The Silly season is upon us. And what better way to celebrate than to take a trip down fine dining lane, more accurately to Claridges to sample Gordon Ramsay’s wares.
Claridges is that iconic institution that automatically conjures up words like luxury, 5-star, grand and glamorous. The decor of Gordon Ramsay’s does nothing to dispel this feeling, high ceilings, clean white walls, art deco chandeliers and Christmas centrepieces as a nod to the season.
The service on the other hand does not live up to the image. There’s no other way to say it, the service was slow. A few confusions with the wine – Lady M wasn’t sure what to order from the wine Ipad and asked for help. The sommelier just seemed confused by our request. You want wine, his expression seemed to say, am I supposed to help with that? (On a side note, why is there a need for a Wine ipad, will a gorgeously bound leather book no longer do the trick??).
Despite being handed a menu fairly smart-ish, after 20 minutes we had to flag down a waiter to take our order. We opted for the 5-course Menu Prestige – Gordon’s Tasting Menu of the day.
First up, Amuse bouche of Cauliflower soup, wild trompettes with a touch of olive oil. I did have to flag down someone to learn what this was though – no explanation forthcoming from our waiter. It was however absolutely delicious, creamy and warming right down to my very toes.
Next up, Pressed Foie gras, confit of rabbit & smoked duck with green beans, pickled shimeji & summer truffle.
No idea what pickled shimeji is, but through process of elimination, I’m going to guess it was the mushrooms. This was a lovely starter, however a bite of my neighbour’s yellow-fin tuna had me green with food envy,
Next up, Ravioli of lobster, shellfish & salmon with a lemongrass & chervil veloute. Ravioli was meaty full of seafood with a delicate sauce added in at the last minute.
Now for mains – the majority of the table opted for Gordon’s signature dish – fillet of Beef Wellington with somerset field mushrooms and dauphinoise. The beef was portions to be shared amongst 2, with individual portions of brussel sprouts, creamy creamy potatoes doled out to the table.
My option – the fish, pan-fried monkfish tail with lobster and celeriac puree on a bed of lentils was cooked to perfection and made for a very satisfying meal.
All in all, the meal was pursuing at a very leisurely pace and kudos to them for not rushing us, but we were starting to feel like things were a bit too slow. So much so, we had to request that they upped the pace when it came to dessert.
Pre-dessert was a lemon granita with pineapple jelly – a little bit too sharp for my taste but it did the job to cleanse the palate.
Final course – dark chocolate with a honeycomb sphere, milk chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. I felt dessert let the game down a little bit – it was perfectly nice, but no better than a Dairy Milk/ Crunchie bar combo.
The service needs a side mention as it was a little bit hit and miss. I lingered over my white wine a little too long and was asked not once, twice, but three times if I wanted to be topped up with Red!
The bill was loudly announced to the table, much to the embarrassment of the hosts and the waiters flatly refused to pack up the petit fours for someone at home.
All in all, the food was great. Really great. But the service let the floor down and at a hefty £200+ a head at the famed Claridges, one expects a bit more polish than that.