the best meal I’ve had in london to date. fantastic european food in a ramsay powerhouse, and my favourite of the four (maze, claridges, royal hospital road) that I’ve visited.
I’m going to start this by saying that the ramsay restaurants are usually overlooked or looked down on for their prescription service and pour-soup-into-your-dish-at-table type of dramatics, and that it went through a super-hyped period and now seem to form the wallflowers of fine dining in london. I’ve been a supporter, because I’ve had great meals in them (except for claridges which I did not enjoy) and service is always friendly but never intrusive, unlike my experience at dinner by heston, which I’ll talk about in a bit.
petrus was closed for a bit and I believe reopened this year, and is in a quiet area of knightsbridge – a great place for lunch if you were shopping in knightsbridge. it is furnished both cosily and grandly, and is well-staffed. there were almost too many waiters around, but they left us well alone while we were speaking and were friendly and could chat comfortably, but would leave us well alone when we were talking. ramsay restaurants have some amazingly trained and professional staff who genuinely look like they’re enjoying themselves and who know how to treat their customers.
anyway, I’m sure you can tell I was impressed. we had the great-for-value lunch set at three courses for 30 quid per person, and I have to tell you it eventually became five (six if you count bread) courses and we were not charged for the bottled water – very surprising, but in a very good way.
we were pleased with the service, and happy and comfortable at being at petrus. and that’s before we were served the food. a basket of constantly-replenishing bread was served with some fresh-tasting salted butter, and was followed by an amuse-bouche of some sort of croquette. it was a fried breaded patty of what we thought was either pulled pork or beef on a bed of poncy tartar sauce. quite a rich starter.
our real starters came, of a cannelloni of confit rabbit with poached crayfish and a consomme that was poured at table. it was light, with 2 generously filled tubes of a very light-tasting filling with two tiny pieces of crayfish. the other starter we had was a pan-fried cornish mackerel with various garnishes, and this wasn’t fishy at all. great starters.
for our mains, we had a dish of pan-roasted pollock as well as roast guinea fowl. these came with sides of young potatoes that tasted s sweet and had a salty crust, as well as some steamed/boiled cauliflower and my favourite romanesco. the guinea fowl was tender, and came with some sautéed mushrooms and spinach in a puff pastry case. the mushrooms were brilliant. I hadn’t realised when I ordered, but the pollock came with a tasty cheesey green risotto, and made for a filling and very satisfying dish.
at this point we were full of anticipation of dessert – and first came a wafer cone filled with some passionfruit crème. very light though rich. I’ve realised that I have been using light quite a bit, and that’s one thing I really enjoy about eating at ramsay restaurants which fill me up happily but not uncomfortably.
our actual desserts was a chocolate bomb as well as a banana millefeuille. our waiters had noticed me going clickety with my camera and upon serving the chocolate bombe, our waitress asked me to take a photo of it first – which I did, of course. she then went on to pour what I think is hot chocolate sauce over the bomb which of course melted it. how gorgeous does it look in those photos?!
the actuality was much more amazing, as you saw the outer shell collapse, and you saw the underlying layers peep through. the chocolate was so lovely – it was a foamy chocolate confection at the bottom, with a soft of biscuit centre and another chocolate shell enclosing a milk ice cream. brilliant.
the banana millefeuille was very nice as well, with crisp layers and a brilliant peanut ice cream alongside. we finished our meal with another complimentary dessert of a white chocolate shell with a passionfruit ice cream in the centre. I don’t really like white chocolate, but this was so nice, and ended our meal on a high.
I’m sure you can tell I enjoyed this meal immensely, and I think I’ve been to quite a few good restaurants in london, enough to say this is one of the best meals I’ve had, and it wins in service, ambience, food and the great experience I was able to show my visiting friend. just brilliant.