The Guinea Grill, nice but next door is much nicer
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.
Update to review: so I went back to the Guinea with mate Shandy Andy who has been working abroad in the Middle East and had missed the comforts of home especially a proper cooked breakfast. He flew in early one Friday morning so I decided to try the Guinea for breakfast. It had been mentioned loads of times on Social Meeja as having the ultimate breakfast so I thought why not. I booked through a concierge service I get through my bank and was offered complimentary champagne with our booking. Unfortunately the staff on that morning didn’t off us anything extra, i didn’t push it but I was a bit annoyed to see them fawn over another table who were mates of the landlord Oisin Rogers and were offered bubbles. Had he been in attendance I would have said something but it’s obvious the poor staff having to open up at 7:30AM hadn’t been told about our glass of bubbles.
Food was good as my previous visit, you get a lot of very nice breakfast for your £24 as you can probably see from the photo. I was initially fooled when plates came out covered in beans, mushrooms fried bread and eggs but then our meats came out separately to complete a gargantuan breakfast. It was obviously quieter at breakfast time with only 3 tables taken. Service was good. it’s not my favourite looking dining room as I mentioned previously but it does have character. as it’s open earlier than over places it is a good West End option if a pricey one.