This meal was so wonderful that I just can't cram it all into one long post. This one covers our main courses and desserts (and the fabulous service from start to finish).
I was ordering from the fixed price menu and chose the Shin of Angus beef braised in red wine. It's served ‘en croûte,’ or in a pastry crust, with confit potatoes and mushrooms à la crème, with a parmesan emulsion. Sounds fancy, right? I was not prepared for the amazing, deep, layered flavors. This wasn't just some shredded meat.
It was tender, juicy, tangy from the red wine, and the pastry crust had a gorgeous parsley leaf perfectly baked into it. Even the Parmesan-crusted carrots were showstoppers. Attention to detail was perfect, not pretentious, and this was some down-home, comfort food that went off to college and got a Master's Degree. Wow.
LaShauna's dish was the Best end of Cotswold lamb with confit breast and braised shank, navarin of autumn vegetables and vitelotte potatoes. Gorgeous and cooked to her order--she was delighted with her choice, as I was with mine.
You'd think our meal was over, wouldn't you? How could there be more awesomeness? And yet there was! They brought us mango shakes in pretty glasses--we drank these down in no time. Light, not too sweet, and a perfect pause in the crave-worthy courses.
There was another server in the room who was from Italy (I'm forgetting his name, LaShauna!) When he heard that I was from Brooklyn, his eyes lit up and he peppered me with questions about where I live, how much I pay in rent, how's the commute, etc. He has been there before and wants to work there again, and when we wrapped up our conversation, he said "Maybe I see you in Brooklyn," and I have a feeling he just might! Again, I was just blown away at how personable and welcoming everyone was. You would think with such high-caliber food, setting, ratings, etc, there might be a bit of stuffiness, but you would be wrong. So deliciously wrong.
For dessert I picked the Banana parfait, another deconstructed dish with beautifully-appointed layers of peanut butter mousse and bitter chocolate sandwiched with caramelised bananas. It smelled heavenly and was light and lovely.
LaShauna's dessert was quite the stunner: Banoffee (a favorite British combo of toffee and banana-YES PLEASE) pie souffle, banana and salted caramel crumble. This was letter-perfect and she generously let me try a bite. It was almost ethereal!
I can't say enough about the amazing caliber of food. Every bite was packed with flavor, just right, and left me wanting more yet feeling perfectly satisfied. But above all of the deliciousness, the service left me almost speechless. I truly felt like I had come to someone's home for dinner, and they truly, truly, wanted to make sure that I enjoyed my visit. Which I did. Oh, how I did.
I stepped away briefly from the table to use the restroom (and someone leapt up to open the door for me--yeah, a girl could get used to this) and when I returned to the table, another unexpected treat was there: strawberry ice cream bombes in white chocolate shells--served on dry ice, of course! Thanks, LaShauna, for snapping a pick while they were still all smoky-looking!
One more touch before we left--dark, deep delicious chocolates on tiny trowels.
After dinner, Robert asked if we'd like a tour of the kitchen. Now it was time for MY eyes to light up--oh my goodness yes! Robert led us back there and we got to see one of the most gleamingly-sparkling-clean kitchens you could ever dream of. My mother would LOVE it.
I was also delighted to see that the head chef is a woman! She was busy preparing pastry crust with another chef so we didn't bother them.
I could spend a lot more time going on and on about how amazing this experience was. Photos, words, and rapturous eye rolls just don't do it justice. Stellar, worth-the-flight-all-on-its-own service will have me dreaming about a return visit until it HAPPENS!
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
68 Royal Hospital Road
020 7352 4441