An iconic restaurant set within one of London’s most prestigious addresses, The Grill by Tom Booton at The Dorchester, is marking the next chapter in its evolution with a brand-new menu that showcases the best of Britain’s bounty with modern, playful takes on local classics.
Led by Essex-born Tom Booton, a captivating talent in London’s culinary scene, the restaurant has turned a new leaf, delivering a reinvented culinary offering that reflects the chef’s bubbly personality and infectious charm. Prepared with finesse by Tom and his exceptional team, the enticing array of dishes showcases their shared passion to create a homely dining experience, with each creation designed to be shared. Breaking free from tradition yet remaining rooted in its locale through the use of carefully sourced British produce, the latest menu breathes new life into this vibrant, historic venue in the heart of London.
Upon arrival, the dining experience will be kicked off with a selection of snacks created at the Chef’s Counter. Small bites, including Welsh lamb belly and cuttlefish skewers, are sure to whet guests’ appetites before an array of small plates to share are served, featuring crowd-pleasers like a Cornish dressed crab tart and white pudding on brioche. Make sure to leave space for the main event, which brims with dishes that pack a flavour punch, including the inventive “All the Chicken” that uses this delectable bird in various ways. Pudding is a must, too, with Tom’s signature soft serves and sweet treats like a baked apple tart with cider and Cornish Yarg on offer.
The laid-back menu — which debuted on 18 May 2023 — perfectly complements the restaurant’s joyful atmosphere. With elements that reflect Tom’s splendid spirit incorporated throughout, including a playlist specially curated by the chef himself, the restaurant welcomes guests with a warm embrace. Complete with open cooking stations featuring Big Green Egg barbecues, personal touches adorn the gilded interiors, while the interactive four-seater Chef’s Counter adds a theatrical spark, offering visitors a front-row view of the chefs in action.
In addition to the menu relaunch, guests can enjoy a special Sunday lunch offering and a new daily breakfast service. For the all-important first meal of the day, diners can delight in signature dishes like truffled egg and soldiers, The Grill’s interpretation of a full English breakfast, Arnold Bennett omelette, and Tom’s bacon, cheesy sauce, and fried egg baked pastry.
FOUR catches up with Tom to learn about what led him to pursue a career in the culinary arts and hear more about the new menu at The Grill by Tom Booton…
Tell us more about your background: where you were born, what was your upbringing like, and who/what inspired you to become a chef?
I grew up in Colchester in Essex, which is also where I started my career as a chef at Le Talbooth. I moved to London in 2013, where I worked for Michelin-starred chef Alyn Williams at The Westbury, then moved to L’Autre Pied under Andy Mcfadden. In 2015, I went travelling and worked in restaurants in New York, Copenhagen and Iceland. I moved back to the UK in 2016 and have been here ever since. In 2016 I worked for Ollie Dabbous as a sous chef before I moved to be head chef at Alyn Williams.
I fell in love with the hustle of the kitchen the moment I stepped through the doors at Le Talbooth at age 15. I thrive in the high-pressure environment of a professional kitchen and find that it makes you work in a more cohesive and efficient way as a team – I love the camaraderie you find in the kitchen.
What/who would you say was the most significant experience/chef that impacted your culinary philosophy and why?
Ian Rhodes, my Executive Chef at Le Talbooth, has had a huge influence on me and my career. I spent five years learning the ropes from him and learnt so much. I’m also grateful to chef Alyn Williams for giving me a platform to showcase my ideas and being a great source of inspiration for many years.
What food and principles are most significant in your cuisine now, and how do you realise these in your dishes at your restaurant?
For me, I focus on simplicity; I think to myself, “How can the ingredients inspire the final dish?” The dishes are all ingredient-led as I like to think of my cooking as shining a light on local producers and their exceptional produce. I believe that when you cook with respect, the ingredients speak for themselves on the plate.
Tell us more about what diners can expect from their experience at The Grill by Tom Booton…
The new menu is centred on a sharing-led concept designed to highlight British produce and create a relaxed and informal atmosphere. I have tried to put my own unique stamp on the menu, with modern twists on British home cooking classics. The more relaxed approach of the menu is reflected in the fun atmosphere of the restaurant, with a playlist that I have personally created and will be on all music streaming services so guests can recreate and listen at home. We are also introducing a new Chef’s Counter with live cooking to really bring the guest experience to life. I hope these changes will elevate The Grill to become even more of a destination restaurant than it has been in the past. Having my name on a restaurant at The Dorchester is really exciting.
Do you have any favourite ingredients to use?
I particularly love the seasonal ingredients in spring; asparagus, peas, morels, and wild garlic.
Where do you source your produce from, and why from these producers/locations?
We have fantastic suppliers all around the country. Flying fish in Cornwall, HG Walter in London, and we try to source all of our fruit and veg from local suppliers.
Do you have any favourite dishes or any that have unique stories/inspirations behind them?
One of my favourite dishes on the new menu has to be ‘All the chicken’, which is chicken served in a variety of ways, along with a choice of sides such as jacket potato with bacon and cheese. This dish is the perfect mix of all your home comforts but elevated and refined to a restaurant standard. The dish reminds me of weekday dinners growing up.
Any advice you’d give to your younger self or the next generation of chefs?
Work hard but also work smart. Find a chef who you can really learn from and stick with them for a few years to learn all the good and bad things before moving on. Don’t give up, and remember, every day is a school day in the kitchen.
Tell us about your plans for the rest of 2023? Anything special lined up (e.g. collaborations), or any goals/dreams you are hoping to achieve?
I am cooking at Royal Ascot again this year, which is always such a fun experience. It is a very busy week, but always worth it. I also have a few other things in the pipeline, but you’ll have to wait for those!
To find out more about The Grill by Tom Booton and book, contact the restaurant using the below details: