Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen – City

Fine dining at One New Change shopping centre by St Paul’s Cathedral

One New Change is worth visiting for its fabulous roof terrace view of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London skyline. It’s free admission to enjoy this viewing platform and there’s a variety of drinking and/or dining experiences to choose from including Madison’s (with outdoor seating on the roof terrace) and – if it’s fine dining you’re after – Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen inside the mall.

 

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View of St. Paul’s Cathedral from One New Change roof terrace

 

Stepping into Bread Street Kitchen on a Monday evening earlier this month, I was immediately greeted and seated by very professional, efficient waiting staff. The restaurant was mostly empty (although it filled out later) as I was led through the vast warehouse-style interior with its tiled walls and long leather cushioned benches and huge mirrors.

We ordered a bottle of dry white wine, a Ribeiro Santo Branco from Portugal’s Dão region @ £25.00 (light floral aromas, and easy to drink) and enjoyed some fresh, slightly salty bread with a cheesy crust (cover charge @ £2.00 per head) while reading the menu.

 

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Spacious warehouse style interior with tiled walls and an industrial feel

 

I ordered a side salad as a starter of marinated beetroot, feta and toasted hazelnuts @ £4.00 while H had potted salt beef brisket with grain mustard, picalilli and buckwheat crackers @ £9.50. We were excited by both, and thoroughly enjoyed our first course.

 

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Marinated beetroot, feta + toasted hazelnut salad – side portion

 

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Potted salt beef brisket with mustard, piccalilli + crackers

For main course I was tempted by the pork belly but I’m not eating meat at the mo, so ordered a fillet of sea bream, broccoli and romesco sauce (a gorgeous nut and pepper sauce although – overall – this plate was slightly dry) @ £18.00 along with a side of macaroni cheese with garlic roasted crumbs @ £5.50 (the cheesy sauce was quite creamy and so good!).

H had slow-roasted Cumbrian saddleback pork belly and spiced apple sauce @ £17.00 with a side of mashed potato @ £4.00. Check out the crispy crackling in the photo below (I *will* go back and try the pork next time).

 

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Fillet of sea bream, brocolli + romesco (nut and red pepper) sauce

 

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Macaroni cheese with garlic roasted crumbs

 

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Slow-roasted pork belly + spiced apple sauce

 

Too full for dessert, we relaxed over a digestif: an amaretto for H @ £7.00 and a Remy Martin coeur de cognac for me @ £15.00.

The verdict: Excellent service; high quality food that excites (and won’t break the bank), in a relaxing, very comfortable, open space. I plan to eat here again. Soon.

 

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: British, international
~ Address: 10 Bread Street at One New Change, London
~ Postcode: EC4M 9AJ
~ Nearest station: St. Paul’s, Mansion House, Bank
~ Website + menus: Bread Street Kitchen website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Bread Street Kitchen
~ Location: Bread Street Kitchen map

 

Bread Street Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Gordon Ramsay’s Maze – Mayfair

Gourmet five-course tasting menu experience – French and Asian cuisine

This five course dinner tasting menu with champagne for two was a very generous wedding gift to K and I earlier this year, from my old and much-loved university friend G.


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A red letter days experience


The night before new year’s eve seemed like a perfect time for the booking – following an afternoon of retail therapy (mostly K’s) on Oxford Street, during our long Christmas holidays. And hopefully a climactic LardButty entry to end 2014.


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Bar area purple decor and Christmas decorations


Arriving early so we could relax in the cocktail bar, K had a barrel aged old fashioned (Woodford Reserve bourbon, sugar, angostura and orange @ £15.00) and I had a margarita with salt foam (excellent Don Julio Blanco tequila margarita with all the salt but no mess @ £15.00 – the salt foam is made from salt, egg whites, xanthum gum and nitrous oxide and had a real novelty factor while looking like a lemon meringue pie too).


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Cocktails – orangey old fashioned and salt foam margarita


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Tasting menu – click on photo to see enlarged copy


On being shown to our table, a waiter then sommelier explained the choices (with the vast wine list being presented on an ipad). We started with champagne, an amuse bouche of crumbly cheese, onion and salmon and some light and tasty cracker breads (mixed seed, chocolate, cheese, prawn cracker, paprika, and a variation on peas pudding).


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Cracker breads + amuse bouche – a cheese, onion + salmon canapé


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Flight of three wines from regional Spain – Louro, Navarra + a Priorat


To accompany a variety of foods, we chose a flight of three Spanish wines starting with a nicely dry white Louro, Rafael Palacio from Galicia, followed by a red Navarra, Emilio Valerio (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Grenache blend) and a Priorat, Planetes, Nin Ortiz (Grenache and Carignon blend).

The first taster course was the English breakfast. How elegant does this look? Digging down into the shell, was a treasure trove of tomato and bacon pieces.


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#1 English breakfast – egg, bacon + tomato served in an egg shell with soldiers and crunchy ‘hay’


For the next three courses, there was a choice of two dishes. We ordered one of each and shared so we got to try everything.

The cured salmon was served with mango, pickled onion and tempura crisp – an outstanding treat of flavours, while the octopus had the appearance and texture of a meaty sausage (albeit very tender), served with Szechuan pepper, tomatoes and rocket mayonnaise.


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#2 Choice of octopus or cured salmon


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#3 Choice of dumpling (seafood) or sea bream with enoki mushroom


The light, melt-in-your-mouth, gyoza-style dumpling was packed with lobster, tiger prawns and salmon. And the sea bream was just amazing – served with enoki mushrooms, dashi (miso soup base) and ginger, some of my favourite ingredients. For me, the sea bream dish was exceptional.


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#4 Choice of pork belly or duck breast


On to course number four. Could it possibly get any better? Somehow it does, as each course thrills and delights just that little bit more.

The tender pork belly with a thin crispy crackling top was served with smoked bacon, tiger prawn and miso broth and decorated with bean sprouts and spring onions.

Again, the duck breast was tender with a perfectly crispy skin (we were so pleased to have recently discovered we both like duck breast) and was served with romanesco (beautiful edible green flower bud that tastes somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower), wild mushroom and lemon.


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#5a Blackberry + apple sundae with custard


Swiftly following the blackberry and apple sundae (the first part of the fifth course) came profiteroles with chocolate, Baileys gel and ginger ice cream (divine) and cheesecake – a white chocolate log with ice cream, sprinkled with coconut and Szechuan powder (pepper) on a thin bed of pineapple (which was difficult to cut and could have benefited from being served with a sharp knife – my only, and very minor, criticism of the evening).


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#5b Choice of profiteroles or cheesecake


To accompany the desserts we shared a glass of white Castelnau Suduiraut @ £13.50 and a red recioto corgegiara @ £11.00.


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Dessert wines + a happy new year y’all


Everything about this experience was simply stunning from restaurant comfort, decor and atmosphere through to service, food and wine. I can’t see how our evening could have been improved. For that reason, Maze gets 5/5 in the LardButty index.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 5 / 5
~ Type: French/Asian
~ Address: 10-13 Grosvenor Square, London
~ Postcode: W1k 6JP
~ Tel: 020 7107 0000
~ Nearest station: Bond Street
~ Website + menus: Maze website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Maze food
~ Location: Maze map


Maze on Urbanspoon

Mango Tree – disappointing service

We visited Mango Tree (award-winning Thai restaurant) last night, a Sunday evening on a bank holiday weekend, and it was surprisingly dead.

Situated in prestigious Belgravia (within walking distance of Victoria underground and rail station in central London) the restaurant is spacious, with long sofa type seats running down the middle of the restaurant. But because most tables weren’t occupied, and – even though there were very few customers – service was inattentive and rather poor, it just felt empty and soulless.

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long sofa type seats run down the centre of the restaurant

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chicken satay starter

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tod mun starter

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green chicken curry

While the food was good quality, authentic Thai, I had higher hopes (Mango Tree chefs did well in Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Best Restaurant’ first series) but service was a let-down and it didn’t live up to expectations.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: Thai
~ Address: 46 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London
~ Postcode: SW1X 7EQ
~ Tel: 020 7823 1888
~ Nearest tube station: Victoria
~ Website: Mango Tree website
~ Location: Mango Tree map

Mango Tree on Urbanspoon

Sukhothai – top Thai in Yorkshire

Winner of many awards and rankings (Good Food Guide 2011 rates it as one of the best of only a handful of Thai restaurants in the whole of the UK), Sukhothai in Harrogate is a great, stylish restaurant serving authentic Thai food and offers excellent service. Unsurprisingly, it was shortlisted as one of the best ten Thai restaurants in the country by Gordon Ramsay in his F Word TV programme.

Sukhothai originally opened in Chapel Allerton in 2002 and a few branches in North and West Yorkshire have opened since, with the latest – Harrogate – opening in 2010. It’s an enormous restaurant, with big Thai furnishings. And waiting staff wear pristine Thai costume. Despite the size, it does get booked up so a table reservation in advance is usually needed.

We visited last night, a Sunday night, and business was brisk. So brisk, that a couple of errors were made (an incorrect fish dish was served and a waitress knocked a drink all over the table and one of our party). That said, the waiting staff did everything they could, and quickly, to recover from these mishaps: the correct fish dish was prepared and served within minutes and several staff descended to mop up the spillage. I was more impressed with how they handled those situations than put out by the accidents themselves.

There’s an extensive menu – probably worth having a read before visiting!

For starters some of our party had a sharing platter (spring rolls, tod mun fish cakes, prawn toast and vegetable tempura @ £8.95) while K and I shared a portion of tod mun pla fish cakes @ £5.95 (our usual benchmark and it scored highly) and a Nua Yang (strips of beef marinated in oyster sauce and honey, skewered and barbecued) @ £5.95

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Tod mun starter

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Sharing platter starter: vegetable tempura, tod mun pla, etc

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Nua Yang: marinated, skewered and barbecued beef

With quality ingredients beautifully cooked and served, the food here really is divine. The head chef and owner, Ban Kaewkraikhot, knows a thing or two about running successful restaurants, having run a popular restaurant in Bangkok for eight years before being lured to be Head Chef at a top Leeds restaurant, and then going on to run her own restaurants again, in the UK.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Thai
~ Address: 17-19 Cheltenham Parade, Harrogate
~ Postcode: HG1 1DD
~ Tel: 01423 500869
~ Nearest rail station: Harrogate
~ Website: Sukhothai website
~ Location: Sukhothai map

Sukhothai on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Gordon Ramsay’s The Narrow at Limehouse

We went to BBC6 Music’s Back to the Phuture night last night, at Troxy in Limehouse (Gary Numan and John Foxx played and were both excellent). I’m not very familiar with east London so arrived early to have a hunt for any decent pubs.

Pleasingly, it didn’t take very long. On exiting the DLR there are signs to the riverside pubs, just a few minutes walk away. Pubs aside, there’s a spectacular view across the River Thames to the city. There was an amazing sunset and the lowering sun just glowed golden on the Citi building and Canary Wharf.

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Sunset over Canary Wharf

Double bonus: the first pub we came to was Gordon Ramsay’s The Narrow, a busy gastropub serving great beers and quality food with an outdoor area overlooking the river.

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The Narrow’s outdoor area, overlooking the river

We ate from the bar menu and had a Narrow cheeseburger @ £9.50 (premium beef) and a fish finger sandwich with coleslaw and gherkin @ £6.00 (definitely not the frozen fish-finger type you might’ve eaten as a kid, but hunky chunks of fish fillets).

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Narrow burger with hand-cut chips and onion rings

This was such a good pub and place to eat, we were almost disappointed we had a gig to get to. Almost.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: British, gastropub
~ Address: 44 Narrow Street, Limehouse, London
~ Postcode: E14 8DP
~ Tel: 020 7592 7950
~ Nearest tube station: Limehouse
~ Website: The Narrow website
~ Menus: The Narrow menus
~ Location: The Narrow gastropub map

Gordon Ramsay at the Narrow on Urbanspoon

Azou – Hammersmith

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Never-ending banquet

Azou – with its Bedouin-style decor – is a cosy, little restaurant on King Street, Hammersmith, serving fabulous North African food.

W6 residents were probably trying to keep this little piece of perfection to themselves. However, it’s particularly popular since Gordon Ramsay’s Best Restaurants TV series when it topped the ‘best North African restaurant’ category in 2010. It’s also won a shed-load of other awards – with good reason – and you do need to book in advance.

My visit last night was for a friend’s birthday and we had the Azou feast set menu – an amazing banquet that seemed to be never-ending!

It included all five of these ‘starters’:
~ olives marinated in chermoula and a piquant sauce
~ king prawns in a spicy coriander sauce
~ calamari
~ falafel – patties of minced chickpeas, fava beans, spices + sesame with tahini
~ bourek – crisp pastry filled with marinated minced lamb, herbs + spices

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king prawn

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calamari

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falafel

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bourek

And a choice of main course, from:
~ mechoui – lamb shank, marinated in chermoula and slowly roasted
~ fish tajine – fish of the day with king prawn, mixed seafood + potatoes in a ‘gently sour’ sauce of preserved lemon, spices + herbs
~ tajine constantine – tender lamb in a hot and spicy chilli sauce with potatoes
~ tajine romanne – chicken breast in a sweet/tangy fresh pomegranate sauce, garnished with almonds, raisins + caramelised onion
~ berber tajine – fresh vegetables, artichoke hearts and chickpeas

I had the slow-roasted lamb shank – it was absolutely divine and so tender and flavorsome being slow cooked in spices, but I was too full to eat it after the previous five courses. Shame – must go back and try harder next time.

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my melt-in-your-mouth slow-roasted lamb shank

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H’s tajine constantine – tender lamb in chilli sauce with potatoes

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K’s tajine romanne – chicken breast in a tangy sauce, garnished with almonds

And finally…

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baclava

Oh. And I have enjoyed clarifying to people this week that my friend hired out ‘Azou’ not ‘a zoo’ for her celebrations…

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Moroccan
~ Address: 375 King Street, Hammersmith, London
~ Postcode: W6 9NJ
~ Tel: 020 8563 7266
~ Nearest tube station: Stamford Brook, Ravenscourt Park
~ Website: Azou website
~ Menus: Azou menus
~ Location: Azou restaurant map

Azou on Urbanspoon

Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Cafe

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Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Café has been offering excellent specials lately. Its closure at The Berkeley Hotel location may, in part, explain this (the lease ends and it’s closing tomorrow).

I had Sunday dinner here last month – three courses for £25 (sample prix fixe menu below). While it’s a classy restaurant, it was also comfortably casual and nothing was too much trouble for the waiting staff.

Prix fixe – two courses £21 or three courses £25

Starters
• Soup
• Pan-fried Cornish mackerel with wild garlic, tomato and olive dressing
• Watercress, endive and green bean salad with sesame dressing

Main courses
• Vegetarian option eg. Pappardelle with field mushrooms and baby spinach
• Fish option eg. Red mullet
• Meat option eg. Butter-roasted Goosnargh chicken with spring greens, lardons, garlic potatoes and thyme jus OR British beef with Yorkshire puddings

Desserts
• Steamed treacle pudding with Cornish clotted cream
• Brownie, pecan nut and marshmallow ice cream
Montgomery cheddar with oatcakes and spring fruit chutney

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We drank a Massaya classic red wine from Bekaa Valley, Lebanon @ £26.00. All the food was beautifully prepared and tasty but the final course of Montgomery cheddar with oatcakes (and a glass of port) was the highlight for me.

I look forward to re-visiting Boxwood Café in its new location.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: British
~ Postcode: WAS SW1X 7RL
~ Nearest tube station: WAS Knightsbridge
~ Website: Boxwood Cafe website
~ Opening hours / information: Boxwood Café ceases to be at The Berkeley Hotel from 25 Apr 2010 – new location to be announced late 2010 (Hollywood?)