The one thing about Grand Hotel Dining Room (also known as The Grand) that I will say I don’t like is its name. It just won’t stick in my mind – people will ask me about that restaurant I tried out in Richmond, I will probably come up with random combinations of The Grand Room or something similar. We choose this restaurant as a way to unwind in the lead up to exams – many of us are preparing for physicians exams later in February and we felt it was necessary to relax now and then – and what better way than to have a nice meal together (after study group mind you).
This place is in the entertainment book and offers quite a decent discount of 25% off up to $45. Those of you who own the entertainment card will know of the urge to use as many of the offers as possible before the end of June!
Anyway, on arrival we were quite surprised to find the restaurant quite empty – I guess we did have an early booking for dinner at 6:30pm. The restaurant itself is lovely – light streaming through arched windows and an elegant backdrop for photos. As customers steadily streamed through to fill the restaurant it became quite clear to me the place was quite intended for fine dining – in fact, looking around we seemed rather under-dressed.
For entrees to share, we had one of their specials – the mussels. They were cooked in a tomato based broth and just the way I like them. big and juicy and perfect accompanied by bread. All great restaurants serve complimentary bread don’t they?
This was followed by beef carpaccio which probably wasn’t quite the right combination of entrees – this was our fault of course.
Mains wise, I had the roast duck with semolina goncchi, orange and juniper berry sauce. Beautifully roasted duck with a crispy skin. I wish they had been more generous with the gnocchi because it was lovely – the whole dish however was well portioned and clearly intended to be served with a side of vegetables. It’s a shame we didn’t order one or two to share. Without a vegetable side this main became quite heavy!
My friend ordered the whole snapper which he enjoyed but felt a bit shocked at the price when it came to paying the bill (it was mentioned as a special so it wasn’t on the menu – personally I like having specials on a board like they often did in Paris…)
The grilled baby chicken with charred radicchio and bed of artichokes, cherry tomato and black cabbage was hearty and quite tender. Beautifully presented.
The loin of venison was also quite enjoyable being juicy and cooked medium rare.
The tagliatelle sounded fantastic with a combination of wild boar and porcini ragu – my friend remarked it didn’t taste that out of the ordinary though.
I think from all these dishes the feeling was that at The Grand, they serve beautiful Italian fare – classic dishes done well without puzzling taste experiments or excessive plating. Whilst the prices at this restaurant aren’t cheap, given the decor, quality of waiting staff and the meals, I’d say it has earned its hat this year and am not surprised it has won it on seven previous occasions.
Very uncharacteristically, there aren’t any photos of dessert because we didn’t have any here! We drove to Messina to have gelato. A shame – I would have tried their coffee creme brulee.