The Handbook
The Handbook

Since its opening in 1910 (when the price of  a room was just 7s 6d, the equivalent of 37p!), The Goring has become a quintessential part of luxury London. The family run hotel has continually been named as the top hotel in London and indeed in Europe. Having become synonymous with the Royal family, in 2010 it was granted a Royal Warrant for Hospitality Services by Her Majesty The Queen.

But now they have something new to celebrate, the arrival of new chef Shay Cooper whose aim is to take the menu to the next level and so The Handbook booked a table and spent the evening indulging in The Dining Room.

There was one word for it: faultless.

There was a low murmured buzz as the large room slowly filled up with diners, the atmosphere was relaxed and the Edwardian room was elegant, grand and yet without the stuffiness one might expect – the waiters were attentive, personable and highly knowledgeable but also humorous and friendly.

We started with one of Shay’s new dishes the Arbroath Smokie kedgeree it was creamy but light, and the fish was beautifully smoked. We also tried the famous Eggs Drumkilbo, much loved by the Queen’s Mother, which has been honed by Shay using tomato consommé jelly and caviar.

When you take something as simple and as humble as an omelette and combine it with rich lobster, creamy béchamel sauce and a bit of cayenne pepper you get a thing of beauty, The Goring’s signature Lobster Omelette which is now served as a main course and with crisp triple- cooked chips in duck fat. We highly recommend it.

Not being one to say no to the cheese board, the waiter served up a selection of his favourites – we say selection, there were about 8… which included a soft, strong cheddar, a pungent stilton with plenty of damson chutney and of course port.

We finished with a light iced lemon parfait and a creamy rice pudding with caramelised apple, which the waiter advised me not to choose on the basis that it would be too much cream after the cheese.  Alas I was defiant and ordered it, the waiter was right, it was too much cream. Not being able to finish it was my only regret and it was nostalgic, comfort food.

Having an unfounded fear of being the only one in a restaurant, it says something that, even without music being played I seemed to be at ease when we realised that we were the last ones drinking and setting the world to rights.

No doubt the arrival of Shay Cooper has only ensured that The Dining Room at The Goring will remain as one of London’s iconic hotels.