Food: French cuisine
Address: 68 Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HP, United Kingdom
Phone Number: +44 (0)207 352 4441
What I paid: £185 (tasting menu, a none alcoholic aperitif, just water and a coffee)
Visited: November 12, 2015
French cuisine is on offer at Gordon Ramsey’s flagship restaurant. Ramsay’s restaurant imperium now houses 26 restaurants around the world, but its “crown jewel”, located in Chelsea/London, was the target for this day’s lunch.
In 1998 at the age of 31, Gordon set up his first wholly owned restaurant Gordon Ramsey in Chelsea (i.e. this restaurant…). In 2001 it had gained the ultimate third Michelin star. The restaurants seats 45 guests.
Head Chef/Patron Clare Smyth has been in charge of the kitchens here for several years now (while Gordon is busy opening new restaurants and appearing on TV…) , but the restaurant is named Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. That said, Clare has now decided to resign from Gordon Ramsey and open up her own restaurant.
My initial plan was just to have the lunch menu but my friend insisted to go for a full tasting menu with all their classic dishes (aka Menu Prestige). Unfortunately, I gave in…
An amuse-bouche of egg and bacon (if I remember correctly) started this lunch meal. A subtle tone of white truffles could be traced, which I liked.
Foie gras with green apples:
The first “formal” dish on the menu was foie gras with green apples, turnips, watercress and smoked duck. Good but nothing special.
Ravioli of lobster:
This is a classic dish of the Gordon Ramsey Restaurant and also one that a friend of mine have talked about a lot. So I was really looking forward to taste this ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon poached in a light bisque with oxalis and wood sorrel.
This dish was a big disappointment. Apart from the sauce, that was really good, neither of us liked this ravioli of lobster. The lobster itself was sincerely bad and it is for me really surprising that a three star Guide Michelin restaurant can serve seafood of this bad quality.
Isle of Gigha halibut:
The next dish was using this Isle of Gigha halibut with Atlantic King crab, finger lime, and ras el hanout infused broth.
Work started on halibut at the marine hatchery at Otter Ferry on Loch Fyne in 1991with the successful capture and transportation of live wild halibut from the North of Scotland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The challenge then was to work out the life cycle of the halibut and the optimum conditions for each stage. What sets halibut apart from other marine species is the long and protracted larval rearing stage. The Isle of Gigha surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean was identified as a very suitable site for the ongrowing stage and in 2006 Gigha Halibut was established. Harvesting began in 2007 and the company has been providing premium Atlantic halibut to the market week in week out since that time.
The halibut was of good quality but not the best I have had. Ras el hanout is a spice mix from North Africa that is foremost associated with Morocco. The name is Arabic for “head of the shop” (similar to the English expression “top-shelf”) and implies a mixture of the best spices the seller has to offer and I think that those spices worked well in the broth accompanying the fish- and seafood in this dish.
I really like pigeon so I was happy to see this dish on the menu. The pigeon was served with sweet corn, sautéed foie gras, lavender, honey, fennel and plum. The pigeon itself was sadly far from the best I have had.
Mango, jasmine and passion fruit soup:
It was now time for the dessert section of the menu and first out was a small a Mango, jasmine and passion fruit soup. Good quality mango and an okay little dish but nothing special.
A mortar containing mint was put on the table next to a sorbet of granny smith apples (I think…). The leaves in the mortar were grinded with the help of liquid nitrogen and the pestle. After the leaves were grinded you were supposed to blend them with the sorbet in the mortar. A pretty nice refresher but I think there were a notch to much mint giving the size of the sorbet.
Lemonade parfait with honey, parfait, bergamot and sheep´s milk yoghurt sorbet. A nice dessert with a pleasant tartness.
The petits fours ending the dinner were nothing special, and that feeling, more or less summarizes the overall experience of this meal.
Summary: A really nice and “cozy” restaurant with friendly and professional service. That said, when it comes to the food itself I must say that I was disappointed. For me it is a real mystery that this restaurant is awarded with three Guide Michelin stars, and of all the about 30 three-stars restaurants I have visited, this is the one I have on the very bottom of that list. Any 1-star Guide Michelin restaurant in Scandinavia is easily “better”, at least from my taste perspective. I am not sure if this is related to the fact that Clare Smyth is leaving, or actually already has left (?) and no one is really in charge of the kitchen for the time being (or maybe Gordon is taking some time off from all his TV-shows and run the kitchen again…)? This of course cannot really be the case, in a 3-star kitchen, but the quality of some ingredients were really inferior than most 1-star kitchens and not many dishes stand out in a favourite way (which I think you could expect from a 3-star restaurant).