Dinner at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges Hotel, London (Review)

Recently we have had the pleasure of dinning at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges Hotel in London.

There were 4 of us dining, Laura, my parents and I.

We started the evening in Claridges off with a cocktail or 2 in the lobby/lounge. Now being Claridges you expect it to be posh, but by having this expectation it was just as I envisaged… it was posh, but in a subtle and relaxed way. The cocktails are very nice… and considering the venue I think reasonably priced – I enjoyed my pre-meal Singapore Sling and the others had a simple G&T. The nibbles provided were a good indication of things to come… they were simple but elegant and one (the toasted cheese) unusual but turned into my favorite very quickly!

We moved through into the dining room and it was again tastefully decorated, and not oppressive as it can be in some other similar establishments. The general atmosphere was calming and the lighting was subtle but still enough to see the plates!

Before our starters arrived we were given a plate of canapés – which were delicious, there was a selection of bite-sized spring rolls, fish cakes and breads. We were then given a tomato and cucmber soup drizzled with olive oil – very refreshing and cleansing before our meal.
For our starters 3 of us had the Fois Gras, one was a Mosaic of foie gras and Goosnargh duck with Red Pippin apple and walnut salad, toasted brioche and the other was more traditional – Roasted duck foie gras with macerated cherries, pickled ginger, cauliflower and almond cream (I had this, but there were nicer things on the menu which I would have enjoyed more, but it was still very very nice!), and Laura’s starter was Ravioli of Dorset blue lobster and salmon poached in a lemongrass bisque, basil vinaigrette.

For mains, Laura had the Pan-fried Mediterranean stonebass with Cromer crab and celeriac cannelloni, summer vegetable blanquette, lemon thyme velouté which was delicious, my Mum had a steak (not very adventurous, but it was a very nice piece of meat!) while my Dad and I both had the Roasted John Dory and sautéed langoustines with violet artichokes, pink fir potatoes, carrot purée and a light fennel cream. I was very happy with my main – however I am probably being greedy and think there could have been another bit of fish and one more langoustine. Laura was delighted with her meal and portion wise was ample. My Mum & Dad both also enjoyed their respective meals.

After this we were given a peach soup with rasperry sorbet mouse then it was onto desert, Laura and I both had the passion fruit creme brule – it was divine, my mum had a hot chocolate sponge while my dad opted for the huge selection of cheese from their trolley – the wedged returned to him were ample too!

The wine list was like vast and ranged from £23 per bottle to over £2,000!!!

In summary, the food was very well presented, portions good (but on the edge of small) but it was quality not quantaty. Will we return? Probably! But it would generally be for a special occasion, and we’d also plunge for a room at £300+ for the night too – you might as well go the whole hog! The staff were second to none, very friendly, happy to talk and treat you with class…

My Rating (each out of 10):
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8 | Overall 9

Pad Thai

I have been experimenting for a while now making Pad Thai, from jars to trying to analyse the take-away carton from my excellent local Thai resteraunt.

Sadly i have not yet been able to visit Thai land, but parts of the following have been given to me by friends who have and sampled some of the varied street-food you get there.

Firstly, you will never see the red and oily pad thai in Thailand that is common in many western Thai restaurants. And this is where I was personally going wrong in trying to re-create this type.
A great Pad Thai is dry and light bodied, with a fresh, complex, balanced flavor.

Also, Pad Thai can be a perfect vegetarian dish, just skip the shrimp and use soy sauce instead of the fish sauce. Add (more ) tofu if you like.

2-3 Servings


a

1/2 lime
1 egg
4 teaspoons fish sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground dried chili pepper
ground pepper
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon tamarind
1/2 package thai rice noodles
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2-1/4 lb shrimp Optional
1/2 banana flower Optional
1/3 cup tofu – extra firm Optional
1-1/2 cup chinese chives – green Optional
2 tablespoons peanuts Optional
1-1/3 cup bean sprouts Optional
1 tablespoon preserved turnip Optional

Tips and substitutions
By far, the trickiest part is the soaked noodles. Noodles should be somewhat flexible and solid, not completely expanded and soft. When in doubt, undersoak. You can always add more water in the pan, but you can’t take it out.

Shrimp can be substituted or omitted. In this recipe, pre-ground pepper, particularly pre-ground white pepper is better than fresh ground pepper. For kids, omit the gound dried chilli pepper.

 

Tamarind adds some flavor and acidity, but you can substitute white vinegar.

The type of extra firm tofu called for this recipe can be found at most oriental groceries in a plastic bag, not in water. Some might be brown from soy sauce, but some white ones are also available. Pick whatever you like.

If you decided to include banana flower, cut lengthwise into sections (like orange sections). Rub any open cut with lime or lemon juice to prevent it from turning dark.

The original Pad Thai recipe calls for crushed roasted peanuts. Many people in Thailand avoid eating peanuts because of its link to cancer.

Soak the dry noodles in lukewarm water while preparing the other ingredients, for 5-10 minutes. Julienne tofu and cut into 1 inch long matchsticks. When cut, the extra firm tofu should have a mozzarella cheese consistency. Cut up Chinese chives into 1 inch long pieces. Set aside a few fresh chives for a garnish. Rinse the bean sprouts and save half for serving fresh. Mince shallot and garlic together.

Use a wok. If you do not have a wok, any big pot will do. Heat it up on high heat and pour oil in the wok. Fry the peanuts until toasted and remove them from the wok. Add shallot, garlic and tofu and stir them until they start to brown. The noodles should be flexible but not expanded at this point. Drain the noodles and add to the wok. Stir quickly to keep things from sticking. Add tamarind, sugar, fish sauce, chili pepper and preserved turnip. Stir. The heat should remain high. If your wok is not hot enough, you will see a lot of juice in the wok at this point. Turn up the heat, if it is the case. Make room for the egg by pushing all noodles to the side of the wok. Crack the egg onto the wok and scramble it until it is almost all cooked. Fold the egg into the noodles. Add shrimp and stir. Add bean sprouts, chives. Stir a few more times. The noodles should be soft and very tangled.

Pour onto the serving plate and sprinkle with peanuts. Serve hot with the banana flower slice and a wedge of lime on the side and raw Chinese chives and raw bean sprouts on top.