So you go out and try a new place when really you wanted to go to an old dependable haunt, well this was it. My lovely wife and I were catching up with old friend Frank in the West End. She suggested various tried and trusted options such as Bellamy's but I pushed that we try the Guinea Grill, an upscale pub on Bruton Place that had always attracted good notices due to it's old world charm and no nonsense menu. Our friend Frank despite being antipodean is a massive anglophile, he loves all things british particularly Her Majesty the Queen. I thought that the oak panelled traditional menu of the Guinea would be right up his street.
Interestingly the week prior to our visit The Queen had actually been out for dinner on Bruton Place but had gone to Bellamy's which is 2 doors down. Bellamy's is lovely, it's a swish french brasserie with bags of charm, well spaced tables. So the problem is that sat in the very cramped Guinea dining room eating very nice food but I wish I'd booked next door. Don't get me wrong we enjoyed our food but a cramped slightly stuffy backroom of a pub was not the vibe we were looking for.
The menu harks back to the glory days of the city and West End. I get in the mood by ordering the Guinea grill which is a massive but expertly cooked mix grill. The others have a very tasty pie and rack of lamb. Service is smart but it's difficult to fully relax when you are so close to your besuited fellow diners. As you enter there is a display of that days best cuts of meats and the plentiful staff are friendly and knowledgeable. However this is a classic big restaurant stuck in a too smaller space. If this operation was scaled up to a space like Hawksmoor it would work .
Also it's not cheap and for what I spent here I could have dined two doors down at a proper table, availed myself of a their superb wine list and got a big bowl of minstrels with my coffee. Frank enjoyed his meal but when I told him that the queen had gone to Bellamy's he insisted we show him after our meal at the Guinea Grill. Anyway there you go, Guinea Grill has great food and service but at those prices you might as well sit in comfort next door.