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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LONDON 2012: Gordon Ramsay!!

The last night in London we decided to treat ourselves. Plus this place was HIGHLY recommended by others who were also there on the trip with us.

If you don't know who Gordon Ramsay is... then you must not have a TV or access to internet. haha. He's the British chef that is known for screaming at people on Hell's Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares. One of my current favorite shows on TV right now: MasterChef, is also one of his creations. And these are just a few of his TV endeavors. In addition, he's got restaurants all over the world and has 12 Michelin stars under his belt. Pretty impressive empire he's built for himself.

Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's
45 Brook Street
London, W1K 4HR, UK
020 7499 0099

The restaurant is in the Claridge's hotel. A really nice hotel... Looked luxurious and fancy. The restaurant is also very high class looking. It made me feel a little out of place and had to be on my best behavior! haha.

All the staff was very polite and professional, from the Maitre D' (head waiter) to the assistant waiters to people who refilled our waters. They were also quite informative on the restaurant, the chef and the food.

They offered a 5-course tasting menu or a 3-course menu for £70 a person.

We started with an Amuse Bouche (Hash browns and Watermelon with Goat Cheese).
Gotta love the free stuff. haha. The bites looked so delicate and the watermelon was so vibrant. The hashbrown was very tasty and nice and crispy on the outside but we didn't know how to appreciate it more than the tots at Sonic or whatever. haha. I'm not a fan of watermelon or goat cheese but I was ok with the combination. The watermelon was slightly sweet and the goat cheese wasn't too pungent.

We also got some bread before the appetizer course. Wheat Roll and Brown Sourdough. I've realized that Europeans like their hard bread. Coming from Paris to London... all the breads were super hard. A little tough on my teeth!

Before appetizers we got a Cold Pea Soup with Ham (compliments of the chef).
It was sooo green! Very pretty. I've never had pea soup and always wanted to try. I'm not usually a fan of cold soups... But I loved it. You can definitely taste the peas but it was silky and rich and luxurious. Slightly sweet from the peas and contrasted with the salty bits of ham on top. It was great to dip the bread in. It was also very filling so I had to force myself not to finish to save room. We haven't even gotten our actual apps yet and I was already getting full! haha.

For the appetizer, I got the Ravioli of Lobster, Shellfish and Salmon (with lemongrass and chervil veloute).

It was highly recommended the Maitre D' explained that since the opening of the restaurant 11 years ago, this item has been on the menu the entire time because it is so popular. It was one massive ravioli. They poured the sauce in tableside which I always like. It was stuffed to the brim with various types of seafood. OMG. I'm not fond of lobster really and thought it was a bit more fishy than I'd like. But I really enjoyed the sauce. And the pasta on the ravioli was cooked well.

My bf ordered the Sauteed Scottish Scallops (with white asparagus, broccoli, caviar and Champagne veloute). It was a beautiful plate. The scallops were cooked well and I really liked the sauce on his dish as well.

For the entree... this is one of the main reasons we came... was the Fillet of Beef Wellington (with prosciutto, Somerset field mushrooms and pommes dauphinoise) (£10.00 supplement for two people).
Pommes Dauphinoise is basically potatoes au gratin. Comes with watercress and roasted garlic. Served with haricot vert (green beans).

It's so popular that they know they can upcharge it and people would still get it. And you have to order for 2 people since it is how it's made. If you just ordered it for one, they explained that you would have to pay a supplement of £35. This is one of his signature dishes. It's also been on the menu since the establishment of the restaurant 11 years ago. And it's always featured in his show, Hell's Kitchen. I've never had beef Wellington before and was always curious to try it. Beef and puff pastry...doesn't sound half bad! :P We understood why it was meant for two when they brought it out. That is the portion size they have to bake the beef and pastry in. It is cut and served table side.

I loved the presentation. While carving the meat, the Maitre D' explained to us what the components were (beef, a layer of mushrooms, and puff pastry), how it is normally served with roasted garlic and watercress, and after cutting the pieces, he rubbed a little bit of olive oil on the top of the meat and sprinkled just a touch of pepper.
It looked and smelled amazing!!! My favorite part of the dish was the pastry (as I expected). It was buttery and slightly crispy and not too greasy. The beef was cooked well, but I wanted more flavor from the meat and mushrooms. I loved the roasted garlic. I've never had it like that before. The top was caramelized and crunchy while the garlic was soft and creamy. It was a lot of food! I would say I wasn't blown away, but it was definitely quality food.

Before dessert we were served a Palate Cleanser: Passion Fruit Jello with Vanilla Bean Cream and some sort of fruit juice granita.
It's very similar to what we had at Joel Robuchon's restaurant in Paris. This was also really refreshing and yummy. I wonder if passion fruit was in season so it was featured in both restaurants...

For dessert I went with the Elderflower Infused Strawberries with Shortbread, Strawberry Sorbet, White Chocolate Macarons and Cream.
I wanted to get something different and I like the flavor of Elderflower. It was definitely not what I expected when served. It was beautifully presented. I like how the light captures the sugar snowflakes on top. It was basically a deconstructed strawberry shortcake. My favorite part was the macarons. Very very good. The sorbet overpowered the strawberries and shortbread a bit so I could only get hints of the elderflower.

My bf got the Cold Valrhona Chocolate Fondant (with poached cherry flambe).

The waiter described it as kind of like a cold molten chocolate cake. Interesting... We didn't know how it could be cold but still have the gooey chocolate on the inside. It was actually more like a cold chocolate mousse cake. The outside was a little thicker than a mousse but similar texture. And the molten inside was a white chocolate sauce I think. It was soooo good. The chocolate cake was rich and decadent. I definitely liked this better of the two.

Needless to say, we were both stuffed. I was so full I couldn't move! And then... we got more stuff! Homemade Chocolate Truffles and Marshmallows. Somehow we managed to eat them... hahaha.

It was a great experience. One of the more upscale dining places I've been to in my life. Very classy and professional. The food was definitely enjoyable. The best meal of my life? Not really.. But I can say I've been to one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants now, and I've had beef Wellington from the master. hehe. And be prepared to drop some bucks. I think this is the most expensive meal I've had in my life... (so far...haha). Lucky for us it was included in the trip! :)

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