Gordon Ramsay – the best meal of my LIFE (so far!)

Has anyone noticed how high the Aussie dollar is at the moment?  Never before has it been so cheap to go to Europe, and actually be able to do things like eat and see things without feeling like you are bleeding money.  On my recent trip to London, I noticed a stark contrast in the price of fine dining compared to home, partly due to the strong Aussie dollar but also due to the still subdued business market making the long client lunches a bit less lavish and showy compared to the investment banking hey-day.  But not one to complain, I set myself the task of eating ten Michelin stars.  My first was at Pied-A-Terre  - a fine two Michelin star establishment where I thoroughly enjoyed my 30 pound 3 course meal.  And now I must gush about Gordon Ramsay.   When I tell people that this was the best dining experience of my life so far and one of the top 3 highlights of my Europe trip (along with Santorini, and the Vienna opera), people react with surprise, thinking the Gordon Ramsay shown on TV is transpired to his restaurants.  Far be it from the truth.  Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant in Chelsea is one of only two restaurants in Central London with three Michelin stars.   To sum it up – I felt like absolute royalty there.  The service could not have been better if I was indeed of royal blood, and it felt like the entire team was there to attend to your every need.

It is a very small restaurant.  So intimate, and formal without pretence.  We were seated at a table for two – each table for two is positioned around the outside of the room, with the chairs turned into the centre, great for people watching, but mostly so that the waiters may attend to you easily.  The Maitre’d made it seem like he remembered my friend whom I went with, and when she remarked that I had come from Australia, this piece of information made its way to ALL the staff (no joke), as even the servers would ask me how my experience was so far and whether it lived up to expectations.  Each PERSON has their own waiter AND their own server.  The server brings the food on a silver platter with your plate under a ciloche for your gloved waiter to serve you your plate.  Then, your waiter with a flourish pours sauce onto your dish – it is all so symphonic in its execution and inside, I was squealing with delight at every little detail.  But – compose yourself FoodieChat, this IS a three star restaurant, so look cool like you always do this ;)

Did I mention the price? A mere 45 pounds (plus tax) gets you THREE courses for lunch.  In aussie dollars, that’s less than $100!!  There is no such thing as a three MICHELIN star restaurant in Australia, but I can tell you that lunch at most three HAT restaurants would set you back more.  What a bargain.  Even without the “name” the value for money is unsurpassable.  To make it more discreet, only the host of the table gets the menu with the prices. Which set me into a moment of panic thinking “What if the lunch special menu is not available!” because the usual degustation is priced more realistically at 120 pounds.

Guess what this is?  Amuse bouche? No.  In fact, it is the whipped salted butter. Sprinkled with gold leaf and piped onto a granic disc on silver.  *die* of pleasure!!

Now here is the amuse bouche.  My companion is pescatarian, and the kitchen ever so kindly even adapted the amuse bouche, using a tiny poached quails egg sitting in the pea broth.

I am not vegetarian, which means I got the unmodified version. Any guesses about what it is?

My first frogs leg!!  The tiny bone (Slightly offputting hehehe), stuck into a lightly crumbed ball of the flesh which sat on top of a cured speck (I think) and in the pea broth.  OK, if I’m ever going to try a frog’s leg, it’s gotta be at Gordon Ramsay.  It was kinda like flaked chickeny-tuna actually.  Quite seafood-y.    For my first course, I ordered the crab and scallop raviolo.  It was served with the bisque poured by my waiter, and only now in reveiwing my photos had I noticed the painstaking detail – the dots of oil on the dish, the perfectly cubed tomato – but look closely – a tiny herb placed on each tomato – spring onion, chive, coriander. WOW.

The filling was so generous and flavoursome.  And served on a piece of trimmed cabbage.

My friend’s main was fish.  Cooked to perfection, with cute little turned baby veges too.  The flesh was like pearl and melted in your mouth.

But now here is a reason to get excited.  I had the pork dish. It was pork 4 ways!  Count them – pork loin – tender as, and cooked exactly text book pink/just cooked, generously proportioned; crisp proscuitto, a piece of pork belly, and my second first of the day – black pudding.  Hmmm……………………… now that was not something i had ever intended to try…. but again, close my eyes – if there’s ANY place I would try it, it would have to be Gordon Ramsay.  I hope no one saw me spread it on my bread.  I wasn’t game to eat it on its own.  (Did I mention the bread is offered to you all through the meal, as much as you want, so you don’t have to act all greedy and ask for me?).  I was pleasantly surprised – it was like pate!  Quite more-ish and savoury.  The pork dish was served with a yummy jus and a baked nashi slice,.

Well sorry there’s only one dessert photo. We both chose the banana parfait with salted caramel ice cream, no question about it!  A perfectly square crispy chocolate casing enclosed a smooth banana semifreddo, with a perfect quennelle of caramel ice cream.   It sat on a passionfruit sauce drizzle, with a triangular brandy snap on top.

The bananas in the parfait were just slightly more ripe for my own personal tasting, but I can’t flaw it because the perfect degree of banana ripeness is such a personal thing.  I wondered to myself how on earth the delicate lacey chocolate coating was applied.  And here another impressive feature of the restaurant – one of our two waiters overhead and casually said that the chef applies chocolate via a spray and it sets itself due to the cold ice cream.  Have you ever known such an attentive waiter who needn’t even refer back to the kitchen about how something is made?? Wow.  Did I mention he was cute too?  Especially since all the waiters wear coats with tails ;)

Feeling so satisfied and on cloud 9 from such an extraordinary meal, being treated like royalty in a non-stuffy way, I sat back to commence digestion.  Elegantly of course!  When along came a funny little sculptural stand.  What is this thing??

Silver baubles stuck onto a stand were in fact – hand made truffles!! So many to eat between just the two of us! How generous!   They were white chocolate coated, and sprayed with edible silver.  Another *internal squeal of delight*.  And as I bit into my first of 4 truffles….along comes a silver vessel, smoking…. what the?    The gloved hand of the waiter removed the lid and although I wanted to watch the dreamy cloud evaporate to see what was inside – I also wanted it to last – I love dry ice!

Inside the lotus folded napkin enclosed silver vessel of dry ice was in fact ice cream balls!  More balls! How perfectly round are they? And again – how did they do it??

White chocolate encased strawberry ice cream.  The most intense strawberry flavour EVER.

Inside the truffles :)

It just astounds me that what is one of the world’s best restaurants – and at the least – the best in London – is the remarkable generosity to offer such extras as the amuse bouche, the choccies and ice cream and unlimited bread, even though we were paying a mere 50 pounds a head.  I don’t get it. But I wish Sydney restaurants would catch on.   I just couldn’t resist taking a photo of the amazing sugar bowl.  Cubes – raw and white – perfectly tesselating in the container!

I think my efforts to look “cool” must have been pretty unbelievable, because at the end of the meal, the waiter asked if we would like to have a look at the kitchen.  WOULD WE?!   He had already made my day with the strawberry ice cream balls, but to finish it off in this manner!  And boy was there a shock in the kitchen.  I could not believe it that we were welcomed and in fact, head chef Clare Smyth took time from cleaning and prettying plates to walk from behind the serving bench to shake my hand!!    Do you know any other kitchen that would allow you to come in, treat you like a visitor instead of an imposition – and for the chef to want to meet you?  And the waiter even offered to take a photo for us – I didn’t even dare to ask.

Even recounting the memories now is making me happy.  Do you see what I mean in that the Gordon Ramsay we see on TV is completely at odds to his flagship restaurant?   Lucky Londoners to get to eat here.  I have no idea how they can possibly make money – such a high staff to customer ratio, fine food and such high quality of staff.   Hopefully with Ramsay’s rapid world domination more of this winning formula can be transpired to other parts of the world.  Now this is three Michelin star dining.  And I want more!

3 Responses to “Gordon Ramsay – the best meal of my LIFE (so far!)”

  1. FoodieChat » Blog Archive » Gordon Ramsay – the best meal of my … » Super Fine Dining Says:

    [...] is the original post: FoodieChat » Blog Archive » Gordon Ramsay – the best meal of my … Related Posts:gordon ramsay makes it easy | Gordon Ramsay Collectibles … ” which showcased [...]

  2. joey@FoodiePop Says:

    Damn! I didn’t realise the kitchen would be so welcoming! When we went to London last year I couldn’t resist GR either, so had to eat at his flagship restaurant. We couldn’t get a dinner booking so had to settle for lunch as well, and it was the best meal we’ve eaten also. So, so impressive! We were also confused by the silver chocolate truffle ‘tree’! LOL. Reading your post has given me such fab memories, thanks! :-D

  3. Anneliese Heth Says:

    I love Gordon, although he’s got financial issues at the moment and closed single restaurant, I know he will come up with something. There’s no way he’d miss to produce yet another season of hells kitchen, lol

Leave a Reply