Wednesday, February 04, 2009

AA Gill's review is Bravo Sierra

Today we went to Foxtrot Oscar. It's Gordon Ramsay's new restaurant. It was absolutely marvellous. It cost £112.48 including all wine and service. Very reasonable for high quality London food. And it's in the heart of Chelsea. We had a bit of a to-do about it as well.

To cut a long story short I had a traumatic time last Thursday. I was in a taxi which did a hit and run on a pedestrian and sped off at eighty miles an hour. Fortunately he let me out after a few minutes and I whimpered to the police station. The hit and runner was on a mobile phone. Anyway the medium and long term effects of this have made me: 1) slightly more cautious yet also more confident in my driving (I have never held a telephone conversation whilst driving) 2) carry on living exactly and precisely as I was before as there is jack diddly squat that I could have done to create a different outcome. As part of 2) I have carried on my (possibly) too high expectations in terms of restaurant food.

Basically husband wanted to go to Foxtrot Oscar. When I read Mr Gill's review I wanted to go to the Square. The only Ramsay establishment husband has eaten at is The Sandgate in Folkestone where we went for our honeymoon. We loved it. Perfect for a trip to France as it is pretty reasonable yet v close to coast. I had eaten at the Narrow and it was a bit rubbish. So I had surreptitiously booked the Square. When husband got out of shower I saw the look on his face. He started talking about money and I quietly unbooked the square.

Firstly the service. Impeccable, friendly, informal and funny. They never wrote anything down, not a word. Yet nothing was forgotten. We thought we might have the restaurant to ourselves having got in at 6.30 to an empty place. Indeed the host made us feel like the only people in the world. We had his undivided attention.

The bread was amazing. sourdough in little triangle shapes. We also knew from Ramsay's cookery books that his sea food is possibly his greatest strength. He saves money on expensive ingredients from hours of back breaking, yet highly trained labour - we love his fish stock and fish sauce.

Yes, my prawn cocktail was inexplicably in a bowl but husband had a terrine with prune chutney which was v nice. And the mains were also great. Pub prices, fine dining quality. Wine was good value and gorgoeous. We had Pinot Noir - complex, tasty and light. And for dessert I had bread and butter pudding - the lightest and best I have ever tasted.
Wonderful muscat to finish and the husband had some good cheese.

What I love most about my most expensive hobby (eating out) is the stories you always get from the best places. It turned out that we were joined in the restaurant by the man who played William Dorrit from the Dickens TV serial with his mother/ wife/daughter/two female friends. We very much enjoyed the eavesdropping about how this actor learnt to play the ukelele on the Royle Family. Then the owner told us that his brother had sacked AA Gill's wife's brother. He said Ramsay had also chucked out Gill and Joan Collins from Royal hospital road. So the bad review from AA Gill was predictable.

But the thing about Ramsay is he seems to listen to his critics. Gill's criticisms - meat pie and french onion soup - had been taken off the menu. The food was so tasty and well executed - living up to Ramsay's dedication to simplicities.

AA Gill needs to return to foxtrot oscar.

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