Terrace Grill and Bar, Le Meridien Hotel, Piccadilly

Finding a good hotel in London is a challenge, one with its own excellent restaurant is a rarity. Le Meridien Hotel in Piccadilly now offers both with the newly renovated Terrace Grill and Bar. The revamped restaurant is rapidly becoming known for their British meat and seafood grills and the popular gin bar. The interiors have been refreshed in a modern British style by Anita Rosato Interior Design; the drinking lounge is found on the lower level, with the bright and airy restaurant on above.

For me, dining early in the evening is a must and walking into the sophisticated reception of Le Meridien I instantly knew the meal ahead would be special. We were escorted through the grand hall restaurant to our lovely window table with a view of Piccadilly Circus down below. We gossiped while drinking glasses of the chilled house white. Exciting bread rolls arrived, conjoined white and brown parts for those unable to choose between the varieties!

There are a huge range of starters on offer, fish and meat, but predicting a feast ahead, I chose a vegetarian option, despite feeling very tempted by the Pork Belly. The beetroot, goat’s cheese tart with watercress, pine nuts and herb oil was a modest dish, hot homemade pastry containing the sweet beetroot and cheese filling. The flavours worked well together but I found the whole dish a little too salty unfortunately. My guest’s Devilled Whitebait with Cracked black pepper & lemon dip came highly recommended from our quiet but sweet waitress. Presented breadcrumbed and fried in a basket they looked and smelt divine. They were appreciated but the portion size was too generous to finish.

We felt we must indulge in the Terrace’s prestigious steaks and were both thrilled when epic slabs of meat were placed in front of us, juicy and sizzling straight from the grill. There are three varieties on offer: Surrey Farm beef, Red Poll Beef and Ginger Pig Longhorn beef, each with different cuts depending on the breed. My friend chose Surrey Farm Fillet and I had Red Poll Sirloin – each was cooked exactly to our specifications. My steak was beautifully prepared with a rich aged flavour. I would highly recommend the green peppercorn sauce which I found to be a great mix of spicy and creamy with a sweet kick flavoured with crunchy whole peppercorns. It was lovely with the sirloin steak, the Red wine Jus I found dull in comparison. Priced between £22 and £42 pounds, the Terrace steaks are worth every penny, the highest quality meat chosen carefully for its impeccable taste. Silence fell over our table as we both gorged on our meat, very unladylike!

We perhaps ordered a few too many sides, indecisive about which accompaniments we desired. The green salad was dry and rather uninteresting but the tomato salad was fresh and tangy a lovely contrast with the steak. The chips on offer are fat and double cooked, crispy edged and soft inside, wicked when dunked in the mayonnaise.

It was the dessert menu that really indicated the British inspiration to me: fabulously fun recipes like Knickerbocker Glory (my childhood favourite) and Arctic Roll. We opted for Treacle Tart with brown bread ice-cream and Lemon syllabub with shortbread biscuit. The tart slice was presented exquisitely with spun sugar decoration, sweet and comforting just as treacle tart should be but with an innovative twist of uniquely flavoured ice-cream. The syllabub was creamy and very citrusy, too much to finish, but my pudding wasn’t as pretty as my friend’s! The finest fresh mint tea was delivered in lovely glass teapots and we sipped for as long we could, enjoying the meal too much to leave.

I can imagine visitors to London would love the new Terrace Grill and Bar as it boasts the best of British food in a relaxed but classy environment… demonstrating the style and refinement of the Meridien brand and complementing the hotel perfectly.

Visit the website here for more information and to book.

42Raw, Piccadilly

42Raw is the new healthy café-restaurant located inside the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts. The name, 42Raw refers to the type of cuisine served: Raw food only ever heated to below 42 degrees, the maximum temperature for cooking vegetables before the enzymes are broken down and some of the essential goodness is lost.

It is a brilliantly simple but inventive concept and one that I suspect will succeed tremendously with the yummy mummies and other health conscious Londoners. This new cult dining is introduced to the city by founder Jesper Rydahl who opened the original 42Raw in Copenhagen in 2009.

42 Raw manages to banish the rabbit food stereotype of raw fruit and vegetables, instead offering satisfying breakfasts, fresh and flavoursome salads, delicious tapas, Lasagne and noodle dishes. The café also makes wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables juices.

I dashed to 42Raw on my lunch break for a midday health kick and to speak the concept’s Founder, Jesper about his bright new idea. The weather in London was blissfully sunny, the ideal day for a light green meal. When I arrived at the outside seating area an artistic colourful salad and a wholesome dark green drink sat waiting for me on the wooden table. It soon became apparent that my salad was the Mango & Pumpkin seed Salad (£6) with courgette, avocado, mango, salty pumpkin seeds and mango-chilli dressing. It was light and refreshing with a thoughtful combination of flavours and textures: soft avocado, wafer thin courgette slices and extra crunchy seeds contrasting to create exciting and yummy mouthfuls. The fresh cubes of mango added an unexpected sweetness and there was a subtle spicy kick from the dressing. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, and finished feeling full but flat tummied!

For dessert I tried a slice of date cake, made without any dairy. It was incredibly dense and strongly flavoured, not quite light and sweet enough for me but nonetheless very interesting in texture and taste and a clever pudding alternative.

I think the 42Raw products would sell successfully in boutique independent shops, they would certainly appeal to women who want to cut calories without sacrificing flavour. But for now, the restaurant venue in central London is a lovely airy place to enjoy a healthy, tasty lunch in the summer breeze. You can indulge without feeling you have to justify it with a run later.

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans but certainly intended for all foodies.

Visit the 42Raw website here for more information.