Every inch the three-Michelin star restaurant, Gordon Ramsay is more than just a dinner out – it’s a gastronomic experience.
As you walk up to Gordon Ramsay you can tell you’re in a posh neck of the woods – flash sportscars parked outside gleam in the sunlight. This is a place that oozes money, a place where the recession never happened. It's no wonder this celebrated restaurant - where dinner will cost you more than £100 a head - hasn't even noticed the downturn, let alone the up-and-down recovery. But even if you’re intimidated by the mega-fine things in life, don’t let all this put you off. This is a sleek, classic and very chic dining room without the in-your-face riches that make parts of this area a little but too much (to say the least). Here you’ll find a clean, cream and white colour scheme with round tables cleverly positioned to make the most of the space, with everything geared toward making the customer feel at (very posh) home. The duck-egg blue chairs are comfortable, armchair-like affairs perfect for working your way through the long tasting menu. And, of course, the tablecloths and glassware are pristine. This is a restaurant where the details count – and it’s evident in the perfect placement of every spoon, every glass, every place mat.
Although Michelin star restaurants sometimes come in for a bit of stick over aggressive table turning, this is not the case at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. If you order the Prestige Menu (tasting menu) then you’re in it for the long haul: you’re looking at a few hours of eating time - and that's without taking coffees and digestifs into account. The attention you receive from the waiting staff is a little intense at times but their knowledge of every aspect of the menu is astounding and more than makes up for the occasional over-exuberance when asking you if your dinner is okay - it almost certainly is.
Although it bears the moniker of super-chef Gordon Ramsay, the head of the kitchen is actually Clare Smyth. But don’t be downhearted - she’s an MBE and widely considered to be one of the best chefs in the world (as her three Michelin stars attest).
The menu here is classic French with a modern, fresh twist or two. Every dish is presented with a flourish and a back-story about the ingredients, and everything from the pre-starters to the main courses are presented as works of art. If you’re going to visit this restaurant then you’re missing out a little if you don’t order that Prestige menu. It’s far from cheap (at £135 a head - not including wine or the service charge) but it’s an incredible dining experience – and one you won’t forget in a hurry. The seven courses are closer to 12 in reality, once you've been served all the little added extras they like to throw in (canapés, petit fours etc.). All of the dishes are sublime but some stand out as truly exceptional.
For example, the ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon poached in a light bisque with Oscietra caviar and sorrel velouté is a taste sensation. It’s simply presented as one oversized (and not insignificant) piece of ravioli served on a vibrant green velouté with a neat little pile of caviar on top. It’s certainly an example of rich food done very well. The ravioli, though light and fresh, is filled with some of the sweetest, meatiest shellfish you could imagine, and the salty tang of the caviar on top makes it almost sickly – almost. However, the play of texture and flavour showcases why the kitchen has three Michelin stars, with everything perfectly balanced.
This delicate flourish of flavour is also shown in the Isle of Gigha halibut with Atlantic king crab, finger lime and ras el hanout infused broth. Served as a large piece of clean, white fish with pretty pieces of crab, it’s stunning in its simplicity. The clever addition of the north-African spices peps up the broth just enough to give the dish an interesting depth without overpowering the clean flavour of the fish.
In terms of beautiful dishes, none can beat the lemonade parfait with honey, bergamot and sheep’s milk yogurt sorbet. A bright white dish, it matches the décor nicely and is punctuated by bits of gold leaf. And, yes, it tastes incredible, too. The sorbet is light with a rich creamy aftertaste that doesn’t fight against the tangy citrus zing of the lemonade parfait. As the final dessert in your Prestige journey, it’s a fantastic final curtain.
The wine menu at Gordon Ramsay is suitably huge. Covering traditional old world favourites and experimental new world bottles from unusual wine producing countries such as the Lebanon, it’s an impressive selection. The prices are also good – though almost none of the wines are available by the glass, which is a real shame. Starting at just £46 a bottle, if you’re really looking to splash out you can find some choices at over £2000. Yes, you read that right.
The Last Word
Gordon Ramsay is visited by rich people with money to burn and those less well off celebrating what must be very special occasions. But whatever your financial standing, you’ll be treated like a king (or queen!) and will leave feeling like you have just indulged in one of the most incredible culinary experiences of your life.