Whilst you might find the above more or less interesting, as is so often, the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is by far the best at 68 Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea.
Ramsay’s eponymous flagship restaurant is indeed all about luxury. The room is all in beige, silver and some dark tones. It is fashionable and classy, even if it won’t please some. Taste may be a matter of discussion, but there is nothing to discuss about the quality of the service, now under the direction of the young and highly motivated Robert Rose. It is now warmer, more efficient and welcoming. Eating here is great fun, which is partially thanks to the relaxed service. The wine list could be just as much fun, as it offers quite a few great bottles, were it not for the rather steep prices. Although the list is amongst the city’s more pricey, the wine service is certainly one of the best. Nonetheless, the food is what made this restaurant famous, so what about it?
The food is undeniably French. Since Clare Smyth has taken over, the menu incorporates a touch of Le Louis XV yet it remains relatively safe classical fare produced without the slightest technical mistake. Take, for instance, the brill with pommes boulangères and a bourguignon jus. Technically well executed and tasty, the dish lacks interest. Yes, the fish is cooked well and yes, the spinach and other elements are too, yet the dish still misses that little something to lift it up a notch. The sauce is too strong for the brill (‘farmed fish’ as stated proudly on the menu) and drowns the little flavour of the fish. From time to time, such uninteresting dishes appear on the menu, but on most occasions the food can be very good, such as a chicken liver and foie gras dish with truffle and apple. Packed with intense earthy, livery flavours this dish is pretty close to perfect. Every element adds to the dish, and overall it is a remarkable combination of divine texture and flavour. Also good is a pork course that changes its exact composition from time to time. Featuring a variety of cuts, it can come with sauerkraut and a classic jus. Whilst not terribly exciting, often it has great flavour and is more than enjoyable.
What this kitchen does best is tasty and comforting food that breaks no boundaries and takes no risks. Anyone seeking ingenious combinations or revolutionary techniques is in the wrong place; it is for all those who want a solid, safe and enjoyable meal. With a lunch menu starting at £45 for three courses, no one can say that this restaurant does not try hard. Overall, it is a great restaurant. You can have a fabulous time here, yet you might be a little underwhelmed if you were expecting the meal of a lifetime. Eating here is a highly civilised experience, far away from the uncouth character its patron is known for, so bear that in mind.