In every area, there is a woman who made her mark.
Such as Marie Curie by her works on radioactivity left a mark in physics; Frida by her pictures and biography in the art of painting; Angela Merkel with her leadership as a president of one of the biggest European countries in politics; Marilyn Monroe by enchanting the audience with her one look in the movie industry; Sabiha Gökçen with her courage in the cockpits of the aircrafts; Coco Chanel, as an incarnation of art in fashion; Jane Austen by her writings that she wrote anonymously in times of censorship.
Some of them made a breakthrough in whichever area they worked in, some of them raised an awareness for some serious issue, some of them made their presence felt on a patriarchal platform and made their fellows proud…
Just like Chef Clare Smyth has done!
Aged 37, the young chef is at the helm of “Gordon Ramsay Chelsea” which is the first eponymous restaurant of Gordon Ramsay, opened in 1983. Although she worked for such huge names as Fat Duck, Alain Ducasse, French Laundry and Perse, what makes her outstanding is another success story of hers. As an Irish, Clare Smyth is the only female head chef with three Michelin stars.
As she defines her creation as the interpretation of the Modern European cuisine, she offers it in three menus: A La Carte, Seasonal Inspiration and Menu Prestige.
At Royal Hospital Road, the three-star awarded restaurant has a quite cozy and friendly atmosphere. Except from the bar-table at the entrance, its serving capacity is up to 40 people. Relevantly, the worst thing about the restaurant is that they accept more reservations than their capacity. When we consider the concept of “fine dining” as eating in a refreshing and laid-back atmosphere, I should say filling the restaurant with 50 people at the same time causes a little noise pollution.
As we created our own menu, the night started with three amuse bouches: delicious dumplings filled with truffles, salmon tartare jello wrapped with seaweed, and lastly egg-shaped pastry filled with parmesan, egg, potato and cream.
The first main dish was scallop tartare prepared with cauliflower, a variety of greenery and nage sauce which is an American sauce for poaching seafood and vegetables. It was crowned with “oscietra” caviar on top. Since I get used to eating scallops seared, the dish degraded the whole dining experience.
Pressed foie gras had a creative taste and look as it was made with green apple, turnip, watercress, a few pieces of smoked duck meat.
The following dish was winter vegetables. Although it was delicious, I personally think it was topped with an exaggerated amount of truffles.
Gordon Ramsay’s take on ravioli was filled with lobster, langoustine and salmon. Although I expected a real Italian taste from the dish, it tasted a bit messy since all this seafood was served in the same combination.
The next dish was like a celebration of spring: Isle of Gigha halibut, made with cauliflower couscous and Atlantic King crab. Similar to turbot or European flounder, halibut is really hard to catch and can grow up to 300 kilograms. It looked like a painting on the plate garnished with a variety of edible flowers.
Another sea food dish was filets of dover. Since I still remember the dovers I ate on my little gastronomic trips to England during my years as a student thirty years ago, I necessarily wished to find the same taste in Ramsay’s version too, which didn’t happen.
The next arrival at the table was a wonderful spaghetti with Perigord sauce, which was not on the menu by the way. However the extra truffles added to the dish left a metallic aftertaste although they are not as intensely flavored as Alba truffles. Besides, I cannot say it looked that appeasing.
Following, Navarin (a French name for the dish) was another dish that satisfied me as a lamb-meat lover. It was composed of lamb meat and winter vegetables. Since I personally prefer the best-end of the lamb meat with a crispy texture -although I would go for medium-cooked if it’s the rest of the lamb-meat-, the softness of the best-end was another minus but it wasn’t that bad for me.
Roasted roe deer loin which was flavored with Jerusalem artichoke, young kale and Perigord truffle reminded me of the ones I ate in Austria and Bavaria. It was followed by baked vacherin also known as “fondue cheese” in Switzerland which is made from cow’s milk and has a smooth texture. Accompanied by pickled onions, mustard seeds and Perigord truffle, it was exquisite.
After a creative Cheltenham beetroot with thyme, clementine, pink grapefruit, hazelnuts and cheese, we ended the mains session with cucumber sorbet with a sprinkle of mint served in an elegant mortar.
The first one of the desserts was made with rhubarb which is from the same family of sheep’s sorrel and also known as “ravent” (pronounced as rah-vent) in Turkey. Flavored with vanilla parfait and lemon balm, it was also drizzled with some olive oil in the same fashion it was done at Tano Passai L’Olio in Milano. However, the amount of olive oil was a bit much at Gordon Ramsay.
The second dessert was lemonade parfait made with honey, bergamot and sheep’s milk yoghurt sorbet. With its elegant look, it was a royal end to the menu.
There was a quite nice surprise to us in the petit fours served with the coffee: Turkish delight! With a jello-ish texture and rose essence flavor, it was boosted to another level with pieces of pistachio. Given that more than half of the diners were from the Far East and South America on that night, it made me proud to see such values from the Turkish cuisine in such a popular international restaurant, considering I have not seen many during my 40 years of dining experience in such star-awarded restaurants.
As a result of my evaluation at the end of the night, I found Gordon Ramsay a two-star restaurant although something about the restaurant deserved three stars: the service staff. With their care for the visitors that never stopped from the moment we stepped in until we left, the members of service staff were respectful, amply attentive, hygienic and well-informed.
Bon appétit and enjoy the taste of life…
68 Royal Hospital Road
London / ENGLAND
+44 020 7352 4441