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Friday, 15 April 2011

London Restaurant Reviews - Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's


Where Lobster Tastes of Salmon...

Many of you will know that I am not one to moan when restaurants I visit don't live up to expectations - in such instances I prefer to make better use of my time and concentrate on the more positive stuff. Some restaurants however deserve the bad publicity they get, and Gordon Ramsay at Claridges is in my opinion one such place.

Dr G and I visited Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's a few weeks ago, and we were both utterly underwhelmed by the experience. I wasn't expecting it to be a cheap meal out, but I was certainly hoping it would have been an experience worthy of the £280 we paid.

There can't be a finer location than Claridge's on London's Brook Street. The hotel, restaurant and bar are sumptuous and very elegantly decorated. Nestled within this splendour, Gordon Ramsay's restaurant offers an à la carte, but we decided to go for their "Menu Prestige" - a tasting menu of 6 courses @ £80 per person. Ordering different starters and mains meant we had more dishes and flavours to try out.

We started off with an amuse bouche of "Butternut Squash Soup" with truffled oil. In all fairness, this was quite a decent soup, with the delicious sweetness from the squash complemented by the heady truffle aromas.

Unfortunately, the meal got progressively worse after this. For starters, I went for "Seared Loin and Cured Haunch of Muntjac Venison, Blackberries, Hazelnuts and Foie Gras" while Dr G opted for "Loch Duart salmon two ways" (smoked and marinated) served with beetroot salad and horseradish ice cream.

Both dishes looked uninspiring and tasted equally lacklustre (bar the horseradish ice cream which was the best thing on the plate).

The "Thai spiced lobster ravioli" served with tarragon velouté and green beans tasted interestingly of salmon! I asked the waiter whether this was a salmon or lobster raviolo, and was told that there was salmon in the recipe. I would say that it was made mainly of salmon - I could neither see nor taste much lobster. How disappointing, especially when the menu made no mention of salmon!

My main course was "Salt-baked Herdwick lamb loin and shepherd's pie" served with braised red cabbage and Jerusalem artichokes. The meat was very tender, but not as warm as it should have been, and the tiny, ungenerous quantity of meat on my plate made me feel even hungrier! The Shepherd's Pie was delicious, and in my opinion the highlight of my meal that evening.

Dr G's choice of "Steamed Anglesey bass with langoustine" served in an Oscietra caviar sauce, cucumber and apple, was competently cooked but no better than that.

The ridiculously minute "Lemon pannacotta" with blackcurrant and hibiscus sorbet was served next.

The "French and British Cheeses" selection (£8 supplement) was impressive with a range of delicious, soft and hard cheeses - this was in my opinion one of the best courses of the menu.

The last course of the Prestige Menu was a "Cold Valrhona Chocolate and Gianduja Fondant" with mandarin sorbet. The combination of bitter chocolate and mandarin was good but I struggle to find anything else to say about this simple dessert.

The sommelier, a Japanese man, was knowledgeable and patient with us as we played about with the wine menu - an iPad! It was very entertaining, allowing us to search by grape, country and price while providing some useful information on all wines listed.

Most wines were from good producers and vintages with prices tags to match. We ordered two of the most affordable bottles including a 2009 Valminor Albarino, Rias Baixas @ £38. It normally retails at around £11 a bottle, so the three-fold mark up by GR did not seem outrageous. This was an excellent example of Albariños from Rias Baixas - a good concentration of fruit, mainly peaches and with honey and citrus notes, but with good balancing acidity.

Our second bottle was a 2007 Terrasses Ventoux by Chateau Pesquie from the Rhone Valley @ £39. A blend of Grenache and Syrah, aged for 5 years, it had straightforward red berry fruit characteristics and medium body. It wasn't an outstanding wine but was an easy drink choice.

The restaurant was quite busy with couples celebrating birthdays or other events. The service was reserved but attentive.

Cost: Prestige Menu priced at £80 per person. Our bill came to £280 for two.

Likes: sumptuous setting, the iPad-wine list was fun and very informative, respectable cheese board.

Dislikes: the food was a real let-down - having "salmon" for "lobster" ravioli said a lot about this place - mediocre food in a restaurant that appears to rely excessively on the star status of the owner, if our experience was anything to go by. Expensive wine list with few if any affordable options.

Verdict: few restaurants have made me feel as ripped off as Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's - very mediocre food at ridiculously high prices.  I do not expect to return, and I do not recommend it.  

Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's on Urbanspoon


  1. I had a similar experience when I went there for Sunday lunch about 8 months ago. I had a dish similar to your lobster too! I left half of it, hated my main (smoked pork) the smoke completely overwhelmed the dish and left most of it. Dessert was even worse, a bad version of a 1970's over, overset pannacotta. Libbie had cheese for dessert, as always I wish I had opted for the cheese.

    Saying all that I love the splendour of Claridges. The staff were lovely and happy take the time to show me a suite when I asked. Be nice if they had a restaurant to match though.

  2. Good review, good to know. I've never felt any appeal in going to this one, I must confess... I did go to Maze a couple of years ago and loved it but of course, Ramsay wasn't at the helm so was his in name only...

    I have enjoyed a number of tasting menus and understand that courses are smaller than regular ones, but these look tiny and I would have felt a bit miffed even had they tasted great, let alone as dull as they clealry were!

  3. I always read your blog through my google reader and never saw your blog banner! It's really nice!

    Those portions look painfully small.

  4. The same with GR pub "The Narrow"...

  5. Disappointing. Although I do love the afternoon tea at Claridges - such splendour.

  6. Although I didnt particularly try some of the dishes that you did, I fully endorse the feeling of disappointment one is left with, after a meal at GR. I found the place cramped, and the tables too close to one another. Thanks for a very sincere review.

  7. The wine lists at "premium" hotels are usually inaccessible. That said, I went to the Dorchester some years ago where they had 12 or so wines in a sub £30 section of their wine list. Great idea which prevented a trawl though the massive (expensive) list.

    Shame you didn't enjoy it. While a lot of the public have it in for Ramsay without just cause, I also believe the Ramsay empire has had it's day. They are no longer able to attract or keep good staff or even some suppliers.

    A bit like MPW restaurants and Conran Restaurants 10 years ago.

  8. Mmm just goes to show you what can happen when a chef devotes more time to his celebrity status than delivering quality food.Perhaps it is the right time for Gordon Ramsay to be moving to LA?
    The iPad idea is very innovative and quite unique but I am not sure it will float everyone's boat. Personal preference I suppose. I'd much rather the sommelier provided some sound matching wines with my food - I am not a big fan of trawling through pages and pages of wine lists either ;-)
    We ate at Claridges back in 2007 when Mark Sargent was on board and it was an enjoyable experience.
    We had the tasting menu and while it was pricey (to be expected)the quality of food, service, ambience was worth it!
    Hopefully reviews like yours will help them to refocus and revist what they are currently offering customers.
    Thanks for sharing ;-)

  9. I ve been twice but not for the last three years... always loved it, so surprised to read this but then again, it must be the reason why they lost one of the stars?

  10. how disappointing! and for this exorbitant prize! I won a 200 quid Gordon Ramsey voucher, won't spend it there...

  11. IPad wine lists are great - I first experienced one awhile back, (when they were only just released in America)on board a cruise ship. they had the full menu on there too if memory serves...


  12. The topic show that the people of London are very much foodie.I am also one of that kind.The dishes are looking amazing.Really i am feeling hungry after seeing them.Nice post.Thanks for giving the idea of that kind of foods.

  13. I was in one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants in NEW YORK and used an iPad wine list !

    I also saw an iPad menu in a restaurant in UK

    I google it and found out that there are many restaurant that uses Ipad as menus check this :


    And there also hundred of restaurants that uses touch screen menus:


    So it is obvious that the next menu would be on a touch screen…


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