Dollar Grills and Martinis is all about the bling. More style than substance eating in the upstairs restaurant or sipping a martini in the underground bar is all about the scene and being seen. That said there is no denying that Dollar Grills and Martinis does mix an excellent martini.
Located on the corner of Exmouth Market with large picture windows hugging the curved corner site, Dollar Grills and Martinis is a riot of flocked wallpaper, large candelabras and moody lighting. An offering from the same people who created Beach Blanket Babylon the shared DNA is evident in the opulent decor which is reminiscent of an Aladdin’s cave on acid.
First to the Martinis, despite the faintly ridiculous/highly amusing names (your take on this may be dependent on how many of the said Martinis you have already imbibed) they are really good. While there are some that say a truly excellent Martini should never be sullied with fruit juices or other non classic flavourings I was immediately won over by the Porn Star Martini with its refreshing tang of fresh passionfruit.
As is evident from the name, the other focus at Dollar Grills and Martinis is of course the grills. The Dollar burgers (pictured) come served on a large wooden board with a steak knife through the middle. Once you have extricated the steak knife from the board and the burger without losing any digits (this could be difficult after a couple of Porn Star Martinis) the burger pattie is dense and smoky. The standard burger comes with tomato, lettuce and red onion and then you can choose further fillings such as Jack cheese or bacon. All burgers are also served with a jumble of salad leaves and some somewhat insipid french fries.
Steaks come presented on the same board arrangement but each accompaniment must be paid for on top of the standard steak price of £12 right down to the sauce which is an extra £2.50. MTV boyfriend opted for a wedge of scalloped potatoes, mushroom sauce and some steamed vegetables with his steak and so managed to quickly tot up over £20 for his meal. As for the steak itself it was slightly under cooked but was sufficiently tender to keep MTV boyfriend happy. To be honest, it may not be the best steak or burger in town but you do get to eat in a glamorous setting that is lots of fun.
After our meal we headed back downstairs to the underground bar which at this stage was packed and had a DJ set up in one corner. Time to move on to the Rock Star Martinis it seemed.
Details: 2 Exmouth Market, Farringdon EC1R 4PX (Ph 020 72780077)
If you liked this you might be interested in the steaks at The Commander Porterhouse and Oyster Bar in Notting Hill, or if you are in Exmouth Market try nearby Moro for some acclaimed Spanish/Middle Eastern food.