Behind one of London’s oldest pubs is one of London’s oldest steakhouses is how The Guinea Grill describes itself, but even that description doesn’t quite capture the charm of this singular venue. Nestled down one of Mayfair’s well-appointed mews the exterior to the Young’s pub is similar to many others in the country – hanging baskets, frosted glass windows, hordes of customers, pints in hand, convening around the entrance – the only thing that hints that something different awaits beyond is the appearance of a doorman, dressed in top hat and a green topcoat with golden buttons and lapels ready to great diners.
Located to the rear of the public bar (customers are obliged to walk past a meat counter displaying the selection of cuts from which they will inevitably choose) the Guinea Grill provides a pause in time in the capital’s dining scene and an experience that feels a million miles from its glitzy neighbours such as Sexy Fish, Amazonico and Park Chinois.
The Guinea Grill restaurant has been open since 1952 and one suspects little has changed in the wood-panelled dining room in the intervening half century or so. On the menu classics abound, from starters of prawn cocktail and devilled kidneys or sweetbreads on toast to its award-winning pies. The classic steak cuts all feature, and to fully ramp home the meaty message diners can choose to amplify their meals with ‘complements’ that include lamb cutlets, calves liver, lamb kidneys, ox hearts, and sausages as well as sauces and sides such as pancetta confit potatoes.
What all this amounts to is a meal of epic proportions, but where quality still prevails over quantity. And save some room for a drink in the front bar afterwards, where you’ll no doubt find gregarious landlord Oisin Rogers holding court with the regulars.