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WLC Eats: The Dining Room at The Goring

Douglas Blyde visits a “revitalised” Dining Room at The Goring, where he finds a “globe-trotting” wine list and a classic dining experience delivered with warmth and care.

“Gone is the stuffy (dare I say tired?) sense of decorum wrapped up in the overly dignified furniture,” wrote Country & Town House’s Olivia Emily. However, thankfully, the “gleaming silver cloches and butter-soft beef wellington” remain confirmed Hazel Plush in The Telegraph.


The quirky bastion of Britishness is so close to Buckingham Palace’s gardens that it could be considered another wing. Opening in 1910, it set standards of luxury by being the capital’s first hotel to offer central heating and individual bathrooms in every bedroom.

Still owned and run by the descendants of the original family, the five-star hotel is overseen by chief executive, Jeremy Goring, shown in silhouette on charger plates, while the larger-than-life chairman, David Morgan-Hewitt, dining by the fireplace on our visit, has been an ebullient presence in this haven of Belgravia for three decades.

The peculiar fibre fronds which once glowed jarringly blue in the dining room have been replaced by more flattering, conventional chandeliers as part of a cossetting redesign, including multiple banquettes, by Russell Sage Studio (67 Pall Mall, Glenmorangie House, Fife Arms). Aping The Beatles, art includes a painting of “The Goring’s” on drums and guitars, with fanciful wallpaper embroiling various jungle fauna. The refurbishment reaches beyond a mere facelift, however. After 36 years, a brand new all-electric kitchen suite by Menu System is faced by a commanding six-seat chef’s counter beside an Evogro micro shoots fridge.


Three years into his tenure at The Goring, Lorenzo Tili has ascended to the role of head sommelier, replacing Brittany-born Jean-Baptiste Lemoine who segued to the position of deputy director of food and beverage. Resplendent in a blazing red velvet jacket onto which a glittering sommelier badge was pinned, Tili mentioned he began his vinous career at Aldgate’s lesser-known Satyrio Restaurant & Wine Merchant, a spot where diners may enjoy Fassona steak tartare with Solaia. He progressed to The Savoy as a senior sommelier under the command of The Goring’s New Delhi-born director of food and beverage, Jeet Chauhan.

The globe-trotting list runs to 28 countries from Austria to New Zealand, via Canada, the Czech Republic, and England. Despite the historic property’s five-star credentials, real effort is made to ensure accessibility. The page dedicated to house wines under £100, includes, with bottle age, Casa Silva Reserva Carmenere 2018 at £53, while £1 more buys the intriguing looking Pisano Rio de los Pajaros Reserve Tannat 2013. At the top end, Petrus is close to retail price, with the 2000 vintage at £6,900, while £3,400 brings the 1994 into reach. Other well-priced bottles include 2012 Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux (£400), and Graham’s 1966 port (£369). Through a concerted en primeur programme, Tili aims to keep sought-after classics within reach of mere mortals for years to come.

Sparkling wines range from English offerings from standard-issue Coates & Seely NV Brut (£125) and the inaugural 2017 Blanc de Blancs from Hundred Hills (£175) to, disgorged in 2007, Dom Pérignon’s 1975 Oenotheque (£3,120). Other notable effervescent bottles include Laurent-Perrier’s rare Alexandra Rosé, 2012, at £700, and Bollinger’s Vieilles Vignes Françaises Blanc de Noirs 2005 at £1,200.

Creations in the bar are overseen by MD, Jeremy Goring, including a take on The Penicillin, The King’s Cure, starring The King’s Ginger, honey, and tincture of pink peppercorn.


Bathed in natural light, the kitchen is led by Claridge’s trained executive chef, Graham Squire who previously worked at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Trinity in Clapham, then at West Sussex’s Lickfold Inn with Story’s Tom Sellers.

After a polished-looking, flavoursome beetroot macaron heightened by brightening yuzu gel at the granite chef’s counter, lunch began back in the textured dining room with a visit from the busy champagne trolley. Vinified in 20-year-old oak barrels, La Grande Année 2014 from Bollinger, which, like The Goring, holds a royal warrant, brought weight to Jersey rock oysters dressed with crème fraiche, dill and pickled gooseberries. The successful combination resulted in an aftertaste of dewy lettuce. Adding impact, the big Bollinger also dovetailed with what was described as a “controversial” Marmite butter which caused our guest to wince, leaving us the pleasure of having more to eat.

More shellfish ensued in the immovable dish, The Goring Eggs Drumkilbo, said to be a favourite of the late Queen Mother. The eggs applied to the translucent lobster cocktail with roasted tomato and compressed cucumber transpired to be aged caviar. A soothing crab muffin topped with tasty, posh Chinese takeaway-grade deep-fried parsley was served in a crab shell inexplicably filled with sunflower seeds. With it, Tili served “a wine from the Peloponnese”. Beyond a label showing the presumed serving suggestion of three fishes, the 2022 Monograph Assyrtiko by Gaia offered, said Tili, “more freshness than Santorini,” which is where the producer also has a winery. Perhaps out of habit, given the clientele here tends towards being more mature, Tili noted, “Don’t be fooled by its screwcap” as he poured the agile wine, which had intriguing celery notes.

A Fillet of Aylesbury duck, aged in a dedicated kitchen cabinet, was prepared in a water bath, then crisped in the pan and plated next to a very good spiced pain perdu with hazelnut. The bit on the side, a lollipop-like confit leg, escaped dryness, showing technique. In the context of the restaurant’s overall pricing, truffled heritage potato purée bore a lot of truffle for £10. With this main act, Tili drew a glass of Flor de Pingus 2013, organic since day one, into a miniature decanter via Coravin, which felt more gastronomic a serve than Pyrex-type measuring jars we have seen elsewhere. With tobacco and leather notes, it brought both “intensity and smoothness” to the dish, said Tili, “which is something Tempranillo can do.”

Finally, the second trolley of the meal was conveyed to show the theatre of the famous rum baba flambé, filmed, with permission, by the neighbouring table. Echoing the caramelised pineapple-infused rum notes of the dish, bottle 576 of 1,000 of Les Demoiselles Côteaux du Layon from 2017 proved the best pairing, which was improved further by the addition of a lemongrass cream.

Last Word

Revitalised, this special dining room, which we suspect can never be franchised, continues to deliver a classic dining experience with warmth and care. If we could alter one aspect, it would be for wines to arrive before the dishes so Tili and his team can have sufficient time to explain his thoughtful pairings without the fear of dishes cooling.

Best for:

  • Gentle mark-ups on costlier bottles
  • Refined British cuisine including staple signatures
  • Jovial, opulent, comfortable decor

Value: 92.5, Size: 95, Range: 96, Originality: 95, Experience: 97; Total: 95.1

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