Pricey hot seats for power lunches at The Savoy Grill

By Tan Kah Peng

THE Savoy on the Strand is no ordinary hotel, the place where everyone who was somebody stayed there since it opened its doors in 1889. 

So is The Savoy Grill, long seen as a London institution, where the big shots of the Square Mile and the who’s who of society gather for what has been described as power-lunches. 

Being seen there is one thing, having the staff know your name means one rung up the pecking order, and being ushered to a regular table means he or she has made it – the ultimate privilege. 

As there are only 32 tables, word has it that many business people have spent years and many thousands of pounds trying to get their name on the all-important table plan. 

These seats of power are occupied by some of the best-known names in town: Tory grandees John Major and Lord Lamont, business bigwigs Lord Hanson and Sir Victor Blank, and broadcaster Sir David Frost, to name a few. 

Status apart, The Savoy Grill is much sought-after because of its Edwardian charm, one of the last vestiges of old England where regulars can still enjoy many traditional English cooking. 

Apparently, traditional fare such as potted shrimps and kidney and steak pudding have been quietly replaced by Marcus Wareing, considered one of the finest cooks in Britain, with what he calls fine, exciting dishes. 

Traditionalists, fearing the old charm would make way for a new-look Grill after news of a makeover by the award-winning chef, kicked up quite a fuss with their flood of letters. 

Still, out went some traditions, including its long-favourite silver trolley, by far the single most popular feature, and from which the patrons chose their cuts of roast meat. 

A trolley is still there, but without wheels. Regulars would still be able to have their meat carved, this time at the table. 

The beloved silver trolley, which has been wheeled off to the River Restaurant on the other side of the hotel, has many fans wanting to buy it. 

Traditions die hard, as they say.  

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