All reader reviews by MaYa

Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's

I was lucky enough to be able to get a table for Good Friday although I only booked it one week in advance. However, the only time available was 6pm as they were apparently fully booked. When booking, you are told that you only have the table for two and a half hours, which I thought rather strange for a restaurant with one star Michelin award.

The hotel makes a good sophisticated impression as you walk in, however the restaurant does have a slight hotel feel to it as it is situated right next to the hotel lounge with its piano. We were greeted by very friendly and polite staff and led to our table. The wine menu was highly priced, yet incredibly extensive, which pleased us as enthusiastic wine connoisseurs. The champagne we had to start of with was exceedingly overpriced (the price of one glass could nearly pay for the whole bottle). The a la carte menu was a little confusing at first as the starters are on the left and the main course choices are on the right hand side (however, this is not labelled as such - a waiter had to point this out to us).

The food presentation was simply superb from start to finish, although the lighting in the restaurant was dimmed a fair bit, which made it quite difficult to see what exactly was on your plate. Nevertheless, the cuisine was outstanding and all the different flavours blended together perfectly to make every mouthful a pleasant revelation. We all ordered the lamb as a main course and went with the chef‘s recommendation of having it ‘medium-rare‘. Unfortunately, one portion was very tough and a real disappointment. When the waiter cleared the table, he did not even notice that one portion was nearly untouched. We then pointed out that the lamb had been tough for one diner. He thanked us for pointing this out and said that he would pass our comments onto the chef. I was very surprised that they did not offer us a new freshly cooked portion or something along those lines as a gesture of goodwill and this really let the restaurant and its one Michelin star down. Furthermore, the wine was constantly topped up to such an extent that our glasses were nearly filled to the brim (despite our constant refusal for top-ups) and this is not how wine should be served.

Otherwise, everything was in place and the atmosphere was enjoyable. Regrettably, we were ushered to the coffee lounge immediately after our desserts to have coffee there as our table was needed for the next diners. I thought this was very unprofessional especially as I had been told at the time of booking that the restaurant was fully booked and yet there were quite a few empty tables all night. Furthermore, the service was quite slow at times although there were enough waitresses and waiters around to have one member of staff per table - had the service not been so slow, we would have finished our meal in time. Our now tiny table in the small coffee lounge was situated right next to the open glass door to the hotel lounge and as there was live piano music, we could not enjoy a peaceful conversation with our coffee and excellent chocolates. The hotel lounge was filled with smokers and the draught that came into the Gordon Ramsay coffee lounge with all their smoke was incredibly unpleasant.

Overall, the food is as you would expect for a one star Michelin restaurant; the wine list is extensive and the service is friendly, however sometimes a little unprofessional. The atmosphere is relaxed and the decorations are rich and stylish. Still a long way to go until the second Michelin star will be awarded, but overall it was a pleasant dining experience.

Friday, April 28, 2006
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8

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