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Gordon Ramsay at the London


johnder
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We did not receive the same number of extra courses (only the duo of canape spreads and an amuse of white bean soup) as Vadouvan, but then again we're nowhere near as cool.

:laugh:

Zupon.........To add to your answer regarding how it will be percieved by NY'ers......I agree that while it doesnt have the ultimate modern refinement and creativity of Perse, it still handily trumps places like Delposto and Cru.

The bread, dessert and butter service arent nearly as good as Per se's, I thought Gilt had the best actual bread, Per se had more variety, but Ramsay's is just lame. At least they do use la colombe coffee.

It will be interesting how bruni sees it because while they srtive for the same level of service and refinement as Perse and the other high end places, Ramsay is 40% less expensive.

Edited by Vadouvan (log)
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This is bizzare but worth reading.  Supposedly when Bruni et al was calling for reservations in the main dining room he was informed of a two hour time limit on late tables, but no time limit on early ones.  This happened to Bruni twice and a colleague as well.

While GR media personel seem to have cited this is a major oversight on the part of the reservationists, it's bizzare that they'd even consider instituting this policy.  With that said this could easily be like the the whole "no photo" controversy that popped up with this restaurant a couple months back.

I'm waiting to see this place open and am hoping for the best.

The Bruniblog post.

An article in todays Guardian about the Bruniblog post.

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"Of course - there are some items available in the UK that it would be difficult (or impossible) to get here - like scottish lobster tails"

Pigeon or sqab from Bresse is indeed difficult to find in the U.S.

Scottish langoustines, however, have been all over NY menus for the last couple years.

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interesting...didn't realize that there is only one langoustine importer in NY....he's sure bringing them in in quantity though. also didn't realize they might not be available in the rest of the country. someone could make some money doing this.

ditto for scampi (a Venetian langoustine), which, to the best of my knowledge, is not imported to the U.S.

anyone want to be an entrepreneur?

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the only thing I see on the menu is langoustines.

There are Scottish lobster tails on the menu for RHR, so I think that's the reference. They may indeed be difficult if not impossible to source in the US, hence the comment I would imagine.

Si

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I should note that over at Mouthfuls (top of page 6 on the GR @ The London thread) another diner noted the crazy lady who stormed the dining room last Wednesday. They were less amused than we were.

I think it will be interesting to see how the restaurant deals with separating the spaces. A restaurant with this much hype will undoubtedly have people that want to see the dining room and denying them would seem like bad form. Then again, if you have people who are clearly out of place, what do you do?

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I'm in a sort of a stupor of indulgence right now after dinner in the main dining room. I'll write something more tomorrow but I have to say what they're serving is an extremely well executed version of every meal I've ever had in the main dining room of Gramercy Tavern. I'd call it rustic but courses like the game and foie gras are lighter than one would expect. That it seemed that way after a second plate of canapes was brought is saying a lot. The lobster ravioli was exceptional. It tasted not as much like lobster but like that ocean and that was new and remarkable to me. I wish with the beef course that their definition of rare was the same as mine. It was closer to medium. I thought the bread was okay. I tried the sourdough and nothing special but the bread came after the canapes and just before the foie gras and I didn't want anymore bread. Dessert, best souffle ever. Apricot souffle with almonds in it and with amaretto ice cream. Its richness more than made up for the fact there was no chocolate option. The souffle followed a pineapple granite which was a fine palate cleanser but could have been colder - maybe frozen yogurt instead of yogurt - and six cheeses. The bon bon course, I ate one of everything. Peanut brittle, honeycomb, lime marshmallow, lemon cotton candy, jelly, rum cake, pistachio and chocolate and anise and raspberry macarons, coffee and crunchy orange and fresh mint and banana chocolates. And others. And coffee. After champagne and two glasses of wine. My date had the vegetarian menu prestige because why not try everything? A tomato consomme, sweet onion gratin, cepe risotto, vegetable medley. All very good and were presented and executed in a way that justified a high price but I do believe vegetarian options should be somewhat reduced in price, if only $10. Maybe charging the same price is the kitchen's way of saying we're putting just as much effort and quality into this menu as well. It was very much appreciated that the sommelier split glasses of wine and he was very friendly. Everyone was warm and displayed some sense of humor and the room needed that kind of ease. The check was about $400 and even ordering wine by the glass we basically doubled our food check so I suppose it is smart to charge less for food assuming you'll make money on wine. I almost didn't go tonight but I couldn't change my reservation for any other date or time til next year, I never would have guessed what an experience I was missing.

I will say I hated the swivel chairs. They should be on wheels, otherwise, you're still pushing yourself in and out. They looked nice though. I was shocked at the intimacy of the room, I suppose I must have read this but only twelve tables! It felt a bit like eating inside a vault. The people watching was great, it's a calm room but some people at other tables knew each other and bridged gaps. As the night went on the average age in the room went down by half. Everyone interpreted smart dressing in different ways. And there was one guy in trainers. Good night.

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Hah, Adamru -- we must have been eating in the same room. I just got back myself. We had a deuce at 9. I have a bunch of pictures and all the menus from the evening. I too am too tired to post much tonight. I will recap everything tommorrow morning.

I kind of liked the swivel chairs. I guess in retrospect being on casters would be an additional bonus but they are still pretty sweet.

We both had the "Menu Prestige" and everything was a hit, except for the lobster which we both determined was a bit too salty. The sauce was fine, it was actually the lobster which was just a tad salty. Still pretty good.

We had a wine pairing with the menu and every wine they picked was a spot on match.

The bread sucked. Bad.

The whole wheat was horrible, the sourdough less so. The Normandy butter was saved slightly by the fleur de sel they put on top.

I noticed the guy in the trainers. I think there were actually two of them. Also some Bon Jovi look alike dude.

Overall the bill for us was 400, 220 for the menu, the rest in the wine pairing, tax, tip, coffee/tea.

BryanZ -- you will be happy to know they fixed the moulding -- the room looks finished. Although the reception area of the hotel once you walk in the main door is still missing a few marble panels and has the wiring exposed.

The food as Bryan mentioned wasn't awe inspiring but was flawlessly prepared, with the exception of the Lobster -- which was still prepared well, albeit a bit salty. I think the hit of the evening was the lamb and the cheese course.

Pics and details tomorrow.

John

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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As an Aussie, I can tell you that there's actually two types of yabbies. In Queensland, Australia, 'yabbies' are small ghost shrimps which fishermen look for in tidal flats using a 'yabbie pump'. They use them for bait. The other 'yabbies' are actually freshwater crayfish which are eaten. 'Yabbie' is the Aboriginal name for them. In Western Australia there's also another type of freshwater crayfish called marron, which is farmed -- it's delicious.

'Moreton Bay Bugs' are a type of of saltwater lobster that's common in the Pacific, and found down the east coast of Australia and they're named after Moreton Bay in Queensland as well as for their bug-like appearance. They are very different-tasting to what you'd expect if you ordered Langoustine, hence the need to clarify what type of lobster they are.

In Australia, you won't find any of these above called 'langoustines', because the shape and taste of them are too different to just be labelled 'langoustines' as they're a local speciality -- and nothing like a Norway lobster!

And yes, we NEVER say 'shrimps' Down Under -- we have prawns!

Langoustines are also called Dublin-Bay prawns.

Dont forget those Crazeeee Austrailians.

"Yabbies"

"Moreton Bay Bugs"

Say what ..... :huh:

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Hey John. I did see the Bon Jovi dude. I'm guessing you were on his side of the room because no one was seated on my side til the russian couple around 1030pm. Weird they seated them that late but a few other tables went empty. Maybe they don't do a full late seating. I was in a white dinner jacket somewhere in there. My guess is you were with a girl with black hair. I remembered reading about you making your reservation just after I'd made mine so I knew another eGulleter would be in the room which let me enjoy the meal more, I just figured you'd remember everything.

I never tried the butter, I used the truffle spread on the sourdough so maybe that helped. I avoided the whole wheat. I don't think both guys were in trainers but a few people were in sportsjackets and tee shirts. And one woman was in hot pants and tights. I think it's safe to say if you walk in looking neat you'll be seated.

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I was shocked at the intimacy of the room, I suppose I must have read this but only twelve tables! It felt a bit like eating inside a vault. The people watching was great, it's a calm room but some people at other tables knew each other and bridged gaps.

As for the intimacy of the room, it's the closest I've come to experiencing what it may have been like to dine in the cub room at the Stork Club. And that door to the 12 table main dining room is there for a reason--it should NOT be opened during service except by staff or by customers with reservations there. (I can't imagine Mr. Billingsley allowing customers in the bar or other areas of the Stork Club a peek in the cub room--no doubt they mostly said, "I was just curious to see what it looked like." Yeah, right. :hmmm: )

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I wish with the beef course that their definition of rare was the same as mine. It was closer to medium.

I've had this problem more than once at Gordon's restaurant at Claridge's in London. I've often suspected that the kitchen has one version of "rare" for Brits and another version for Americans - our server virtually admitted as much the last time we sent an overdone plate back to the kitchen ... she told us that in her experience, when Americans order rare, they usually mean medium. Of course, as Canadians, we also didn't like that she assumed we were Americans.

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Hey John. I did see the Bon Jovi dude. I'm guessing you were on his side of the room because no one was seated on my side til the russian couple around 1030pm. Weird they seated them that late but a few other tables went empty. Maybe they don't do a full late seating. I was in a white dinner jacket somewhere in there. My guess is you were with a girl with black hair. I remembered reading about you making your reservation just after I'd made mine so I knew another eGulleter would be in the room which let me enjoy the meal more, I just figured you'd remember everything.

I never tried the butter, I used the truffle spread on the sourdough so maybe that helped. I avoided the whole wheat. I don't think both guys were in trainers but a few people were in sportsjackets and tee shirts. And one woman was in hot pants and tights. I think it's safe to say if you walk in looking neat you'll be seated.

I was indeed with a woman with long black hair. Although there was another couple sitting right in front of us in which the woman had long black hair as well. We were in the corner table to the right of the entrance when you walk in, in the opposite corner of the table of 7 banker types yapping on their cell phones the whole night. Blue suit for myself, black outfit for my wife.

I didn't see any rhyme or reason to the dress code. I saw numerous jeans, although I am sure they were expensive jeans, one pair of sneakers, again -- expensive ones I would assume. There were also people dressed to the 9's. One woman there had the most amount of diamonds and pearls I have seen outside opening night at the Met Opera.

I am uploading photos now, stand by for a full report.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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So we arrived around 8:45 for our 9'oclock reservation. The bar room itself was surprisingly huge. Straight ahead is the bar, probably sits around 8 to 10 people. On the right side of the room is a series of banquets and cocktail tables. The left side of the room is the London Bar area. We decided to have cocktail while waiting for the table, they have about 10 signature cocktails, I had their version of a gimlet and Jeannie had The London cocktail. They had one bartender behind the bar and 4 barbacks, so we had to wait a few minutes for the drink. The gimlet was ok, too sweet for my taste. The London cocktail was much better -- from what I remember it was gin, lillet, grapefruit and champagne.

At 9, we were taking into the main dining room. We had a pretty nice corner table, just to the right as you enter into the room. The first thing I noticed, as a few others mentioned is the spacing of the tables. There really is a huge amount of space between them. Unfortunately we also noticed the sound level. It was higher than we would have expected giving how many people were in the room. When we were seated, every table but 3 we full. We found that 80% of the noise in the room was coming from the 7 bankers/traders at the table next to us. I think at some point the GM said something to them as their sound level decreased considerably after about 20 minutes.

Here is a picture from our table looking out over the room

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As soon as we sat down the waiter came over and asked if we wanted sparkling or still water. No option of tap water was mentioned, a slight pet peeve of mine. I ordered sparkling, while the wife ordered tap. Even before the water came we were presented a small tray that had 3 dishes. One was a cream cheese with black truffle spread, the other was a foie gras pate. It came with 4 or 5 slices of toasted baguette. This was the best bread I had all night. Mainly because it was either slathered with the cream cheese truffle or foie. Pretty hard to screw that up.

The cream cheese spread was amazing. It had to have truffle oil in it as well as the aroma of truffles was fabulous.

We both opted for the Menu prestige. They have a vegetarian version and a regular one.

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The amuse was his signature white bean cappucino. It had truffles diced over the top. The dish was amazing. Light, airy. Very well executed and the single best dish of the night in my opinion. I took a photo of it, but it was too blurry to be of any use.

Next was the pressed foie/game terrine. I too had the expectation of this being a super heavy dish but was surprised it was executed with a light hand.

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The pickled mushrooms added a nice compliment to the game in the terrine and the snap of the string beans added great texture. They served a lightly toasted bread with this dish that we after one bite decided to pass on. They grilled the bread over an open flame which gave it a nice smoke aroma which I could see working with the pate, but the bread texture was really bad.

Speaking of bread, the bread service comes by on a huge tray. It looks like a book that has been opened forming a slight V shape. Imagine this book being the size of an atlas. In the middle of the V shaped tray is two rows of bread. White bread (sourdough) and a wheat. I got the wheat, Jeannie got the white. It was served with Normandy butter topped with Fleur de Sel.

Blurry picture -- but the bread.

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After the terrine we had the Lobster raviolo.

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The aromas of this dish were amazing. The lettuce underneath and the celery root cream were spot on. The only complaint is the dish was slightly over salted. It took us a few minutes to figure out which of the components were oversalted and it turns out the lobster itself was the culprit. Mind you -- the dish wasn't oversalted to the point of it being bad. It is just the thing I remember about the dish most. My guess is the lobster was cooked in over salted water before sealed in the raviolo.

Next was the striped bass. This dish was the second best dish of the night.

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Flawlessly prepared, sauce service performed tableside. The fish was extremely crisp on the outside, but butter tender, perfect temperature inside. The caviar sauce complimented the dish to perfection. The bursts of salt from each grain really worked wonders on the dish. Again -- nothing ground breaking in terms of the dish, just executed to perfection. The only thing I would possibly change is the pak choi. It was a little unwieldy to eat with only a fish knife. The pak was kept in relatively whole pieces formed into a bundle. You really needed to work getting the pieces cut down to a bite size. A small nitpick, but didn't detract from the dish.

Main courses -- we decided to have one of each, beef and lamb

Beef:

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Lamb:

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Sorry for the fuzzy pictures. At this point in the evening we were on our 5th glass of wine. The beef and lamb were both prepared to the correct temperature. I had the lamb and it was pretty amazing. Perfectly seasoned, extremely tender. I felt there was too much going on with the dish though. It had way to many condiments.

It had a timable of braised shoulder, a roasted tomato. Confit of onions, braised lettuce and another onion / tomato mixture in the quenelle. Really too much. Each of the condiments were excellent, it is just the shear number of them was making each bite a major task in deciding what to try. The marjoram jus was perfect. I just wish I had some bread to soak it up with. :blink:

The beef on the other hand was a big hit. It is really hard to miss with a excellent piece of beef and flawless execution of sauce Bordelaise The oxtail was a great texture component to the dish. He nailed this one on the head.

We both opted for the cheese course next, mainly because we were seated next to the cheese cart and drooling over it all night. As far as timing, it was probably around 11:20 now, 2 hours 20 minutes since we have been seated.

I lost the piece of paper I had with the cheeses we selected unfortunately.

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It was a great selection of cheeses, and there really didn't seem to be a number of cheeses we were permitted to have. We basically just picked all the ones we wanted to try. I really loved the service of the epoisse and livarot, serving them in little dishes with the spoons is brilliant.

Unfortunately they served more bread with the cheese. I opted for the Carr's whole wheat crackers for my cheese service. Every cheese we had was perfectly ripe, really well done. The garnish for the cheese was just some simple grapes on the vine.

Last course was the Apricot souffle. Forgot to take the picture. :shock:

What was interesting is I went up to use the rest room at this point and the waiter as I was leaving mentioned the souffle would be right out and they will prepare another if I was going to away for a few minutes, which was a really nice touch. Nothing like coming back to a fallen souffle.

As adamru mentioned, the souffle was spectacular. The bits of almonds in the souffle and the ice cream all worked together in perfect harmony. I haven't had a souffle executed this perfectly in quite some time. Actually I can't remember a time I had a better one. It was that good.

We decided to get some coffee and tea. I ordered an expresso and Jeannie got the Chamomile tea. They brought out a pretty elaborate tea setup, precious little strainer, strainer holder, giant silver teapot, sugar tin and mini silver tongs.

The waiter noticed when he was setting my espresso down that it was a bad pull. Lacking any crema at all and gave the coffee server a look like WTF. He told me that he is just going to set this down while he does the tea service and will prepare me another shot immediately. Really a good catch on his part and handled very well. The second espresso was much better. Excellent crema, a great pull.

At this point it is 12:10 and we are bursting. The portion sizes were excellent, up until the main course which turned out to be about double the size of all the other courses. With the coffee service you also get the bon-bon trolley. My god it was obscene. Just groaning under the weight of sweets. 3 tiers, the bottom tier was all clear glass jars containing things like caramel corn, cotton candy, marshmallows, grapefruit jellies. The middle was just an array of house made chocolates. All sorts, at this point it was all a blur. The top tier was filled with yet more mixed macaroons.

We ended up getting some of the cotton candy, some marshmallows and macaroons. All very good, but unfortunately I wish I could have gotten them to go as I was too full to really enjoy them to the fullest.

Overall the night was great. Pretty much feel the way BryanZ did at lunch. All the dishes were classics, executed for the most part with perfection. Nothing was mind blowing, but all thoroughly enjoyable. Service was spot on. Really no complaints at all. The water service was great, the pacing of the meal was definitely set but us, and not them. The timing between the courses was just what we would expect. No sense of being rushed and the service was definitely adapted to each table. We engaged the staff and once they saw we were interested in hearing more they opened up and really started going into more detailed descriptions of the food and wine.

We opted for the wine pairing, having between half and a full glass of wine with each course. Unfortunately the paper with the cheeses was the same paper that had the wines as well. Every wine that was paired matched well, no misses.

My biggest complaint of the evening was the bathrooms. While each room is really beautiful, the C fold paper towels have to go. Seriously, this is the best they can do?

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On a side note when we were leaving the waiter asked how our meal was and if they could do anything better. We said there was one complaint, and they probably already heard it. Before telling them what it was she said "It is the bread isn't it"

We all had a laugh at that and agreed. Obviously they know about the problem, hopefully it will be fixed shortly.

John

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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My biggest complaint of the evening was the bathrooms.  While each room is really beautiful, the C fold paper towels have to go.  Seriously, this is the best they can do?

[

That does it - at least a star will deducted by the NY Times for the paper towels (another for the bread) and if they play music he doesn't like, it's all over - probably a "satisfactory" rating.

To answer someone upthread. There was/is no "closer" place than the Stork Club. You sat on each other's lap. I was nine years old the first time I went there (fall of 1959 after the theater) and my parents and I were so close it was impossible to lift a fork. But seeing Sinatra made it worth it.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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My biggest complaint of the evening was the bathrooms.  While each room is really beautiful, the C fold paper towels have to go.  Seriously, this is the best they can do?

[

That does it - at least a star will deducted by the NY Times for the paper towels (another for the bread) and if they play music he doesn't like, it's all over - probably a "satisfactory" rating.

To answer someone upthread. There was/is no "closer" place than the Stork Club. You sat on each other's lap. I was nine years old the first time I went there (fall of 1959 after the theater) and my parents and I were so close it was impossible to lift a fork. But seeing Sinatra made it worth it.

There was no music in the main dining room. I don't recall hearing any in the bar area either, so they should be safe there.

Unless Bruni hate's silence too, in which case Gordon is screwed.

John

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Not my complaint about the bathrooms (as I chose wisely) so much as my date's and another woman who was using one ahead of me, locks are broken on at least two of them. The other woman told me which one not to use as she was walked in on earlier. She pointed it out so I told my date which one not to use and the different one she entered didn't have a working lock either.

I wish I knew there was a cocktail menu, I never would have ordered wine. I just went with the assumption they're strict with what they want paired with the food so no signature drinks, like at Hearth or Alinea.

John, any chance one of the two cheeses in the bowls was the one the girl serving them said was her favorite? I can't remember the name of it. And you were at the opposite end of the room, my date was the farthest away body in your first picture. The table beside you, with the man with the flowing gray hair and the date dripping in diamonds and pearls, he had walked over to the center table at some point explaining the jewels just arrived before they left for dinner.

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Not my complaint about the bathrooms (as I chose wisely) so much as my date's and another woman who was using one ahead of me, locks are broken on at least two of them. The other woman told me which one not to use as she was walked in on earlier. She pointed it out so I told my date which one not to use and the different one she entered didn't have a working lock either.

I noticed that about the locks. The booth I picked had a sticky lock, you needed to actually push the door into the frame and twist the lock to get it locked.

John, any chance one of the two cheeses in the bowls was the one the girl serving them said was her favorite? I can't remember the name of it.

We actually had a male waiter give us the cheese. The two in the dishes were an Epiosse and a Livarot. The Epiosse was on the left and had the orange washed rind.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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