London fine dining – Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
With Gordon Ramsay one of the most well known chefs in the world, it’s perhaps a little surprising we’d never had any of his restaurants on our radar. His flagship establishment is a bastion of London fine dining and long-time head chef Clare Smyth ensured it maintained three Michelin stars.
But, on our recent London visit, we were encouraged to visit Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, on the Hospital Road at Chelsea – a dinner roll’s toss from the venue for the famed Chelsea flower show. We took a table for two the day after our orgy of food at The Fat Duck and wondered if another full-on experience so soon afterwards would be a step too far.
Intrepidly, we headed out on a wet and chilly evening, with the hope of experiencing something special. London fine dining attracts a significant price point but that didn’t worry us – we’re quite happy to invest in world-class food as evidenced by this blog.
There’s no doubt some London establishments can be a bit snooty. Given we were travelling extensively and needed to watch our luggage weight, we didn’t have the clothes on hand that would strictly satisfy the dress code – i.e., a jacket for gentlemen. Gluttonous husband wore a very nice shirt and trousers but his only jacket was a slightly dressy weatherproof version – perhaps not quite “up to scratch”.
Given there were some snow flurries in London that day, it was perhaps a very good choice but still, we were concerned about our welcome. As it turned out, there wasn’t a problem. Perhaps we were the most casually dressed of the diners that evening but no-one blinked an eye. Whew.
This is a refined space with a surprisingly small dining room. Tables are arranged in a U shape and the wait staff virtually wear a track in the deep carpet as they walk the floor. We opted for the standard three course a la carte menu rather than another degustation, but the extra bits and pieces brought to our table ensured we got a power of food.
Smyth has moved on to start her own eatery. After 10 years working in the Gordon Ramsay empire, the head chef here is now Australian Matt Abe who has also had stints at fine dining restaurants Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Aria in Sydney. This is someone who clearly understands flavour – as we found from the very first morsels.
Again, after our huge day out in Bray the day before, we opted for just a couple of glasses of wine. Greedy Girl took a white from the Alto Adige area of Italy, while gluttonous husband took his standard Bordeaux. The white was delightful – showcasing the very best of Italian/sud Tirol influences.
At a very pleasant table by the restaurant’s front windows, we settled in. First up were a selection of amuse bouches. The mini truffle buns looked great although they didn’t offer a huge ‘whack’ of flavour.
Then came some little tuna nori rolls. These were exceptionally delicious.
And, finally some little pine nut and mushroom tarts. These were absolutely superb.
We fully expected to start our selected dishes here but there was one more surprise – a delectable eggshell filled with potato mousseline, English camembert, smoked egg yolk, topped with crispy shallots and chives. What a combo! We literally licked the shell clean.
Our starters did arrive next. Greedy Girl took pan-fried scallops from the Isle of Skye, served with heritage apples, walnuts, celery and cider sauce. This is an accomplished dish. The scallops had a beautiful seared crust but still moist and soft within. Delicious.
Gluttonous husband started with a heavier dish – sauteed foie gras with clementine, nasturtium and Sauternes. The joy of foie gras is never to be underestimated and all these elements worked together in perfect harmony.
For our mains, gluttonous husband chose the dish at the top of this post featuring one of his favourite fish – Cornish turbot. This was served with chanterelle mushrooms, langoustines and black garlic. A beautifully executed and flavoursome plate of food.
Greedy Girl took the suckling pig, featuring crispy belly, roasted loin, a spiced shoulder sausage, chou farci (stuffed cabbage) and crushed potatoes. It was truly delectable.
We weren’t done with the little treats. The utterly delightful Maître D, Jean-Claude has been around at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay for eons and his passion for delivering excellent service clearly hasn’t waned. He brought us a delightful little citrus cocktail to start us on the way to desserts.
Greedy Girl couldn’t go past chocolate. She took the Manjari chocolate delice with hazelnuts and Pedro Ximenez. It wasn’t at all heavy and totally yummy.
Gluttonous husband, who tries to steer away from having too many sweets, chose from the extensive cheese trolley. Apologies for the quality of this image, but the restaurant lighting is quite muted. Nonetheless, there’s plenty of variety.
We still weren’t done – a couple of little petits fours were provided – some chocolate and pistachio shards and some delightful jellies.
Three courses here are priced at £110. Given the quality of the food, it’s very fairly priced. Certainly we’ve paid more in vastly inferior restaurants around the world.
It’s an impressive place, with accomplished food and service and should be on your foodie list. It does get a lot of varied reviews and perhaps some people don’t respond to the initial formality of it, but showing appreciation for the food and respecting the professionalism of the service both pay off.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
68 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3