October 11, 2011

London: Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (part 1)

My friend LaShauna had long praised Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (in London's Chelsea neighborhood) as a pinnacle in her dining experience, so when it turned out that we'd both be in London for a few days at the same time, she made this happen, and I will forever be grateful!

This is not an inexpensive place, but it's not completely outrageous, either. Still, we went for lunch and not dinner.
The interior was well-lit, warm, and sleek. We were the first to sit down and I quickly began to get nervous. I mean, beads of sweat on the forehead, do I belong here, am I in over my head nervous! It's laughable now, but I quickly realized the was the nicest place I'd ever been in my life, and I felt out of place, certain that any minute someone would escort me out as it was just clear I didn't fit in there. So silly!

The staff at Gordon Ramsay, however, quickly showed that this place not the least bit pretentious or stuffy. First, the surprisingly young female (!) sommelier, who's from Canada, asked if we'd like a drink. We started with a semi-dry Riesling. Crisp and delicious!

Up next, we met Robert (you'll see him later), whom LaShauna had met on her previous visit. When he found out that I live in Brooklyn, his eyes lit up and he told me his favorite BBQ place there--a place he discovered while training there with a chef. Robert was absolutely lovely and friendly, setting me completely at ease.

I ordered the set price lunch for 45 pounds, or almost 60 US dollars. Pricey yes, but I knew going in and I had saved up. THIS was the splurge of all splurges! LaShauna had tried the prix fixe last time, so she was going all-in with the a la carte.

First up came the bread and butter. You know it's not your every day...perfectly shaped like a beehive, and warm potato-rosemary slices and sourdough for us (2 of the many choices). Dreamy.

We were already on our way to an amazing meal!

Before our first courses came, the staff brought out a perfectly presented plate--langoustines with caviar in a fresh lemongrass consommé, which they poured at the table. Just lovely! Fresh, briny but not overly salty, and visually stunning. The sliced asparagus was stunningly fresh. If I didn't have better manners, I would have picked up the bowl and slurped every last drop.

The most impressive, noteworthy part of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is definitely the service. Overseen by the effervescent Jean-Claude (though you're seeing Robert in this photo), not a single dish enters the dining area without passing inspection--servers stand at attention in the doorway until they get the discreet signal that everything passes muster.

My first course was the (deconstructed) salad of Szechuan pork, grilled tiger prawn, pickled & marinated vegetables, and daikon dressing. Aside from being visually smashing, it was also fresh and fabulous.

It was so pretty I almost hated to take a fork to it--and yet I did. Soft, tender pork, perfectly-cooked shrimp, and a bright, fresh dressing on the vegetables. Amazing!

LaShauna ordered the seared scallops, which also came with bacon, greens, peas and a poached quail's egg (they love quail eggs over there, don't they!) on top. She was very happy with her dish, too.

At this point we were both decidedly relaxed and happy, and we hadn't even hit the main courses yet! That post comes tomorrow......click HERE to go right to it!

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
68 Royal Hospital Road
020 7352 4441


LaRomance said...

More, more, more! I love this place so much.

Laura said...

I had the same anxiety attack when I was treated to a dinner at Les Bouquinistes in Paris about 5 years ago, and with the same result. Everyone was so friendly, yet still polite & polished.

Can't wait to read the rest!

Sugar Rush said...

I love this!! It's my way of experiencing these places, that I may not ever go!!! This one was particularly interesting bc of Chef Ramsey!! I love it!! :)

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