I decided to try for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, one of only 2 three Michelin starred restaurants in the UK. For more info on Michelin Ratings click here I couldn't believe my luck when I actually got a reservation for lunch on the day of my birthday.
|A glass of bubbles while deciding Billecart-Salmon Brue Rose £19|
|A look at the Menu Prestige £125|
I also chose a Terravin Savaunon Black from New Zealand £52 for G and I to share with our meal.
Pressed foie gras with peppered madeira, smoked duck, rhubarb and blood orange. Another perfectly presented dish. My friend Miss K is a fois gras addict, but the closest I have got is slivers off her plate. This dish was served with toasted brioche. The flavours were intense- too intense for my fellow diner, but beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the balance of flavours by mixing elements from the garnish with the fois gras.
One of Mr Ramsay's signature dishes, and one that we were informed has been on the menu forever: Ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon. This was a perfectly rounded dish. The pasta was as delicate as silk, while still robust enough to be one of the centre-points of the dish. The filling was surprisingly mannish, um, I think I expected it to be a more feminine dish but there were good chunk of seafood inside. I liked it.
Halibut with king crab and cauliflower couscous.
I think, I was really surprised when this dish came out. It was one of the most theatrical dishes. Apart from how visually gorgeous it is, our waiter brought a jug of the broth and swirled it just into front of us so we could breathe in the Moroccan aromas. He mentioned that this is a fairly new dish, and wanted to know whether we believed it should stay on the menu.
When he came over to take our plates, I think he only made it half way over to us before I squealed 'YES YOU HAVE TO KEEP IT!' A definite highlight of my meal.
Both Miss G and I had decided on the 'Suckling Pig' option for our main. Another of the more masculine plates. Pork belly, loin and sausage, each of the first two was perfect and stunning. The sausage did not quite do it for me. As quaint as I thought it was to serve -basically- bangers, mash and gravy at a restaurant like this, the texture of the sausage was a bit to chunky, or rough (I can't think of the perfect adjective here). The pork belly was divine though.
We had both decided on the cheeses from the trolly. I love when waitresses know their cheeses so well. I requested a goats cheese, a cheddar, and allowed her to choose 3 others for me, so long as the blue was a creamy and not a sharp.
Dessert: creme brulee with prunes, and apple juice served on the side.
I cannot describe this. I'm sorry. It was perfect. It was emotional. It was sexy. It was divine. It was without flaw. It was king.
This was such a glamorous dessert, but such a perfect finisher. The lemony flavours completely cleansing the palate and soothing our full and weary stomachs.
I loved the waiters. They were so friendly, chatty and interested.
I've always known I have an overly emotive face, and I think everytime the waiters came past they didn't even need to ask how I enjoyed the course they had just served, they could see it, (and quite often would giggle at this). So we got to talking about if I am a fan of food and cooking... I believe my responce to this was along the lines of 'OH MY GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS??' (they may have thought I had tourettes, but if they did, they took it very well).
After more chat, they asked if I would like to see the kitchen.
This was such an unexpected treat. I felt so lucky, to see where the magic happens, to hear the stories, hearing about the roles of each of the people that work out back and front of house. The passion they share. The woozying perfection they are required to maintain. It was just- out of this world.
We were not rushed at all, through our seven courses, even having not sat at our table till 2.15, but at around 4.45 we were guided into the lounge for our petit fours and coffees.
Oh and birthday treat and Ameretto.
So what makes this restaurant worthy of its stars? Worthy of it's reputation?
Food can only be so good, right? Right, the food here was great. What I will hold on to from this experience is how much I felt like the most important person in the room, how much the staff wanted to get to know me, as well as help me to know them, the restaurant, the chef and Gordon Ramsay's vision.
If nothing else THAT feeling will stay with me. Well done Mister Ramsay, you certainly made my birthday. This restaurant is without doubt worthy of everything it represents and is acclaimed for.