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Restaurant Gordon Ramsay entranceChefs Mark Askew and Gordon RamsayBest French Restaurants

in London

 

 

Recommended reviews and articles about this restaurant:  Fodor's  /  FoodTourist.com  /  Frommer's Guide  /  GastroChick  /  Gastronomia (French) /  GAYOT  /  Guardian Unlimited (UK) /  Gusto!  /  Andy Hayler  /  L'Internaute (French) /  London-eating.co.uk  /  Restaurant-guide.com (UK) /  Squaremeal.co.uk  /  tastingmenu.com  /  TimeOut London  /  Urban Path (UK) /  Yahoo! Travel

MICHELIN

GAULT MILLAU

GAYOT

GASTROVILLE

16/20

17/20

15/20

Lunch and dinner
3 course à la carte
£90
Prestige £120
3 course lunch menu £45

Open Monday to Friday

Dinner 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Lunch 12 noon to 2:30 p.m.

Address:

  Gordon Ramsay
68 Royal Hospital Road
London SW3 4HP UK

 

Phone:

  +44 (0) 207 352 4441

Fax:

  +44 (0) 207 352 3334

Email:

  royalhospitalroad@gordonramsay.com
 

Executive Chef:

  Mark Askew
 
Chef de Cuisine:   Clare Smyth
 
Maître d'Hôtel:   Jean-Claude Breton
 
Chef Propriétaire:   Gordon Ramsay
 

Official Site:

[website]

  

 

Review of Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road, London

by Andy Hayler

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Food Rating: 10/10

Last visited: June 2002

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Andy HaylerThis was elevated to three stars in March 2002, and it should be noted that it is a slightly tricky place to get to. It is about 70km north-west of Strasbourg 4km from a tiny village called Baiersbronn. The restaurant had no rooms when I came here, but has added some rooms since. Alternatively you can stay in a simple 2 star place called the hotel Kirchbourg in the village, which at least avoids a lengthy drive.In 2000 I wrote on this web site: “The kitchen here is cooking at very high two Michelin star level, and would be a good bet for the UK’s next 3rd Michelin star restaurant” and this indeed transpired in 2001. It is in the premises of the old Tante Claire but was refurbished in 2006. Service is of a very high standard, and the main problem is getting in. They operate a completely surreal booking system, with attitude to spare: “Try calling back in about three week’s time between 09:00 and 09:05 a.m”, for a table in exactly a month’s time is a typical experience. If you get past this without screaming and don’t just give up entirely then the dining experience itself is lovely.

Below are notes from a meal in March 2008, my first with new head chef Clare Smyth.
 
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay dining roomThe dining room has just over a dozen tables and is simply decorated, with wooden panels painted white alternated with mirror panels, and a central pillar in the dining room also mirrored. There are no paintings on the walls, and no music to distract from the food. Lighting is nicely done with directed ceiling spots, though a dimming of the lights during the evening was unsubtle to say the least; it felt as if someone was about to call “last orders”. Other than that service was superb throughout, with waiters attentive without being intrusive, and what came across as a genuine interest in the customer. The wine list is 37 pages in length and full of top growers, but is fully priced. There is a solitary wine at £21, but Ata Rangi pinot noir 2006 is £82 (retail price around £23), Clot St Hune 2000 £185 (retail maybe £70) and Unico 1995 an unforgiving £440 (retail around £120). Even the basic Kistler Sonoma Coast, the least interesting wine of a great producer, is £130 for a wine that retails at about £30 (if you can find it). For nibbles there are crisps of mozzarella and potato cream and a cone of avocado and lobster salad. These were both fine though I recall previous incarnations of the crisps being more delicate (7/10). An amuse bouche of a little ravioli with potato foam on a tiny bed of root vegetables and a jacket potato consommé had a pleasing smokiness (8/10).

My langoustine, lobster and salmon ravioli was poached in a light bisque with a lemongrass and chervil velouté. This is a slight update on an old Ramsay classic but I found the pasta just a fraction harder than ideal, and a filling that could have been a little more moist (7/10). Better was a starter of pan-fried Scottish scallops with a millefeuille of potato, parmesan veloute and truffle “smarties”, the star for me being the excellent potato, but here the scallops were timed just about perfectly (9/10). This is more than can be said for pan-fried John Dory, which was distinctly on the crispy side of cooked, served with Crab, caviar, crushed new potatoes and a basil vinaigrette; the fish itself was on the borderline of being suitable to be sent back for another go, though the other elements of the dish were fine (5/10 at best). I fared better with excellent Barbary duck, cooked pink and with lovely flavour, served with creamed savoy cabbage, chestnuts, beetroot, turnips, black trumpet mushrooms and nicely judged Madeira jus (9/10).

The cheese is now from Cave au Fromage in South Kensington, a mostly French board with a few British offerings such as Stinking Bishop and Stilton. These were in good condition but I am still in search of a cheese board in England to rival those you find in France (8/10). Pineapple and coconut soup with chilli syrup as a pre-dessert had its flavours in control and was fairly refreshing (7/10). A tarte tatin was well made though for me was caramelised just a little too long (8/10) though the taste was good, the pastry fine and the vanilla ice cream with it excellent. A Granny Smith parfait with honeycomb, bitter chocolate and champagne foam was very prettily presented and had nice texture, though the flavours seemed a little subdued (8/10). The white chocolate spheres with strawberry ice cream served in a dish with liquid nitrogen would perhaps be better with less theatre, being served so cold that the palate is numbed. Coffee is excellent. Overall this was a very enjoyable meal: the menu is appealing, full of dishes that you actually want to eat but not stuck in a time warp. Service was genuinely excellent. For me though the flavours are not truly exciting as one might hope for in a 3 star place, and the odd slip as with the John Dory timing tonight should not occur at this level. I don’t think the bill is particularly excessive: three courses cost £90, and there are plenty of freebies thrown in for that. For photos of this meal see the gallery.

Here are notes from a meal in 2007. The new room retains the same 14 tables but the décor is less yellow and more cream/beige, and rather simpler. It is very restrained and does not distract from the food. There is no music, and there is carpet rather than the wooden floors that seem ubiquitous these days (and are very noisy). The service is very slick, led by Jean-Claude Breton, and this evening the front of house team did not put a foot wrong: dishes were delivered in a timely fashion, water, wine and bread were topped up carefully and there was no trouble getting attention. Even the cheese waiter really knew his stuff, a rarity in the UK. The wine list is substantial and features high quality growers from across the world e.g. from Germany there is JJ Prum and also Willi Haag as well as the more common Dr Loosen. There is the odd wine under £20 and some choice in the £25-£40 range, and certainly mark-ups are not the fiercest in London by any means. Trimbach Cuvee Frederich Emile was £69 for a wine that retails at £19.50 for example.

To begin with was a spoon containing a sphere of deep fried Parmesan rissole resting in a little rocket pesto (8/10) and a cornet containing sour cream courgette and aubergine topped with caviar. This sounds odd yet in fact the vegetable puree was very good indeed, and the saltiness of the caviar balanced the sour cream well, the aubergine puree at the bottom an interesting surprise (9/10). The first amuse bouche was a “breakfast” of a soft boiled egg served in its shell with “baked beans” in tomato sauce, serviced with spoonful of cold wild mushroom duxelle and a potato and bacon crisp. This sounds rather gimmicky but was well made. The second amuse bouche was a central tortellini filled with crushed amaretto biscuits, over which was poured a pumpkin velouté; the soup had very good flavour indeed, with a clean yet intense taste, and was accompanied by a parmesan bread stick (9/10). My first “proper” course was ballottine of foie gras in a ring, in the centre of which was a jelly of camomile, alongside a row of baby pickled vegetables (cauliflower, carrot, turnip, broccoli). The foie gras itself was of high quality, the ballottine having smooth texture, though I‘m not sure that camomile is the ideal partner for this flavour. The rosemary foccacia accompanying this dish was excellent, better than the regular breads (8/10). Next was a pair of scallops that were topped with a thin layer of Parmesan, then pan fried. These were served with a parmesan velouté and octopus carpaccio. All very pleasant, though I wonder what the Parmesan crust on the scallops really offered, and whether they would have been cooked even better without this distraction (8/10). Fillet of line-caught halibut was of very high quality, fresh and timed beautifully, the fish having excellent texture. This was resting on two rolls of papardelle pasta, one flavoured with coriander and green in colour, the other with ginger and red in colour. A sauce of passion fruit butter was poured around the fish. On top of the fish were some unannounced but very tender baby French beans. I worried about whether the passion fruit would work, yet there was a pleasing freshness that carried the dish through, and the passion fruit butter avoided any sense of cloying. I would score this 9/10 except for one technical problem: the pasta roll of ginger was rather hard, while the other one was fine.

Next was three slices of Northumberland beef, cooked medium rare and surrounded by a ring of kohlrabi and assorted root vegetables, resting in an infusion of root vegetables that was also served on the side in a small cup to be drunk. Also served was a copper pot of mashed potato creamed with horseradish that I thought worked very well, the distinct flavour of the horseradish nicely keeping the richness of the mashed potato in check. All this was very well executed (9/10).

I should say that as I was steadily munching through this tasting menu Stella was eating an entirely vegetarian tasting menu alongside me (a fairly new feature here). The first dish was tiny red peppers stuffed with ratatouille, crisp dice of courgettes, aubergines, peppers and tomatoes, served with a rich tomato coulis, made sour by the addition of vinegar. This was served with the same pickled baby vegetables as the foie gras, on top of a basil puree, and accompanied by a slice of brioche with black truffles, much better than the regular bread (8/10). The second course was a coriander papardelle, on top of an aubergine gratin, topped with wild mushrooms and a cep veloute. The pasta was a little hard, but otherwise the tastes and textures were good (6/10). The third course was a “paté” of slices of potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes and black truffle, with an artichoke sauce containing a few tiny broad beans; this was the best dish in terms of originality and taste (9/10). The last dish was a fricassee of white beans with salsify, cauliflower, broccoli, and green beans, surrounded by a ring of baby spinach leaves and served with a white bean veloute, all delicate and tasting of the individual fresh vegetables (8/10).

Cheese was served on a crowded trolley, and is mostly French with a few British choices. Camembert was in fair condition, while Langres (from Champagne) was in better shape. Comte (from Jura) was pleasant but lacked the lovely taste that really top Comte possesses. Colston Basset Stilton was very good. They use Premiere Cheese as a supplier, which is OK but by keeping such a large board (there were maybe 30 cheeses) it was inevitable that not all were in peak condition: better to serve a half a dozen cheeses in truly perfect nick. For me this was only a 7/10 cheese board. A pre dessert of pineapple and champagne soup topped with fromage frais and chilli was drunk through a straw and was pleasant, livened up by the inclusion of “space dust” (6/10). Dessert was Granny Smith granite, on top of Granny Smith parfait enclosed by rings of dark chocolate. At the base was a white chocolate mousse on a disc of rich chocolate sponge, and on top was a disc of spun sugar and a fine chocolate stick (8/10).

Bread is slices of either white, brown or tomato bread. The bread is well made and very pleasant, but not especially interesting (5/10). The bread is actually bought in from Marcus Miller in Battersea. While I don’t have a problem with restaurants buying in bread when they cannot make it better themselves, you have to ask yourself a question. This is a 3 star Michelin restaurant, one of the three in the UK. If anywhere is going to try and make bread, surely this should be the place? The bread at Roussillon, for example (who make their own), is better than here. At the end there is no tray of petit fours but a pretty metal display of a tree of wires and on the end of each “branch” is impaled a very good spherical chocolate (9/10). Balls of strawberry icecream covered in white chocolate are served in a silver dish with liquid nitrogen spilling out. Coffee itself was better as espresso than filter, which seemed to me a little weak (7/10 on average). As I look back at the meal I can admire the generally fault-free technical execution combined with pleasant flavour combinations and good ingredients. However somehow for me the cooking lacks real excitement – there was no dish with the “wow” factor. For all its virtues this seems to me to lag somewhere below the halfway point of three star Michelin restaurants.

Here are notes from a meal in 2006.

Amuse guele of pumpkin soup, flavoured with truffle oil (10/10). My starter was pork belly flavoured with spices, remarkably tender after slow braising, surrounded by a somewhat superfluous ring of baby sautéed langoustines, which were adequately rather than perfectly timed, and whose delicate flavour was rather overwhelmed by the pork, spices, and by the horseradish flavoured blanc à la crème that was poured over them. The dish would have been better without the langoustines, though the pork was remarkably tender (8/10, higher without the langoustines). For main course I had a breast of Bresse chicken, poached then grilled, served on a bed of vegetables including asparagus, confit shallots and wild mushrooms, themselves atop a layer of Savoy cabbage seasoned with marjoram, resting on a bed of delicate borlotti beans (10/10). The chicken was perfectly cooked, full of the flavour that comes only from Bresse chicken, while the vegetables were faultless.

For dessert I had tarte tatin, which was very good but was less good than the rest of the meal. The pastry was flaky, the tart suitably caramelised, but somehow this lacked the flavour of the very best tarte tatin (for which try the Waterside Inn). This was served with some perfect vanilla ice cream (overall 7/10 for the tarte, 10/10 for the ice cream). Coffee was served with a little box of macaroons and also some home made chocolates. Service was effortless.
 
© AndyHayler.com.  Used by Permission.  All rights reserved. See Andy Hayler's Restaurant Guide for reviews of outstanding restaurants around the world.


  

Gordon Ramsay: A Chef for All Seasons Gordon Ramsay's Passion for Flavour Gordon Ramsay's Passion for Seafood Gordon Ramsay's Just Desserts Gordon Ramsay Makes It Easy
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