DINING OWL AWARDS: 4th – value; 5th – for repeat visits
When I visited: May 2014 and April 2015
Location: London, near Oxford Street
Team: Gordon Ramsay (founder), Owen Sullivan (Executive Chef)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Recommended (used to have 1 star)
What to wear: Men – jeans or nice trousers and a shirt; women – jeans and a smart top or a smart dress
Ambience: Clean, light, fun
Course of the meal: English asparagus with sabayons sauce and lentils and seeds
If I could change one thing: Slightly more charming waiting staff
Gordon Ramsay’s premier London trio of this restaurant, Petrus and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is worth completing and this is the one to choose if you like sushi and your meals light. It offers a fantastic selection of food and wine, is great for friends or dates, and is near to Oxford Street if you want to shop before or after.
I have visited twice with my partner Owl. On our first visit, we went for the four-course lunch menu with a cucumber Bellini to start, which summed up the gorgeously light touch that permeates through most of the food and drink on offer here. We also had a carafe of white Bordeaux with lunch.
Our starters were salmon and a cucumber veloute with tomatoes and granita … gorgeously light. Next came asparagus and lemon (one of those wonderfully simple dishes made irresistible by skilled chefs) and sea bream with ginger and seaweed broth.
The meaty part of our lunch involved duck leg and pork with apple sauce – again, traditional and simple but nicely executed. We finished with frozen yoghurt with strawberries and watermelon, and chocolate and peanut butter bar with caramelised banana. Our green tea was accompanied with two lovely petits fours: pineapple jelly with Szechuan pepper, and a chocolate and walnut fudge square.
On our second visit, we sampled the four-course a la carte menu at dinnertime and started with a glass of Ayala Brut Majeur Champagne each, which came with some lovely canapes – salmon caviar and mousse within little biscuits, crackers with chickpea dip, and a wholemeal canapé with squid ink and a sesame seed pork cracker.
The wine we selected was a white Pernand Verg V Frere, a Chardonnay with strong vanilla tones, which went nicely with the range of food we ordered. I decided to sample the sushi menu this time around and had tuna, salmon and yellowfin nigiri and crab, California roll and avocado roll maki. I am a big fan of sushi and often have it in more casual restaurants, and it was nice to see a high-end restaurant turn its hand to this type of food. My partner Owl started with yellowfin tuna and Iberico ham.
Our next courses were king crab with Granny Smith apple sauce, and English asparagus with sabayons sauce, lentils and seeds. These second courses formed a great bridge between the very light starters and the weightier mains, and all were sensibly portioned so avoided the rookie error of over-filling us. Our meat courses were lamb with Jersey royal potatoes and smoky sauce, and duck breast and leg.
The desserts didn’t let the side down: blood orange cake with olive oil, orange pieces and sorbet, and profiteroles with dark chocolate sauce and ginger ice cream inside chocolate balls. We also got madeleines with cream with our green tea, and were able to sit in the bar area to have our tea which was a good way to unwind and chat about our food. There were people who just came in for drinks, and there is also a ‘grill’ option at this restaurant – it manages to offer a large range of food without letting down any of the quality.
This is a very strong choice for a smart/casual, fun, high-quality meal.