There is just something so inviting about a mid-week catch up meal with a friend. A temporary escape from the hustle and bustle of the chaotic working week.
So, when choosing the destination for this delightful distraction one needs to take care. It can’t be too loud or too vibey – you need to be able to hear each other’s news and you certainly don’t want to be drawn into a late night booze fest hosted by a work-night wild child. No. You want somewhere classy yet comfy, dressed down yet upmarket.
Oh, and you want somewhere with some good food. Obvs.
For our sneaky mid-week getaway, we chose Grand Central at Melrose Arch. I had been here before but never for dinner. Good things to surely follow:
Team: Working woman (all two of us)
Decor: As the name readily suggests, Grand Centrals’ theme is that of a train station (Grand Central, duh!) Bare, dark wood tables, marble counter tops and distressed leather are the perfect companions to the in-your-face chandelier thing (see: big shiny balls) and the bevy of fairy lights. The train station feel is enhanced by artwork depicting Grand Central train station and those travellers who frequented it. When I one day own my own home, it will pretty much look like Grand Central, except with a bed. I love the decor THAT much.
Vibe: Grand Central effortlessly mixes upmarket chic with cafe comfort. Its prime position in Melrose Arch ensures that it constantly pulls an “it” crowd. I’ve been on a weekend morning for breakfast and it gets packed! Week nights are a little more subdued which is why it’s the perfect little mid-week dinner spot.
Service: We were greeted immediately upon arrival and were shown to our choice of table on the balcony. We had quite a few questions for the waitress and these were answered confidently albeit slight incorrectly. However, our order was taken competently and the food was brought within 10 minutes. No real complaints.
Food: the menu of Grand Central is vast and covers all the basics. Breakfasts, sandwiches, light meals, pastas and pizzas, all averagely priced.Decision making wasn’t easy but we decided on the following:
Grilled Chicken & Stir Fried Veg: This is clearly too healthy to have been my dish and whilst not overly adventurous it was tasty, or so I was told. Three perfectly grilled chicken breasts served with a mountain of veg, it was certainly a satisfying portion. We did enquire as to whether the veg was fried in oil and we were advised that a very tiny amount of oil was used. Judging by the oil slick left on the plate I would say it slightly more than a tiny amount was used. Nonetheless, a good healthy main.
I ordered two dishes –
Grand Vegetable salad: a medley of mixed veggies including asparagus, butternut, corn, broccoli complimented by the most delicious feta and juicy olives. There was also a smattering of seeds. Whilst delicious, I found that there was waaaaaay too much corn for my liking. Less corn, more feta!
Salt and Pepper Calamari: for some unknown reason, whilst reading this on the menu (it clearly stated calamari) I pictured crispy squid heads. So when this dish arrived I was slightly disappointed. Once I started eating, I was far less disappointed. The calamari tubes were coated ever so lightly in crispy batter and were perfectly tender. The tubes were served with a delicious mayonnaise and a massive pile of French fries. Never one to say no to French fries, I was slightly put off by the size of the portion which seemed to overwhelm my plate. The fries were a bit on the oily side but nothing humungous quantities of salt couldn’t fix.
Grand Central has a pretty fantastic sounding dessert menu as well as a selection of cakes. I just wasn’t in the mood for something sweet but I have a sneaky suspicion I’ll be returning to savour their Lindt Chocolate Brownies.
Overall, I like Grand Central. I don’t think it will be a Top 10 restaurant any time soon but for a satisfying dinner in a superb venue, it does the job.
If you’re looking for somewhere to go for a relaxing weekend brunch or a delightful mid-week dinner, then Grand Central should be your destination.
P.s try the watermelon and basil granita – looks dodgy but tastes AMAZING. Do it and thank me later.