From opening in Leeds in 2002, Room restaurant has grown into a small (3) but perfectly formed chain of glam and glitz brasseries in the north of England. Their signature is retro cuisine with a twist, cocktail bars from until late and are known as the haunt of celebrities from A – Z.
Enter their second phase with Grille restaurants. A new label, a similar theme. The first opened in one of London’s hippest areas and now in Harrogate. Grille is in the newly refurbished Balmoral Hotel, no stranger to fashionable restaurants, once home to the (then) trend setting Villu Toots.
It’s hard to separate what is different about Grille from Room except Grille has avoided the city centre, opting instead for a leafy street, off the Kings Road.
Mustard coloured leather banquettes line the room, dark wood polished floors and touches of discreet art on the exposed brick walls give a feeling of New York eateries and surprisingly, looks at home here in Harrogate.
The restaurant emerges from the hotel reception, so there is a constant movement of people, crying babies and mobile phones ringing. If you want a quiet place, this isn’t for you.
On my visit staff are almost equal to customers so we are never short of attention. The menu is concise while trying to offer something for everyone. There is a daily special, starters, pasta, sandwiches, mains, grills and some tempting nursery puddings. You can eat from £7.00 for a croque monsieur, up to £20.00 for a T-Bone, but most hover around £12.00. Wines are equally well placed. By the glass from £3.85, bottles 13.95 to £35, and a selection of reserve wines from £40 up to £80.
A chicken liver parfait is ‘very livery’ but nonetheless enjoyable. A prawn cocktail unconventional with the prawns mixed with unevenly chopped red and spring onions – a touch overpowering for the poor prawns! Though beautifully presented on a large rectangular plate it still felt a little overpriced at £7.50.
The same can’t be said for the steak, a fat succulent rump, heady pepper sauce, and divine chips - classic cooking at its best and worth every penny. I had reservations about it being served on a wooden board but was adequately reassured on its cleanliness by the charming waitress.
A classic Pork Holstein had a crisp crumb coating, a tender escalope within and soft-yolked fried egg on top and again was outstanding.
Buyer beware though, side dishes are £2.95 each, bottled water £3.50. Our two-course midweek supper with three glasses of wine and water cost a hefty £71.00. There is however a great early-bird menu of a choice from seven main dishes for £7.00 if you fancy eating before .
Though only open for two weeks there is already a buzz about the place and I am sure it is only going to get louder.
Subsequent to my visit, I am informed Grille have restructured prices throughout the menu and wine list which is great news. The overpriced prawn cocktail is £6.95 and those costly side dishes now a more respectable £2.50. With the new prices our dinner would have cost a more reasonable £59.00 - almost a bargain for food of this quality.