I know, I know. Gordon hardly needs the publicity does he? What with opening a new restaurant every 3.2 seconds and juggling various extra curricular activities (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) he’s hardly out of the news. But if you have to talk about eating in London, you may as well start at the top. And that’s what leads me to Royal Hospital Road. Recently knocked off its perch at the top of many a top ten list by Chez Bruce (more on that later), it still holds its place at the top for me. I can’t claim to have eaten at many “top” restaurants in London but of the ones I have, Ramsay in Royal Hospital Road stands out by a mile. His original solo project, it is the perfect dining experience. On the 2 visits I have had there, I cannot think of anything negative to say. The only slightly perturbing aspect was the feeling that I was followed to and from the toilet, which I hope was just slightly over attentive service. My first visit was for lunch to celebrate Mrs. Cabbies & my 5th wedding anniversary. On a balmy August day, we ignored that fact that I didn’t have a job (I was on the verge of starting the knowledge) and had a great meal, with fantastic service and a reasonable price. Choosing from the set menu, our bill was around £100, which I think is bloody good for what you get.
So having had our appetites whetted, quite literally, we were ready for the full on dinner, tasting menu experience. Unfortunately, due to my knowledge commitments, this had to wait until 2006, nearly 3 years after that lunch. I had it all lined up and booked for the day I did my final knowledge appearance when, if successful, I would be handed my green badge. A bit of a risk as that final appearance is not a formality. But with the suburbs duly passed and green badge in hand, we were clear to celebrate in style. And what style it was. Needless to say for a Michelin starred restaurant, the food was exemplary. But what sticks in the mind more, from both my visits, is the service. Attentive, of course, but not overly fussy and all the staff make you feel very comfortable, which is a vital ingredient in any dining experience. I won’t bore you with what we had; I can’t remember most of the details anyway. But it was a wonderful experience and, for me anyway, good value for money. Some people will tell you that £300 for a meal is ridiculous but in the context of London, and the fact that you can easily pay £100+ for theatre or football tickets alone, it’s worth it. But I’m not sure about this Chez Bruce thing. Mrs. Cabbie & I ate there years ago and I really can’t remember anything about the place. Not that it was a bad experience, just that is was entirely unmemorable, which is not the highest of recommendations. But the great & the good of London seem to be voting it the best restaurant ever right now, so maybe it’s improved a lot. Well, whatever, Ramsay is the best, end of.
Here is a link to the wesite if you can’t work out where Ramsay – Royal Hospital Road, is.