A Knightsbridge hotel restaurant is definitely of the fancy schmancy variety, but that doesn't mean a meal at the Rib Room at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower can't be great value. Lunch is a perfect case in point: a two course set is £19; three courses, £25. Ordering a la carte doesn't necessarily have to yield especially astronomical results either but could very likely result in gastronomic delight.
Beef tartare (fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef prepared at your table, £16 starter, £32 main) is among the most expertly made and presented in town ... and if you know just how you like yours prepared, it's something of a carnivore's bespoke dream. A starter of organic Stilton and pear salad, walnuts, honeycomb and croutons (£10.50) provides a rather wholesale yet nonetheless delicious intro to what could prove to be a most indulgent dining experience. Indulging from the first taste is easy enough though. Consider the lobster and smoked salmon, pickled cucumber, Charlotte potato salad with egg yolk dressing (£20) or go retro with the Rib Room prawn cocktail, served with Marie Rose sauce and cos lettuce (£18).
Mains are meaty. And the most recommendable (at least for first timer customers) has to be the beef rib four ways: braised short rib, slow roasted flank, char grilled tournedos and marrow bone burger (£29). Every bite is gorgeous. And as macho as it sounds, the dish comes to the table looking dainty and neat. No slabs o' cow spilling over the plate. It's a good way to savour an epic feast while at least appearing to show some restraint.
Dessert's no afterthought here. Macerated blood oranges, vanilla bean ice cream, hazelnut sauce and popcorn honeycomb (£8.50) satisfies and completes with a scrumptious harmony of flavours and is but one of a handful of yummy afters.
Not sure which wine to choose? If the sommelier's around, she'll be happy to sort things out for you. Head sommelier Louise Gordon knows her stuff and recommends her quaffs affably and with confidence. A bottle of 2004 Château de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel (£69) seemed a smart selection during our visit. But before you call for her, at least have an attempt at choosing your own vino via the iPad wine list. It's a lot of fun and nifty use of technology in this otherwise old school setting.
All that – and service too. The Rib Room's wait staff is among the most competent you're apt to come across in London. For example, waiter Mindy's been with the restaurant for decades. He's intuitively gracious sharing the knowledge to help make your read of the menu translate into happy dining.
The accolades could continue (we haven't even mentioned the craftsmanship going on behind the bar!), but the point's been made: this is proper upscale British cuisine minus the stodge and without any hype.
Young'uns and tweeting foodie upstarts may blather on and about meat this and meat that as if nobody in England had eaten an animal before the onset of the 21st century. But the 50 year old Rib Room reassures that enjoying masterfully made meat dishes in London is something that's been going on for quite some time.
The Rib Room is located at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel, Cadogan Place, SW1X 9PY.
Disclosure: Londonist visited the Rib Room upon invitation of the restaurant.