Saturday, 21 March 2009
Birthday Dinner at Gordon's
When I left WeeWorld for the Big Smoke, my workmates sent me off with a gift voucher to Gordon Ramsay restaurant. It was most generous and it felt good to know they got what makes me tick. Then again, i didn't really make it a secret that my heart was still in the kitchen and the project manager job was a temporary means to an end (still not found that end yet though). When i started there i was making birthday cakes for each person in the office, then, as more people joined the company i had to move to monthly birthday cakes and finally it got to be too much baking for me. I got to cater the office Christmas party one year, and in my last couple of months had started a scheme selling lunches to the lucky few who put their orders in for the week. I love that they loved my food and i love that they gave me such a grand parting gift.
I decided i'd use the voucher on birthday dinner this year. The first thing to contend with was making the actual booking. The restaurant takes bookings as much as 2 months in advance which i found out the first time i called in January. I patiently waited until 17-Jan and phoned again only to find out that the 17th was fully booked and the weekend preceding and following were also booked up. Next try was during the week and i was able to nab a table for 6:30 pm on the 18th. The other available times were after 10:00 pm -- too late for me!
Step 2 was faxing over a signed 'contract' along with my credit card details saying that i would indeed turn up, that if i cancelled less than 24 hours in advance i'd have to pay a fee and if i simply didn't turn up my credit card would be charged £150. OK.
Step 3 was phoning them early in the week to confirm that yes indeed i was going to show up.
And then we got there. And it was a flurry of attentive french men all over. A bit disarming but i went with the flow. The first 20 minutes happened so fast -- seating at table, menus, champagne, meet sommelier, talk about the menu, amuse bouche....i couldn't keep up! There was even a parade of the last of the year's perigord truffles. I asked for another sniff in the box which of course was immediately obliged.
Everyone has been asking about the meal. I'd say it was faultless. The service was over the top, attentive to the extreme, a bit overwhelming at times. The people we were dining with were mostly inbred marble mouths. But for added diversity there was a family of rich Texans.
At the end we figured that it was more about the whole experience than just the food. And, to be honest I'd rather eat somewhere less ostentatious or go over to France if i wanted a meal like this. Would we go again? Only if we had another voucher.
Here is what i remember we ate:
Amuse Bouche 1: cornet of langoustine and avocado salsa. (Light, crunchy meltingly delicious seafood and avocade yumminess.)+ Paired with pesto and mozzarella sandwiched between two fine crisps of potato.
Amuse Bouche 2: Teeny ravioli of crab with pumpkin soup and shaved truffle
Mel's starter (see photo above) Butter poached Scottish lobster tail with chestnut lasagne, trompettes de la mort, baby spinach and black truffles. (wowww wowww wowww. salivating just thinking about it. earthy truffle, sweet lobster fantastic delicate lasagne.)
Kelsie's starter Pan-fried sea scallops from the Isle of Skye with carpaccio of octopus, gnocchi, sage and parmesan
Mel's main: Pan-fried line caught sea bass with steamed charlotte potatoes, cucumber, oyster beignet and caviar velouté (Fabtastic especially the fried oyster which reminded me of Texas and Florida. Oyster po'boys. yeah)
Kelsie's main: Roasted monkfish tail with chorizo cous cous, baby squid, artichoke and spiced tomato jus
Cheese plate: we had two a wonderful creamy chalky goats cheese and Vacherin which transported us to New Year's eve shenanigans with Ian
Amuse bouche 3: Mango and passionfruit with coconut cream and extra speshal crackly pop rocks. (made me feel 14 again!)
Mel's pud: Granny Smith parfait with blackberry foam, honeycomb and cider sorbet
Kelsie's pud: Bitter chocolate cylinder with coffee granité and ginger mousse