A few weeks ago, Marriott announced that a number of its hotels in London and further afield were opening their restaurants for alfresco dining from the 12th April.
We were invited by the JW Marriott Grosvenor House to try it out and see The Forecourt. Given my empty HfP diary, I jumped at the chance!
The JW Marriott is one of the few Marriott hotels in London to have outdoor space that is not directly on the road, thanks to its large forecourt:
This space is used for all sorts of events and this summer a portion has been given over to a new outdoor dining space. It is open daily from midday until 10pm.
It’s been a while since I was at the JW and I was surprised how large the forecourt was – the dining area takes at most a third of the space, leaving plenty of room for some nice cars and a drive-through drop off area.
As you can see, the dining area is on a raised and levelled platform to offset the slope of the forecourt:
It is a decent size, with capacity for around twenty tables. It is surrounded on two sides by the seven-storey hotel and at the end by the (much lower) atrium.
Whilst that means the forecourt doesn’t get much direct sunlight (although that is likely to improve as we get to June) it also shelters the area from any cold winds. There are a handful of pyramid patio heaters to help warm things up, too.
On Tuesday this meant I was able to sit quite comfortably without my jacket, despite the overcast weather. If you do get chilly, the wait-staff are very attentive in offering blankets (these are sprayed with disinfectant between use). If this is what it is like on a cold, for April, day then things can only get better.
Before being seated I was asked to scan the QR card with the NHS Covid-19 app for test and trace purposes.
Each table also has an alcohol wipe, in addition to the hand gel dispenser at the entrance.
The view from each table is good too; either towards the street or to the entrance of the hotel:
JW Marriott Grosvenor House Forecourt menu
The menu itself is a slimmed down combination of JW Steakhouse and The Park Room items. This includes a couple of steak choices, a seafood platter, several fish dishes and a variety of burgers.
All the steaks in the JW Steakhouse are from Black Angus USDA beef although there are couple of Aberdeen Angus options too.
Bread is brought out once you are settled. These are, I am told, ‘Parker House Rolls’ which Marriott describes as “light, buttery rolls which were a 19th century staple of The Parker House – a famous hotel in Boston, the same hotel that in 1855 created the first Boston Cream Pie. The bread rolls are freshly made on property each day and served straight from the oven, topped with a sprinkling of sea salt and seasoned with rosemary.”
The shape did make me laugh though …..
To start, I had the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare:
…. and as The Forecourt appears to be partly co-branded with Gusbourne English Sparkling Wines it would have been amiss not to sample the Brut Reserve:
This was a top-up, hence the half-eaten food. Note the white cotton gloves the staff are wearing – a nice touch that shows the hotel is taking Covid seriously whilst still retaining a premium touch. No blue latex gloves here.
My companion Lois had the burrata:
For the main course I went with the 6oz fillet with watercress salad and the chunkiest chips I have ever seen.
Whilst not on the smaller Forecourt menu, I asked for the ‘Oskar’ crab meat, asparagus and bearnaise topping as this is a JW Steakhouse signature. As you can see, the kitchen were happy to oblige. The steak was cooked perfectly although I’m not sure I’d call a few sprigs of watercress a ‘salad’.
Lois went for the whole grilled seabass:
We were both surprised by the size of the portion (it was bigger than it looks in the photo) with the sea bass much larger than I have seen previously. This was cleverly prepared by filleting the fish but keeping the tail intact, which meant the dish was boneless despite looking like a whole(ish) fish.
She also tried the lavender lemonade, top left in the photo above, which is quite possibly the best lemonade I have ever had – not too sweet, with a distinct lavender flavour.
To finish things off we opted for dessert and coffee. I went for the black cherry trifle:
Another generous portion size. As a big fan of cherries I would have preferred it to be stronger on that front, although I know not everyone shares my affinity for cherries and it is a trifle, to be fair.
Lois went for the (massive) JW Cheesecake, another JW signature. I was told they sold 300 of these a day last summer!
This would be ideal for sharing or taking home. It’s not a particularly complicated cheesecake – no fancy ingredients or flavour combinations here – but it does deliver on its ‘back to basics’ concept.
After 3+ months of lockdown, it feels great to be out and about again. Opening a little dining terrace in the forecourt of the JW Marriott Grosvenor House is an excellent idea.
The service was excellent, and I want to give a brief shout out to the staff, all of whom were fantastic and attentive.
I imagine we will see the Forecourt a lot busier when leisure stays re-open and the hotel welcomes more guests, and it will be particularly nice this summer once we get past this bizarre cold snap.
You can read more about the JW Marriott Grosvenor House on the hotel website here. The Forecourt is open daily from 12pm to 10pm. You can book online here.
Thanks to Marriott for arranging this review – and ensuring I had to roll myself back home.
PS. Before you ask …. whilst you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points at some Marriott brands if you are a non-resident, JW Marriott is not one of them. You won’t pick up any points with your meal.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (October 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)