Armed with a voucher, a celebratory excuse and a huge dose of curiosity to dine at THE Gordon Ramsay restaurant, with a bit of bravado I hit the confirm button. What did I just do? Well, I had half a year to mull over my sudden recklessness. For Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is not a restaurant one books for a casual Monday evening! Being one of only five Michelin three-star restaurants in the UK, the first I have ever been to, and the eponymous restaurant to one of the most famous and decorated chefs, Gordon Ramsay.
Flash forward half a year nothing was feeling particularly different, besides the brisk walk from Victoria station; leaving me more than a little flustered upon arrival, it felt like any other Monday evening. But by the end of the night, I had been to my surprise, stuffed with food, pampered with desserts and had an impromptu run-in with Ed Sheeran in the loo! Now that doesn’t happen every Monday evening…
A miniature party of flavours
So how does one begin to blog about a restaurant like this? Well, let’s start off with appearances. You enter through a long corridor that leads you into a rather small waiting area where you are seated at a slightly larger dining area. All seems normal. In fact, besides the obvious air of refinement surrounding me, I was surprised by how relaxed everything seemed. The food is obviously the centre of attention whilst everything else is there to help you enjoy the evening.
Most of the staff made us feel incredibly welcome and relaxed, which is important for any restaurant of this quality, though there was somebody who kept on butting into my shoes and some were a little more brusque than anticipated.
The freshest salmon you’ll find in London…
I decided to go for the Menu Prestige, which features many of the restaurant’s classics for £145 and got to try a little of the scallops and suckling pig, both of which are sadly omitted from this tasting menu.
Trio of amuse-bouche
Before the onslaught of dishes from the prestige menu was this mushroom broth, which came before the starters. Whilst accomplished nonetheless I felt it was a little off from the menu in general and the umami kick, too much for a pre-starter.
Pressed foie gras
I admit I’ve rarely ever had foie gras and normally I would never order it as I am quite picky with offal. But the Foie gras here is incredibly delicate with a hint of sweetness paired exceptionally well with the green apples, turnips and the accompanying bread. Whilst I’m no connoisseur to foie gras, this is one that I wouldn’t mind eating at all.
Onto the starters. This is one of their most popular starters but I sadly have to say this was the biggest disappointment. Whilst the portion is tiny the bigger issue for me is that the seafood within feels overdone and packed too tightly. The sorrel doesn’t do enough either. This is where I feel one big one is not as good as several tinier ones.
Pan fried scallops from the Isle of Skye
My dining companion had the scallops which I managed to steal a bite from. I had a major case of food envy as the scallops were perfectly cooked and the apples provided a subtle sweetness to the dish, a perfect compliment. If you get the chance I’d go for this starter!
Poached Isle of Gigha halibut
I rarely order fish at a European restaurant, simply because I believe the Asian’s have this on lock. However, the way this piece of fish was cooked has got to be one of the best pieces of fish I’ve had. Cooked just right the halibut was incredibly succulent, the accompaniments were all a bit muted in order to highlight the quality of the fish but in some ways, it would have been exciting to see it paired more adventurously.
Braised, confit and roasted Herdwick lamb
Lamb is always a crowd pleaser, though I did wonder if I was being a little too safe. But the lamb here was cooked beautifully pink but also astoundingly small. I let that go as I was already rather stuffed at this point. But there was an assortment of differently cooked morsels of lamb. There was one piece that slightly let the dish down, I suspect that was the braised version but overall this is a pleasing dish.
There seemed to be a theme going on through the night. Whilst I was perfectly happy with my lamb main the dish across the table trumped it because, whilst I had only tried a bit of the suckling pig, it was a revelatory moment for me! Suckling pig is a mainstay in any Cantonese feast so I’ve had quite a few in my lifetime but I was amazed by the wafer-thin but amazingly crisp skin on top of this moreish morsel of pork. Though Cantonese suckling pig is a different version this was one of the best pieces of suckling pig I have ever had and I throw my hat off to the skill of the chef for perfecting it.
Soup (pineapple, coconut, kaffir lime)
Sorbet (blackcurrant, champagne)
Two nice small treats before the main show. The soup isn’t really a soup but a pre-dessert full of my favourite flavours, I wish there was more! Whilst the champagne ice matched well with the sweet blackcurrant sorbet for something a bit more glamorous.
Their showstopper dessert, the Lemonade parfait is beautifully plated and a treat to look at. You almost feel a bit sad for devouring it. The flavours are delicate but marry well. But you are expecting that something extra from this dessert that never really delivers.
Anything with coconut in it will get a thumbs up from me. This souffle also did the trick. It was fluffy and light enough with hints of coconut.
A trio of petit fours comes right at the end of the meal. One of which is this white chocolate ball that comes in a bowl of dried ice. But the real star for me was the crunchy chocolate pistachio slabs. I could snack on those all day…
Overall, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is one of those “once-in-a-lifetime” restaurants but I’m not quite sure whether the night delivered a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There were some issues and some great cooking but there was no individual highlight that really accentuated the whole experience. The food is, on the whole, beautifully cooked and delicately handled, though just a few dishes really deliver real excitement. The food does, however, deliver on textures and refinement. I fear I might be sounding too detractive because Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is a fantastic restaurant that had moments of excellence, I’m simply marking it against perfection. I probably wanted it to be a lot more (for the occasion and for the price) but either way, it deserves its recognition and it’s definitely worth plodding your way down Royal Hospital Road to experience it.
Address: 68 Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HP
Telephone: 0207 352 4441
Mind The Gap:
Mon – Fri: 12pm – 2.15pm . 6.30pm – 10.15pm
Panda ate, shot and left.