Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gourmet Goodness at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Amuse bouche of chilled tomato, radish,
fresh ricotta
, and cucumber
Restaurant Gordon Ramsey is located on Royal Hospital Road, and had we not have seen what it looked like online, would have easily walked by it. Located on a not very remarkable building with just a black awning to announce what it was, it was on a fairly sleepy street.

Upon entering, the space was simple yet elegant, and far more bright and airy than his other restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, which we had dined at on our last visit to London. We were easily the youngest diners in the restaurant that particular lunch hour, but we were happy to be seated off to the side with no potential arms deals occurring around us….  No, not kidding you, as our previous experience at the Claridges location kept us entertained all evening as we overheard the conversation on the table behind us, which sounded like an arms deal. Other friends we know have had a similar experience at the Royal Hospital Road location. We opted for the tasting menu, and I started the meal with what was quickly becoming my new vice, a glass of vintage champagne, in this particular case, Charles Heidsieck.

Pressed foie gras, smoked and confit duck with
peaches, pickled girolles
, beetroot,
peach gelee
, walnuts, smoked duck, and
little tiny mushrooms
The meal started with very artfully arranged butter, a choice of salted or unsalted, as well as a variety of breads, including a delectable tasting rosemary bread. Watching the serving staff at work was a show in it’s own. Each person appeared to have very defined roles, for example, one server was in charge of bread, as well as bringing out courses, but never serving or clearing dishes. Another server was charged with replenishing liquids of all sorts, but never touched anything on the table that wasn’t a glass or a bottle. Although the space was quite small, collisions never occurred, even with a server squatted down putting together a cheese plate from the cheese cart. A server would simply tap the shoulder of the server they were passing, notifying them not to step backward or stand up at that particular moment.

Ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon
poached in a light bisque
We began with an amuse bouche of chilled tomato, radish, fresh ricotta, and cucumber, which tasted fresh, light, and bright in my mouth, cleansing my palette for the courses ahead. Our first course was a pressed foie gras, smoked and confit duck with peaches, pickled girolles, beetroot, peach gelee, walnuts, smoked duck, and little tiny mushrooms. The peach puree was light and not too sweet, the foie gras was smooth with a myriad of textures interspersed within. The toasted brioche had a crispy exterior but melted in your mouth, and the combination of the foie gras on the brioche was an enjoyable interplay of creamy and crispy working together.
Isle of Gigha halibut with  Atlantic King crab, 
cauliflower couscous, finger lime and ras el hanout 
infused broth (Morrocan spices)

Next was the ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon poached in a light bisque with a lemongrass and chervil veloute. The veloute was very creamy, yet light, the ravioli was plump, filled with soft and juicy lobster, complemented by a slightly sweet sauce that seemed to be holding back the veloute.

Suckling Pig of crispy belly, 
roasted loin, spiced shoulder sausage, chou farci,
with crushed potatoes and spring onions
They informed us that the Isle of Gigha halibut with Atlantic King crab, cauliflower couscous, finger lime and ras el hanout infused broth (Morrocan spices) was one of the newest items on the menu. The broth was very fragrant and flavorful without overpowering the delicate taste of the halibut. The halibut itself was very light and fell apart easily when prodded with a fork.

The roasted pigeon from Bresse with grilled polenta, smoked ventreche (smoked pork belly – similar to pancetta) and date sauce was very tender and moist, with the accompanying date sauce being the perfect pairing. The polenta was incredibly smooth, and the pork belly was nicely smoked and soft without being overly fatty tasting.

Roasted pigeon from Bresse with grilled polenta, smoked
ventreche and date sauce
The suckling pig consisted of crispy belly, roasted loin, spiced shoulder sausage, chou farci with crushed potatoes and spring onions. The pork loin was succulent, while the crispy pork belly had a nice layer of fat underneath the skin, with the skin remaining crispy and flavorful.

Dessert was a multicourse affair as we’d experienced previously in many other restaurants. A heady selection of cheese was wheeled before us on an impressive looking cart. Instead of trying to pick at random, we asked the server to choose for us. We got a variety including Saint Agur, which was a very creamy goats milk cheese, Edam which was very nutty and a hard cheese, Holburn Blue Cheese and the rest of which I don’t remember. Paired with quince, which turns out to be a cross between an apple and a pair, and an incredibly sweet when turned into a jelly, grapes, bread and crackers.

Lemonade parfait with honey, bergamot and sheep's
milk yoghurt sorbet
The melon, cucumber and basil soup, served in a tall flute with a glass straw, was light and refreshing, and had a light cucumber taste and smell. Next Agen prune crème brulee with fresh pressed Granny Smith apple juice, another thing I was growing quite fond of. Paired with the juice was crème brulee, with a satisfying crack of the crust, we delved into a perfectly prepared smooth crème delight.

White chocolate filled with strawberry
ice cream made with liquid nitrogen
Next was a lemonade parfait with honey, bergamot and sheep’s milk yoghurt sorbet, which was quite tart and slightly sweet. A nice balance, however I found the candied lemon puckeringly tart for my liking. Next we were presented with a small dish of Turkish delight, which were very sweet and the complete opposite of the previous dessert. Sharing the dish were chocolate truffles, presented on very usual metal holders. Next a delight for the senses, a white chocolate filled with strawberry ice cream, that had been made with liquid nitrogen, and was still giving off it’s hazy mist as it hit our table. The white chocolate was very cold when you popped it into your mouth but the ice cream within was refreshing, balancing the sweetness of the chocolate.

Turkish Delight and Chocolate
For a finale, they brought out a raspberry sorbet complete with candle to my humans as an anniversary gift. The table across from us suddenly broke into a chorus of happy birthday, and we quickly realized they were looking at us! We explained it was a belated wedding anniversary and the men gave my male human a very enthusiastic thumbs up.

After our meal, they gave us a quick tour of the kitchen, which was much larger than many we’d seen in Europe! It was broken into different sections, a section for vegetable prep, and one for meat and fish prep, as well as section off to the side for dessert prep. They said this particular location had been open since September 1, 1998. There were 12 staff in the kitchen, and 25 staff total, with a female executive chef at the helm.

Although a long and pricy lunch, it is well worth going if you enjoy fine dining. The service was spot on and the food was absolutely divine! Although you won’t see celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay anywhere about, the food is well worth a visit if you have the moola to spare!

More photos at PhotoBucket!

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
68 Royal Hospital Road
London, UK  SW3 4HP
011 020 7352 4441
Twitter: @restaurant_gr

Gordon Ramsay on Urbanspoon

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