Tel: +44 (0)20 7499 0099
Address: Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1A 2JQ
Cuisine Type: modern European
Nearest Tube: Bond Street
Gordon Ramsay needs no introduction. Only hermits or those in a coma can have avoided the media adulation, criticism, reports and rumours about the chef widely regarded by many as the finest in the country. There was only one way to find out if the hype is justified, and that was to go and see for myself.
Although I had no difficulty booking a table for Saturday lunch about three weeks in advance, they obviously have no trouble filling the restaurant, which was full on the day we ate. The venue itself is sumptuous: from the moment you walk through the lobby entrance into the opulently redecorated Art Deco room, you instinctively know that this is going to be a decadent experience. Efficient and well-trained (if a little distant and impersonal) waiting staff whisked kir, water and a basket of gorgeous bread with a choice of butters in front of us while we looked through the menu and extensive (and equally expensive) wine list.
After a thimble-sized amuse bouche of celery velouté with olive oil and wild mushrooms, we tried starters of artichoke salad with asparagus, assorted leaves and truffle shavings and foie gras mousse with a baby spinach salad and pain de mie. Both very simple, but the seasonal ingredients worked well together and were perfect for a summer lunch.
Main courses were more substantial and again, while each dish was unfussy, it was impossible to mistake how competently they had been put together. A chunky fillet of dorade had been pan fried until the skin was gloriously crisp, served with sauce vierge and pak choi. A moist rib eye of beef came with thick, buttery mash (sorry, truffled pomme purée) and asparagus.
Standards showed no signs of slipping at the dessert course. Both that we ordered were rich but not too filling, sweet but not cloying. By the time we had scraped every last bit of the blackberry parfait with marscapone ice cream and Valrhona chocolate tart with white chocolate ice cream off our plates, we were hoping that the meal didn’t have to come to an end. And our wishes were (temporarily) granted, the pleasure being prolonged by coffees andpetits fours of caramel centred chocolates and tangy fruit jellies.
The set lunch at £25 gives you a choice of three dishes for each course, and with a regularly changing menu, this is a fantastic and affordable way to eat such high quality cooking. That said, with wine, water and service, our total bill was nearer £100, though ungrudgingly spent, as we enjoyed every minute.