymoron: one of the smartest hotels in London offering butties. Well, yes indeed and it was, just as one would hope, a memorable creation with sweet cured bacon, belly pork and a fried egg served on focaccia. In truth this was such a tower of food that the top segment of bread was presented leaning on the side of the sandwich. This wasn’t a light breakfast option but it was somewhat more interesting than the traditional British breakfast which, although a favourite, can be had almost everywhere.

The belly pork was a delicious departure from a regular breakfast sandwich.  It was sweet, flavourful and with the correct and comforting ratio of meat to creamy fat. That fat is key to the success of the dish. The condiments were, however, traditional: tomato ketchup and brown sauce. Diners will have a strongly-held preference for one or the other and that’s as it should be, but anyway I think there is a law against smearing both; if there isn’t there should be.

The Dorchester does have a breakfast menu of healthy Bircher muesli, cereals or fruit salad for those who treat their bodies like temples – although I did notice a miniature jar of very adult chocolate spread to help down the healthy five-seeded wholemeal bread. Wholemeal toast and carrot and courgette muffins might well be my choice on a future visit.

The Dorchester buttie Tea is an essential part of any English breakfast and we enjoyed a pot or two of the speciality teas from Harney and Sons, including The Dorchester Blend, a light and refreshing brew that was a delicate foil for the richness of both bacon and pork, and the sticky moreishness of those little pastries.

The Dorchester will not disappoint. It’s been the regular home-from-home for many a celebrity and fatigued businessman, and increasingly for those of us who just periodically like to indulge in the finer things in life. It’s not the cheapest of hotels but it remains the spot that offers predictable quality and a particular ambiance that is hard to replicate – the place for an accessible and memorable treat at any time of the day.

The Dorchester
Park Lane, London W1K 1QA

Phone: 020 7629 8888
Reservations: 020 7317 6500
Fax: 020 7629 8080

Visit the Dorchester here


Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018


Read reviews of other Breakfast restaurants here