All reader reviews by GL

Gordon Ramsay's Boxwood Cafe

We had lunch for two at the Boxwood last Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The place was busy, but all was under control.

Throughout the staff were pleasant, well trained and very professional - it was a pleasant oasis of calm with atmosphere, on a busy Christmastime Saturday.

My partner started with the Potted salt beef brisket with grain mustard, pickled cucumber and buckwheat flour crackers.

It was a hearty first course which would've made a great bar snack on its own. The waitress warned us it would be very spicy, but neither of us felt the warning necessary for our palate - I was tempted into trying three or four mouthfuls.

I had the Glazed pea and leek tart with a herb salad, which featured on Great British Menu. It wasn't like a quiche, the filling was more of a leek sauce. I have to say I have never tasted peas which were so intensely Pea Flavoured, very fresh tasting with an exceptionally crisp pastry case - delicious, if possibly a little on the sweet side perhaps for some tastes.

We had pheasant and bream as mains, with sides of roasted potatoes, garlic and shallots, plus green beans with lemon and walnuts to accompany - all delicious ... no adverse comments. We both enjoyed what we had chosen.

To finish we shared the vanilla and ginger cheesecake from the GBM programme, which comes with raspberry puree and sorbet - a very concentrated combination of flavours, however, sadly lacking on the ginger - when I had seen the gingerbread baked on TV it looked wonderful, but in this dessert is reduced almost to dust, which is a shame as it lost both any impact for flavour and for texture too.

We also enjoyed the bread basket, a bottle of Chilean Viognier, and coffee for one (with chocolate/coffee fudge and a fabulous lemon French style macaroon) The bill, including service coming to about £113. I entered four scores out of ten on this review, and then asked my partner - who gave exactly the same scores on all four points!

PS Incidentally, the Manageress we spoke to recommends the Veal and foie gras burger as a 'signature' dish.

Thursday, December 20, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8


A meal for two on a return visit to Benares lived up to expectations in 99% of respects lat Friday evening.

We were warmly welcomed at reception, our coats and parcels were stowed away efficiently and courteously, and we were warned that the bar was very busy, so given the choice of whether to go straight to our table. In the event there was a table available in the bar, and we started with a Margharita and a bottle of Billecart-Salmon NV.

I was interested in purchasing some of the Benares candles and was given plenty of assistance with smelling and choosing (decided on Mimosa and Basil) We were also given lots of time and assistance with our menu choices by the Manager who took our order. We opted to share the prawn main course as a starter between us. and both felt this worked very well, absolutely huge prawns, with complex, but not overpowering spicing. We accompanied this with a basket of breads.

My main of Bass with ginger and coconut came with an aubergine accompaniment, and was delicious. My partner's lobster was fine, but didn't quite live up to expectations, perhaps because the yoghurt rice that comes with it is served cold, which seemed odd, and although he enjoyed it, he wouldn't choose the same again.

As we're not big eaters, we'd had enough food, and so retired back to the bar to linger over another bottle of Billecart....obviously this bumped the bill up significantly, but was worth it!

The bar and restaurant were buzzing, very busy, but not cramped or rushed. Service was efficient, polite and friendly, nothing was too much trouble - it was a great atmosphere and we will be planning to go back again.

Thursday, December 13, 2007
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10

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