Saturday, 24 November 2012

A weekend eating in London (part 4)

Gordon Ramsey at Claridge's

I had never eaten so much in my life in one sitting as I did at Le Gavroche last night. Retiring to bed
I was too full to lie down and too tired to stand up this made for a terrible restless and uncomfortable night. My own fault I know!  So it was not surprising I could not face breakfast in the morning. Still full from last night I could barely even fit a coffee in.

Today we had a reservation at Gordon Ramsey’s in Claridge’s for Rach’s birthday lunch.
It began to dawn on me the enormity of what we were doing, who the hell eats like this in an average day? and I began to worry I might not be hungry enough to eat lunch today.

When booking lunch for Sunday afternoon we decided it had to be a traditional roast so the hunt began for a suitable venue. We wanted Tradition and we wanted grand.
Claridge’s fitted the bill perfectly! Claridge’s has a fantastic history.

William and Marianne Claridge first ran a hotel from a single house in 1856 they bought the adjoining five buildings in 1854. Claridge’s opens its doors in 1856.
Its growing reputation soon earned visits from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
And fast became a favourite for heads of state and royalty throughout Europe.

After the end of the First World War flappers, bobs and the bright young things of London make Claridge's their place to party and the ballroom echoed to the songs of Gershwin, the sounds of jazz and the steps of the Charleston.

During the Second World War it was used as an exile for many dignitaries. One of the footmen told us the King of Greece had lived here throughout.

During the 50’s the Hollywood era Claridges was visited by the likes of
Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Yul Brynner and Bing Crosby
Spencer Tracy famously said he'd rather go to Claridge's than to heaven when he dies!
Incidentally Katherine Hepburn was asked to use the staff entrance , she was barred from the Lobby for wearing trousers! thank god that dress code does not apply today we wouldn't have got a toe over the threshold!

Fast forward to today it’s still the kind of place the queen will attend a cocktail party.
Talking of cocktails my favourite one in the whole world“The Black pearl “is only served here. I know this because I read about it in a magazine and after seeing the list of ingredients I knew it was the drink for me. In fact my friend Lisa and I drank them every time she visited me a couple of summers ago. They are a real faff to make but totally lovely.
And here was my chance to have one where it was invented. It’s sort of like having a Singapore sling at Raffles I suppose.

Our lunch was booked for 12.30 and I was seriously worried but I was going to go even if I could only manage soup! But somewhere between stepping off the tube to a couple of streets away I felt that little hunger pang. I was so relived I punched the air with delight!!

Stepping into Claridge's has that real WOW factor it's just stunning and I can see why it's jokingly referred to as the extension of Buckingham palace.

Being slightly early we were shown to the Fumoir bar. A visually stunning bar lovely 30s interior dark rich colours, vintage photographs of Marlene Dietrich and Coco Chanel line the panelled walls. This bar is so beautiful I wished it to be early evening. I could just see myself sitting here drinking my beloved Black Pearl cocktail.
Fumoir Bar, Claridges
The birthday girl
 Gordon Ramsey's dining room at Claridges

Watermelon breezer cocktail

English garden peas & broad beans, Dorset organic goat's curd and roasted hazelnuts
Sauteed chicken livers with toasted brioche, wild mushroom and fried egg

Roast beef with Yorkshire pud
Lemon tart with creme fraiche
Birthday plate

Truffles & marshmallow
Meeting the head chef

During our meal the manager came over for a chat and to wish rach a happy birthday. He then Instructed us not to leave without seeing him as he had a surprise for us. 
We had manage to convince ourselves Gordon was cooking today and we were being introduced to him.

After we paid our bill we were summonsed to follow him, OMG were we right we were walking towards the kitchens, with every diner turning to look at us it was slightly embarrassing.
As it happens Mr Ramsey was not there but we were introduced to the head chef who's name neither of us can remember (sadly) as he was brilliant with us, managing to show us how everything comes together and still shouting the orders from the pass he took time to chat with us and pose for a photograph. This was an amazing experience and a definite highlight of the day.

View from Chefs table in Gordon Ramsey's kitchen at Claridge's

I never did get to order my Black pearl but a visit this November will visit the bar at Claridges to put that right! after all this is unfinished business.


50ml Zubrowka Bisson Grass Vodka
4 Fresh Blackberries
4 Fresh Blueberries
10ml Chambord
10ml Creme deCassis
25ml Pink Grapefruit Juice
Fresh Lime Juice
Muddle the blackberries, blueberries and vodka with a bar spoon in a cocktail shaker. Add the lime juice, Chambord, Cassis and pink grapefruit juice. Shake well with ice. Strain and pour contents into a short glass with ice. Garnish with a couple of blackberries and enjoy!

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