Monday, April 20, 2009

Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Grill

In recent years, celebrity chefs have become a real “fad” worldwide with the likes of the lovable Jamie Oliver, and then, the foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsay who was famed for his vocabulary as much as his culinary skills.

In even more recent times, the world has been hit with an even bigger fad known as “the recession”, which, fortunately for us, presented an opportunity to try what is commonly known in London as the “Credit Lunch”, not even the likes of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants could resist the urge to do this.
Anyway, onto the main topic. We were delighted to discover that Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Grill restaurant in Grosvenor Street, Central London, was doing 2 course set lunches for ₤15.00 and 3 courses for ₤18.00. Whilst this may seem a little pricey if converted to AUD or RM, mains in “The Kingdom” often cost somewhere in the vicinity of ₤15.00 and a lot more in the nicer restaurants, so, needless to say, we made our reservations and attended with another couple-friend of ours.

The menu is pretty much set, as you can see here, there is a choice of two for each course:
Entrée: Ham hock soup with poached egg, or grilled Courgette (zucchini) with goat’s cheese.
Main: Onglet or rump of Castlemaine beef with béarnaise sauce, chips and salad, or roasted sea bream with fennel and olive salad.
Dessert: Chocolate brownie or selection of British cheeses.

Having looked at the menu, it was really a no-brainer, the choice was the Ham Hock Soup, Rump (medium rare) and the Chocolate Brownie.

I was particularly impressed that the waiter brought out the various different cuts of meat to point out the differences, I suppose she was trying to sell the much more expensive a la carte menu.

Curiously, the entrée was served only with the poached egg and veg, and the soup came later and was poured in front of you, I guess if it was poured in the kitchen, they ran risk that the poached egg being soggy. However, it is reminded that it was ham hock soup, served, I would have thought, fairly hot. The problem is then by the time the soup makes its way into my bowl, it was fairly luke-warm, which wasn’t really ideal. The taste however, did its best to compensate, not too strong, but enough ham taste to kick your tastebuds. The egg also added to the delight as the two aren’t usually put together and the vegetables were also well-cooked to its tender state.

Before I forget to mention, the entrée also followed a serving of bread and butter, we chose the olive bread, with actual olives inside.
Again, curiously, I have been used to dipping bread in olive oil and vinegar in the trendy restaurants of Sydney, yet this was simply served with butter, which I’m sure would have tasted a lot better with olive oil and vinegar.

You first realize how out of touch you are in the culinary world when you are surprised to see your choice of cut is served on top of what looks like a chopping board rather than a normal ceramic plate.
Whilst in awe and impressed, in retrospect the chopping board served only just that purpose, to awe and impress. It didn’t make the meat any tastier nor did it have any other apparent function, it was simply a piece of meat plonked on top a piece of wood, put crudely. Anyway, you will see here the rump was served with baked caramelized garlic, which was superb, especially for someone who normally doesn’t eat a lot of garlic. It tasted more like garlic sweets more than garlic, it was sweet, it still had the garlic flaky texture but that kick of a taste is almost all gone, just enough to remind you that it is garlic.
Onto the rump, I ordered medium. At first cut, it seemed to be quite well done with minimal juices flowing out, but all was forgiven later when the other side of the rump was flowing with red juices, so much so that even the wife got slightly squirmy (the wife insisted on the medium, otherwise, I would have just taken a bite off the cow’s bac). Taste? Absolutely sublime, unlike the soup, this was just off the grill, so as warm as you would like your rump to be. The rump alone had enough flavours to satisfy your tastebuds, but then there was the béarnaise sauce. Admittingly, I just looked up the constituents of a béarnaise sauce on wikipedia, primarily, butter, egg yolk, vinegar and a variety of herbs. Not that I could tell that these ingredients were in there, but all I can describe is, slightly salty, I tasted the herbs which blended nicely with the rump without overpowering it, and it also gave the rump a creamy texture which overcame the rough cuts. All in all, it was done to perfection.

Just a short note on the chips and salad, the salad was a mixture of lettuce and rocket leaves in a tiny bit of olive oil, which allowed the greens to keep its freshness. The chips were done perfectly and especially well complemented by the Aioli which is a garlic sauce, again, this gave an exciting kick to the normally dull ketchup/potato chips combination. THE DESSERT
The meal was rounded up by a rather dense chocolate brownie. It tasted like a brownie should taste like, rich, chocolaty and allowed you to indulge with the ice cream that never follows far behind. It certainly wasn’t the richest dense chocolate brownie I’ve had, but like most brownies, it makes you feel too full just before you finished it.
Overall, the meal was firstly, good value, but significantly, one can’t accuse the restaurant on skimping on the Credit Lunch menu because the food certainly could not be faulted. The ambience was lovely with a nice and fresh contemporary feel and the waiters were all clearly well-trained being the pick of the pack, especially for London standards.
So my final verdict is, the recession might means tough times ahead, but gee it’s a good time cash in on these sorts of delights and Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant definitely lived up to his reputation.

Reviewed by Guest Blogger "Simon & Joelle"

1 comment:

Ah King and Moon said...

The menu looks like one served on the plane, anyway, absolutely fantastic ambiance.

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