on April 8, 2006
The first trick to dining at this Gordon Ramsay restaurant is getting a reservation. They only take reservations by telephone no more than 30 days in advance. The tables are usually booked within half an hour after the reservation line opens at 9am. Being on Mountain Standard Time, this meant getting up at 2am to book a table. But the sleep interruption was worth it.When you first approach the restaurant, it is very unassuming. Located in Chelsea, there is not a lot of commercial activity around the restaurant. The large window and single door covered by an aubergine awning do not indicate the wonders within. And wonders are to be found inside this small restaurant.Less than 20 tables are inside. Dress is smart casual, which they explain means jackets for men and no trainers, jeans, or athletic wear. Most of the diners are considerably better dressed than casual wear, giving this intimate feeling restaurant an upscale atmosphere.From the moment you sit down, you are cosseted by the best service I have ever experienced in a restaurant. Not only are the staff attentive yet discreet, their attentions contribute enormously to make the experience memorable. Attention is personal, informative, and warm without being overly friendly. Most of the staff has French accents, which reflects the French-based menu.The menu consists of either a seven-course tasting menu or a three-course menu. We opted for three courses, thinking we could not eat seven. But three courses is deceptive because of all the additional servings. Before we ordered, we received tiny amuse bouches of canneloni filled with avocado and smoked salmon, along with potato crisps filled with a garlicky cream cheese. This was followed by the most flavourful pumpkin soup. Our starters, which we ordered, frogs legs, scallops, ravioli, tuna, and swordfish carpaccio, were equally delicious. Our main courses of Cornish lamb, pork, and Angus beef were inventive, filled with numerous layers of flavour and presented like works of art. The dishes are served all at once and then a team of servers add sauces and explain the dish. A pre-dessert followed, then the desserts we ordered, then post-desserts. Despite the mind boggling amount of food, we had to eat it to experience the incredible tastes.This experience is not cheap, 70 pounds for the three-course dinner, but I would return here without question.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009