Tucked away on the upper floor of a traditional English pub on Great Portland Street, lies Upstairs at The George – and this hidden culinary treasure is a real find. Indulging in the magical simplicity of English food, it sprinkles the pub classics with a healthy pinch of Michelin to elevate the dishes to a quality akin to fine dining.
There’s a formidable team behind this must-try eatery. It’s a result of a partnership between successful restaurant group JKS (behind the likes of Brigadiers, Hoppers, & Bao) and Dominic Jacobs (The Running Horse), who have brought in two Michelin-starred chef James Knappett to lead the kitchen.
The space itself is really quite something. Formerly living quarters for the public in the 1800s, the first floor has been restored to the style of its prime, draped in period arts and crafts, and heavily inspired by the continental Parisian style that was highly esteemed in the UK at the time. It’s sophisticated and elegant, and a world away from the loud and crowded watering hole that lies beneath.
The greatly acclaimed wine list is the perfect place to begin. With representation from all over the UK, there is a wealthy selection of over 300 wines (some even unique to The George in the UK), including over 100 sparkling wines that the teams are more than happy to walk you through. As well as a fully stocked cellar, there is also a retired staircase area leading up to the second flood that has been cleverly transformed into temperature-controlled and vitrined wine room – well worth a stroll away from the table to take a look at.
The menu is a masterpiece of elevated classics. You can find Steak Tournedos Rossini with Caramelised Foie Gras & Beef Fat Croutons, along with Braised Herdwick Lamb Shoulder Hot Pot with Rosemary Glazed Potato & Celeriac Topping and Buttered Cabbage.
The Scottish Langoustine Scampi & Chips with Tartar and Crushed Minted Peas is a favourite among diners and staff. Notable is also the Whole Cornish Lemon Sole, served with a delicious Garlic Butter, Brown Shrimp, & Mussels. The ingredients are fresh and well-sourced, and work immaculately together to quench an eager palette and create a memorable experience.
There’s a cleanness and precision in the menu that gives a very clear direction for the vision of the experience, with each component and addition contributing another ‘wow’ factor to already much-loved dishes. The Scotch Eggs are with Black Pudding and Oxford Sauce; the Oysters are served with a Shallot & Cabernet Sauvignon Vinegar Dressing; there’s delicious Devilled Eggs with Espelette and Chives, but also Devilled Veal Kidneys with Toasted Flor Sourdough. There is no dilution of spirit of the English pub – just mouth-watering upgrades.
The struggle of the evening is ensuring room for dessert is accounted for. The Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb Crumble with Vanilla Custard is deeply soul-warming, while the Knickerbocker Glory is a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds. And with three spectacular digestifs to choose from to round off the feast, it’s safe to say that nobody will leave Upstairs at The George with anything but a marvellous aftertaste.
We will note that this isn’t a cheap eat. But there again we wouldn’t expect it to be – though there’s traditional pub food at the heart of it all, you really are getting the full Michelin experience. And it’s worth every penny.
You can find Upstairs at The George unsurprisingly on the upper floor of The George pub at 55 Great Portland Street, W1S 7LQ.
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