Review: The Door Oyster Bar & Grill

Mimi ON Feb 15, 2012 AT 3:02 pm

By Alan Greenhalgh

Big steaks and juicy oysters for City boys and their admirers. It’s universally acknowledged, that a singleton in possession of, even, a ‘reduced’ banker’s bonus, must be in want of a night of oysters, champagne and jazz. City slickers can be found bubbling away here at the Door Oyster Bar and Grill, 33 Cornhill in the City of London.

The Door Oyster Bar and Grill

The Door Oyster Bar and Grill

We are in the mood for a funny valentine on a Thursday night, and Cry Me A River is drifting up from live jazz standards in the bar below. From our perch on the glass-fronted mezzanine we watch as time goes by on the magnificent clock. There are the City trappings – dark woods, leather-clad handrails, glass walls and silver ceilings giving it a slick feel for a grand old space. The bar is the pivot of the restaurant with its marble counters hosting you,  catch of the day.

As Time Goes By at the Door

As Time Goes By at the Door

As well as a Roman crossroads and bread market, Cornhill is the site of the world’s first underground public toilet, which opened in 1855. Users were charged a standard fee of 1d, giving rise to the saying to “spend a penny.” I think I may have unearthed the site of the original loos down in the basement and  these women hanging about must be freezing down there.

The Loo paper at The Door

The Loo paper at The Door

Huge ornamental silver salvers that wouldn’t look out of place on Ladies Day at Wimbledon presented the oysters.  I’d gone for a mixed half-dozen oysters (£10) with The Mourne Rock, by far the strongest tasting – ‘a mouth full of sea’, the meaty Natives and the cute North American Kumomoto with their tiny crenellated shells, shucked and unhinged. In the early 19th century, oysters were cheap and mainly eaten by the working class, now they’ve really worked their way up to the big spenders. They were good-looking and so divine.

Oyster Salver at The Door

Oyster Salver at The Door

 

It’s a Grill so, of course, we went for the steaks, but the other mains such as the Scottish Beef Pie £17.50 with Guinness, mushrooms and truffle mash make a return visit inevitable. It seems London has gone mad on Argentinian beef so it made a nice change to go for the American Midwest USDA, prime Angus / Hereford Grass fed and finished for 100 – 150 days on a grain diet. Fillet 10oz (£32.00). Juicy and simply presented with a finger lickingly good port wine reduction gravy. The seasoned chips and the sauce were the highlight for me. Thanks to @JohnPaulChef I’m easily pleased.

Our waitress Dorotha waved seductively about why we should choose the Waygu beef. In her opinion, the cow had the most wonderful life of beer and massages, great, until we pointed out – drawing a finger across our throats – that this life, in spite all its primping and preening, would end up on the plate, dead. It’s a soft, foamy texture, very succulent and at £56 around the same price of a rub down.

Steak at The Door

Steak at The Door

The big surprise was the crimson 2009 Vina ChocolanCarmenere Riserva, Melipilla, Chile (£30.00) which has a big bang of smoky, peppery spice. An explosion on the tongue with lots of ripe, black fruits and velvety tannins  - like a kick in the mouth from a velvet slipper. It’s 85% Carmenère grape, the original Bordeaux grape, thought to have gone extinct after a plague in France in 1867.  It popped up again in 1994 in Chile where the growers had been cultivating it thinking it was Merlot. It’s 14.5% alcohol, so sip slowly.

It was only as we were leaving that Manager Claudio asked if we’d enjoyed the arrival martini:  ’It was delicious but took an age to get us.’ We know because we watched the clock and  saw it sitting on the bar teasingly evaporating. What I didn’t know is that they’d run out of olives and he’d dashed out in the snow to see what he could find. Nice guy, great service.

Chilean Chocalan - velvet slippers

Chilean Chocalan - velvet slippers

In a place where time is money, get here early, especially Wednesday and Thursday evenings.  If you come for lunch and after you can afford some misbehavin’ then head for the Louis Vuitton right opposite.

A glass of Cuvee Brut and a half-dozen oysters at £16 will set you up nicely to land that big fish. Happy angling.

The Door Oyster Bar & Grill, 33 Cornhill, London EC3V 3ND

Tel: 020 7929 1378  info@thedoor-group.com

@TheDoorLondon

Opening times: Monday to Friday 11.30am – 11.00pm

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