Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Cornhill’s slickest Door

A review of The Door in Cornhill, EC3V

The main dining area of The Door

I first came to know Cornhill in the late 1990s when I went on several occasions to a church there named St. Michael’s Cornhill with the late Russian icon dealer John Gaze. Presided over by The Rev’d Doctor Peter Mullen, a leading Eurosceptic and regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, this was a place where I met all manner of characters including the novelist Fay Weldon. Here was a church where religion mixed with the arts, politics and finance.

The present church, designed by Sir Christopher Wren between 1670 and 1677, is just one of many fascinating buildings in a street that gives it’s name to one of the traditional divisions of the City. Equally, Cornhill is known for being the site of the first mechanically pumped public water supply in London, constructed in 1582, and the world’s first underground public toilet, which opened in 1855. In more recent times, the street became associated with opticians and the makers of optical apparatus but for me, I’d suggest it is that Bob Cratchit slid down Cornhill 20 times in honour of it being Christmas Eve in Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol that makes it most fascinating.

Appropriately, just before Christmas, I ventured to one of Cornhill’s newest additions, The Door, with my regular dining companion. Here, in a building that formerly was a bank is a restaurant that is absolutely ideal for City slickers.

The Door's bar

Designed by the BGW Group, best known for styling such places as Tom’s Kitchen, The Empress of India and The Bolingbroke, The Door is dominated by a chic oyster bar and a silver corniced ceiling. A formal dining space is classically decorated seats up to 90 covers and, indeed, both Gordon Gekko and Patrick Bateman would feel at ease amongst the straight talking businessmen here.

The menu created by The Door’s executive chef, John Paul Murphy, focuses primarily on cuts of the finest meats from Argentina, America, Australia and the UK. Oysters are sourced from the Maldon Oyster Co. and come from the Blackwater Estuary in Colchester. This combination of the finest seafood and meats certainly proves that the days of excessive “greed is good” style consumption are still with us.

To begin, I started with steamed mussels in a white wine and parsley cream sauce (£8.50) that, to my taste, could have done with having been a little more lively and spiced. The dish was, however, perfectly pleasant. My companion’s carpaccio of beetroot with cod cheeks and toasted pine nuts (£9.50), on the other hand, would have benefitted from not having been fridge cold.

The steaks, themselves, range from a £22 10oz Midwest USDA grass fed rump to a £56 10oz Australian or Chilean Wagyu that comes from animals fed on beer, corn and maize that have been massaged daily. I opted, myself, for a £28 10oz Argentine Black Angus filet that was tender, succulent and tasty. The accompanying “rustic” chips (£3) were excellent as were the superb onion rings (£4).

My friend, meanwhile, opted for grilled lobster tails with roast garlic, lime, chilli and coriander sauce (£25). The portion was generous and perfectly cooked.

To conclude, we opted for a bitter chocolate and raspberry pie and more adventurously for a spinach and pear Pithivier (both at £6.50). The former was definitely more to our liking.

The wine list at The Door is suitably extensive and offers many expensive options that certainly will appeal to any celebrating City boy.  Diners can opt for a 2000 Sassicaia, DOCG Bolgheri at £220 a bottle or a 1995 Chateau Haut Brion Pessac-Leognan Grand Cru Classe at £525.00 but equally for those of lesser means, there is ample choice in the £25 to £50 range.

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in the 2000 film American Psycho

Misquoting Patrick Bateman: “I’m thinking The Door, wear something fabulous.”

For more on The Parish Church of St. Michael’s Cornhill in the City of London, go to:

The Door Oyster Bar & Grill, 33 Cornhill, London, EC3V 3ND. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7929 1378. Website:

Follow The Door on Twitter at:


Gillian Castle said...

I'll certainly try this one out as I am starting work near here pretty soon.

P Hancock said...

Me too. Thanks for tip.