it was a bitterly cold evening outside and I was up for a hearty feast, so we opted for Gregg’s Bar & Grill at the Bermondsey Square Hotel. We took a seat in a snug booth watching people crossing the square in the pouring rain.
Charlotte, the young manager, introduced herself giving us some background on the menu, the chef and his team. I thought, ‘She certainly needs no tips from Gok Wan!’
The chef, Jordi Vila from Barcelona, heads up an almost all-Spanish cast in the immense open-plan kitchen. The fantastic aromas from the hotplate really get the appetite going and dishes passing by made me think, “Wow! The Spanish really know how to handle meat.”
After a succulent Calamari with black squid ink dip and Jordi’s gorgeous home-cured salmon with fresh horseradish as starters, on our table landed lamb cutlets and a 40-day hung rib-eye steak. These arrived, cooked to perfection, accompanied by chunky chips and mushrooms in red wine.
“fantastic aromas from the hotplate really get the appetite going
The surprise of the evening was being introduced to Gregg himself whose enthusiasm and passion for food was great to see. He came over holding a plate with a new dish he was thinking of adding to his repertoire. From this point on it started to feel more like I’d been invited to a private dinner party.
I’ve never been to a place where the chef has come over at the end of my meal and given me a big hug and a bag of chocolate truffles to take home. But this is the kind of thing that made the Bermondsey Square Hotel and Gregg’s Bar & Grill a very different experience. I know this is a place that has a reputation for being unconventional but this was hospitality with a capital ‘H’.
Considering the food I’d packed away I was amazed to leave still feeling bubbly, which is unusual for me, perhaps it’s the hug from Jordi that helped!
For one week in the autumn cameras suddenly descended on Bermondsey Square and took over the hotel and restaurant to become the main event for one week on Channel 4 as ‘Hotel GB’. It was fast and furious reality TV that saw young hopefuls getting their 15 minutes or more of fame and opportunity as they struggled to learn the ropes of hospitality overnight and in a spotlight.
Local resident and fashion guru Gok Wan was in charge of the bar, Gordon Ramsey ran the kitchen and Mary Portas was responsible for customer service. Chaos, tears and laughter followed in quick succession and then the TV crews moved out and real life in the square resumed.
Look out for some fantastic fun events this season at the hotel including a three course Christmas Day meal with all the trimmings at £39.95, New Years Eve party with complimentary bubbly and ‘Dinners hosted by Gregg’ in the New Year which is bound to be loads of fun with real hearty food. Check out the website for details.
Gregg’s Bar & Grill
Bermondsey Square Hotel
Tower Bridge Road
t: 020 7378 2450
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