Saturday, January 17, 2009

What would Ramsay say?

Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood

We were very excited to try out this restaurant and as I write this I have to say that I am a little disappointed. It could have been better and it should have been. It started out with 2 mess ups with our reservation. We had made a reservation on the first night we were here for Saturday night. They were to confirm and when they didn't we double checked with them. There was no reservation. We booked again for Saturday night and took the 8:30 slot. When we arrived at 8:25 we were told that our reservation was for 9:30. Even though there were empty tables she was unwilling to let us stay and she didn't really seem to care either.

We returned at 9:30 and we were seated promptly. We both ordered the Chef's Menu. 7 courses of tasting size. It looked good on paper and we were hungry. Amy our waitress annoyed me straight off the bat when she asked Aaron what he would like to drink and then walked away. I guess she assumed we were having the same thing or maybe she just didn't see me there. It was a good thing that our Johnny Depp look a like bus boy was looking after us or I don't know if we would ever have gotten to order.

First Course: Steamed bamboo shoot and shiitake mushroom chawanmushi

The custard with chopped mushrooms was really good. Well seasoned and really great consistency. I was glad it was included in the menu as it is a perfect example of something I would never have ordered but ended up loving.
Second Course: Smoked Brook Trout with avocado and cucumber, basil purée, paddle fish caviar

This was the prettiest plating of all the dishes of the meal and the food was as good as it looked. I thought the trout tasted fresh and had a beautiful colouring.

Third Course: Pressed Foie Gras with truffle, apple and brioche

The foie was really clean tasting and paired really well with the crisp apple. It was good. Really good. The brioche wasn't all that special and was kind of unnecessary and also a little burnt.

Fourth Course: King prawn ravioli, creamy fennel purée, light lobster bisque

Aaron liked his better than I liked mine. I thought the prawn was overcooked. Maybe mine was the first one in and the last one out. It wasn't special, it tasted good but I have high expectations for this place. The bisque though was AMAZING. Really great flavour and a fantastic consistency.

For our mains, Aaron had a lamb dish that was really well prepared. It was cooked perfectly and seasoned with skill. I had the duck done 2 ways. The first way was the best duck I have ever had. The skin was crispy and the meat tender. It was delicious. The second way was pan roasted duck breast and it was pretty mediocre. Greasy and cold. It was the only thing out of the whole menu that I was glad there wasn't more than a few bites of.

Pre-dessert :(yes that is what they called it) Cara cara orange three ways, cinnamon ice cream and rose water sabayon.

It was a nice finish. It was light and sweet and fresh tasting. Served in a larger shot glass looking dish it was also beautiful to look at before digging in.

Dessert : Chocolate cream savarin with malted milk emulsion and salted caramel ice cream

Lovely taste, good textures and fresh ingredients. I could eat this for dessert every day. The savarin was so smooth.

With espresso they brought out a plate of petit-fours that were creative and tasty. I think it was a wasabi macaroon and a chocolate that was filled with a honey mixture. The food runner who brought it out was a bit of a mumbler so I missed what he'd said. Naturally it was not Amy the waitress who brought it out. She only bothered to come back to bring us the bill, before we asked for it which is a major faux pas in a caliber of this restaurant.

So what would Ramsay say? I think he would tell them to tighten up and quit being pretentious. If you are going to charge that much then you should earn it on every level. They won't get their Michelin Star with dinners like this even with Gordon F@$&ing Ramsay's name all over the place.

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