Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Gordon's Boxwood Cafe


Recommended Posts

Gordon Ramsay opens what he is touting as a sort of London version of Gramercy Tavern at the Berkley Hotel next week in the space that was Vong. It sounds very interesting, a departure from his more usual fine dining approach and could well fill a gap in the market. That said, the menu is a little reminicent of somewhere like Bibendum or even Racine, although Boxwood will turnover much higher numbers, up to 250 covers a night. Ramsay is on the front cover of Restaurant magazine, which has a very good interview and a full copy of the menu.

Interview in the telegraph here.

Website here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Curiosity has got the better of me, so I have a table booked for next Friday for dinner. The dinner menu sounds more dinnerish than some of the burgers/sandwiches etc suggested on the website...I'll let you know how it goes.

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gavin and I dined at The Boxwood last evening. I booked on Thursday via Ramsay's central booking service.

We were very impressed by the service, the friendly & keen waiting staff and especially with the sommelier, a jolly chap called Michael (I believe).

The room is on three levels with the bar in the middle and not too large. We were rather surprised that there was background music, it was inoffensive and made us feel of a certain age but by 9pm the buzz in the room rendered this almost incidental.

The menu offered a good selection of starters and mains reasonably priced up to 10-00GBP and 15-00 GBP.

The two specials were verbally described (with prices) by the maitre d'.

Gavin had the elvers served on thyme toast (a special starter at 15—00 GBP) which was a first for him – they looked like linguine and tasted of thyme. I had the fried duck egg on green and white aspargus with parmesan shavings. The portions were large (by Baxter standards) but both thoroughly enjoyed.

For mains Gavin had the Dorset blue lobster grilled with garlic butter and chips (---soggy): lobster was tasty.

I had the braised beef ( special 15—00 GBP). The beef was similar to a beef dish I had at Amaryllis, slow cooked and mouth melting. Again, by our standards, the portions were large – but they didn’t defeat us.

The fun bit was when we each had a different glass of wine with each course. The sommelier was great value allowing us to taste his recommendations and always assuring us that if we didn’t like his recommendations we could try something else. Apologies for not remembering to take the itemised bill or remembering what they were.

For pud we had to try the Black Forest Gateau (since neither of us had had this for over 20 years) with a sweet, red dessert wine (can’t remember what it was) and the rhubarb fool. These were very good value at 5-00 GBP each.

Total cost was about 135-00 GBP plus tip.

Whilst having coffee and cigs at the bar Mr Ramsay made an appearance about 9ish to check out his latest venture

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alison and I took our two boys for lunch at the Boxwood Cafe today. Impressive cooking, good wines (and some enterprising choices by the glass), service keen (and warm), if a little harassed and slow at times. A pleasant room, although tables are pretty close together. Warm chicken salad and loin of pork were fine. The puddings were particularly good: I liked the Ramsay take on the Knickerbocker Glory. Just about right for lunch and very good value. The balance between relaxed lunch and more ambitious dinner seems quite well-judged, to go by the posts on this board. GR will want the service to become rather slicker, I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had dinner at Boxwood last Friday on a rare excursion with the wife.

Started with 2 Kir Royales, starters were the salad of spider crab and fried oysters with lemon and fennel, both fresh and tasty dishes.

GR came in at this point and swanned around the tables although for some reason not to ours (probably feared the acerbic tongue of an Egullet member)

Mains were Veal sweetbreads with endive and vanilla jus and Dorste Lobster with Chips. Chips were decidely soggy allumettes style (not up to Macdonalds standard :biggrin: ). Both dishes served in cast iron dishes. The sweetbread (large and singular) was served with dark sauce in dark dish with dark roasted endives - the effect lacked contrast both visually and on the palate.

We then moved from our comfortable sofa for two down the end of the lower room due to heavy smoking by a bunch of hooray city types (hey I work in the City but don't want to eat my dinner surrounded such people). Staff couldn't have been nicer although some junior members looked a bit harassed.

Sommeliere was v. enthusiastic and sweet - she gave me a taste of two sweet wines to see which I preferred and admitted that that their wine list was not fully stocked as yet.

Puddings were fine enough.

Decor was of that NY style with very soft lighting to flatter the worst facelift but lacked a little character - I can't say I will be rushing back.

On the other hand a lunch yesterday at the Jolly Sportsman in East Chidlington (North of Brighton) was excellent and great value for money at £14.95 for three courses - pate and toast, Cod with chorizo and red pepper polenta, roasted fennel and fresh pesto, Poached pair with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce; a glass of Tokay Pinot Gris and a stunning, cheap wine list (Chablis Grand Cru by Dauvissat for £58!). And what a view! (Andy do you know this pub - it's in the GFG?)

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re The Jolly Sportsman. Yes I know of it but have not eaten there as yet. A collegue had dinner there a few weeks ago and was very impressed. I believe it is a Bruce Wass restaurant, who was formerly the owner of Thackery's in Tunbrdge Wells. They have a half built website which has some humerous stop gap comments on it here. Gets 2 out of 10 in the GFG!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, only 2 out of 10 but it felt more. The food was not fancy just very satisfying and the wine markups appear to be only 100%, several wines by the glass with a choice of three different sizes. A good selection of real ales and bottled beers, plus a decor choice of funky rustic bar or urban smart dining room with a mediterranean patio overlooking the downs - all very stylish for the middle of the country. A bugger to find but definitely worth it and also child friendly - they did the standard pasta with butter or ragu (too spicy for my 5 yr old).

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I had a simply marvellous experience at the Boxwood on Saturday night. Whatever you think about Ramsay's recent media assault, not forgetting those crisp adverts, there is no question that he continues to be a consumate restaurateur. Despite sitting at the worst table in the room, a four top situated right by the entrance to the kitchen, I had one of the most enjoyable couple of hours of dining I can recall in quite a while.

Service is friendly, efficient and full of character and good humour. The elegant gold and silver wallpapered room buzzes with the sheer pleasure of it all but never becomes unpleasantly noisey. From the one page menu, I chose a smoked salmon and caviar croque monsuier with walnut salad to start. Eating a toasted sandwhich is an odd way to start a three course meal I suppose, but I just loved it and it went rather well with a bottle of Qupe Chardonnay/Viognnier.

A main of roast suckling pig with cocotte potatoes with grain mustard sauce came to the table in a cast iron dish (just for show, and had obviously never been used to cook in) and was just wonderful, tender flavourful meat with perfect crackling, rich fondant-like potatoes and the creamy mustard sauce lending just the right amount of punch. Sides of spinach and onion rings were just OK.

Coffee and donuts to finish were served on another piece of cast iron ware, this time a wooden handled griddle on which sat a rather granular coffee sorbet served in a little steel milk urn and four mini donuts held in a linen napkin folded into a basket.

Ramsay may not be the most original thinker in the world, but his execution is faultless and the Boxwood proves there is an awful lot more to him than simply fine dining. I'd love to see him tackle something even more casual than the Boxwood. If Adria can do fast food, why not Ramsay?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i went just after it opened

in all the pre-opening blurb ramsay kept going on about his fab burger.

i went specifically to have burger.

guess what?

no burger!

at the time it was supposed to be 'competition' for the ivy but i found it much more of a full service restaurant than a casual dining experience.

had the lobster and chips in the end, which was fine, but just not quite what i had wanted.

cheers

gary

you don't win friends with salad

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andy,I had the croque monsieur and was rather underwhelmed by it. In a sense it typified my feelings about GRs style in that it was rather bland and lacking in the wit, adventure and intensity of taste that Heston B might have brought to the dish.

Adrian York
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Blumenthal would probably have replaced the caviar with white chocolate, dried the bread out in a desicator before toasting it at a ultra low temperature for three days, smoked the salmon in liquorice and then got the waiter to perform a tap dance from an old Morcambe and Wise show as he served it in order to evoke childhood memories of Shiphams Paste sarnies in front of the tele.

Ramsay and Blumenthal are the alpha and omega of modern haute cuisine and can't be successfully compared on any level other than the most obvious - they are both chefs and they both have 3 stars. Fron there on in, its a whole different ball game. The Boxwood is just great at what it does. In comparison with The Fat Duck, its ambitions are of course limited, but then you shouldn't be comparing it to the Fat Duck in the first place. There still aren't enough restaurants that get the basics of a great room with great atmosphere, service and food. On Saturday night, that was what I was looking for and that was what I got.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andy, i couldn't agree with you more. Haute cuisine restaurants such as hospital road and fat duck have their place in the restaurant scene, especially as standard bearers and trend setters, but there are still not enough restaurants doing good (but not great) food in an inviting environment.

It is not fun to eat haute cuisine in generally sterile rooms with impersonal service every night. Sometimes it is good just to eat exactly what you expected when you order in a buzzy atmosphere. Kensington Place used to be particularly successful at this, and now to an extent Boxwood are doing the same.

When i ate at Boxwood, i couldn't fault the service. It was totally charming and put a smile on my face. The food was good, i too had the croque monsieur and also a fish dish with samphire, something i order whenever i see it on a menu (rarely!!), but the price did annoy me slightly. It ends up the same price as all the wannabe haute cuisiners, so why not visit them? But still it was a nice meal in a relaxed environment, just what i was looking for.

One other restaurant that does this well is Almeida in Islington, simple food in a good room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having not eaten at the Boxwood I'm not going to comment on particulars but it does seem to me that what the UK lacks is neighbourhood restaurants - the sort of place that you could eat in three or four times a week without breaking the bank or feeling overwhelmed with taste sensations. Sort of like a chain of Ivys where you could just turn up and get a meal. There are so many dishes I can think of - Shepherd's Pie, Lasagne, boiled ham in parsley sauce, French onion soup dripping cheese, proper apple pie, rice pudding etc that if I want to eat them i have to cook them myself. Most people aren't as gluttinous as me and can't be bothered and would like a bit of comfort food. Quite why restaurants don't offer this and think we all want sea bass in a faux-med style and fines tartes tatins baffles me.

If I was Ramsay, that would be my next venture - quality controlled, "home" cooking restaurants in half a dozen provincial cities (to keep costs down). I'd even call them "Home". In fact, Gordo, if you're reading this, for half a mill I'll sell you the concept!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Andy, i couldn't agree with you more. Haute cuisine restaurants such as hospital road and fat duck have their place in the restaurant scene, especially as standard bearers and trend setters, but there are still not enough restaurants doing good (but not great) food in an inviting environment.

It is not fun to eat haute cuisine in generally sterile rooms with impersonal service every night. Sometimes it is good just to eat exactly what you expected when you order in a buzzy atmosphere. Kensington Place used to be particularly successful at this, and now to an extent Boxwood are doing the same.

When i ate at Boxwood, i couldn't fault the service. It was totally charming and put a smile on my face. The food was good, i too had the croque monsieur and also a fish dish with samphire, something i order whenever i see it on a menu (rarely!!), but the price did annoy me slightly. It ends up the same price as all the wannabe haute cuisiners, so why not visit them? But still it was a nice meal in a relaxed environment, just what i was looking for.

One other restaurant that does this well is Almeida in Islington, simple food in a good room.

The latest Time Out food guide lists Boxwood as a Haute Cuisine restaurant.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That section is actually called "Hotels and Haute Cuisine." As The Boxwood is located in the Berkeley Hotel I don't think the inference is that it serves haute cuisine because it most certainly does not. Its not without it pretentions however. The roast chicken is bought the table and shown to each diner before its taken away to be carved, which I found hilarious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Do they serve Gordon’s “milk chocolate and pistachio truffles”? (Part of his Unique Characters range available at Tesco.) I just tried one and I’m seriously considering a swig of fabric conditioner to take the taste away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That section is actually called "Hotels and Haute Cuisine." As The Boxwood is located in the Berkeley Hotel I don't think the inference is that it serves haute cuisine because it most certainly does not. Its not without it pretentions however. The roast chicken is bought the table and shown to each diner before its taken away to be carved, which I found hilarious.

Sorry I only just got back to this. I mentioned that this was in "Hotels and Haute Cuisine" because I think they are insinuating that it is Haute (it's not). The first line says "Is it a cafe or is it a fine dining restaurant?"

Places like the Connaught, The Goring, Dorchester Grill room and the Savoy are listed outside of the "Hotels and Haute cuisine" section so I presumed that they listed it here because they had come to the conclusion that it was Haute. :wacko:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I've just heard that The Boxwood are introducing a new 3-course weekend menu. It's £18.50 and I'm told it will "feature the likes of roast leg of label anglais chicken, chocolate brownie ice cream with roasted bananas as well as roast Scottish sirloin of beef 'traditionally garnished' on Sundays. There is also a childrens menu featuring dishes such as roast farm breast of chicken and chips."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...