Showing posts with label apple tarte tatin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label apple tarte tatin. Show all posts

Laissez Faire (Toronto)


You do you … the modern day equivalent to living a laissez faire lifestyle. It’s a romantic thought, being able to live as you please, be as you please - and at the new Laissez Faire – eat as you please. Their menu strays from their French name and also offers Italian dishes for good measure.

It’s not always done well, the porcini truffle arancini ($13) are the worst I’ve ever had: the risotto so dry that the ball starts to crumble and the mixture bland so everything relies heavily on the marinara (thankfully, fresh and delicious). As a plus, since it is deep fried rice, even being the worst it’s still edible, but certainly not one you’d want to serve a true Italian.


The squid ink tagliatelli ($21) is 100% better. Dark ribbons of pasta encompasses a seafood flavour but not in a fishy way. It’s covered in a sauce that’s not overly thick but salty enough to really give it a briny sea essence. Plump sweet clams and crunchy bread crumb provide a nice contrast to the pasta, while there’s just enough dill fronds to add a hint of freshness without morphing the dish’s earthiness.


Safer sharing plates are some of the cold seafood options. While we weren’t advised what the oysters were that evening (only that they were from PEI), the dozen ($32) tasted clean and fresh, accompanied with the traditional vinegary onion mignonette and grated horseradish. 


Meanwhile, the albacore tuna ($17) has a real nuttiness from the black and white sesame crust. It’s slowly seared so the seeds are just lightly toasted and the tuna wrapped in a thin cooked ring and warmed through. Really swipe the fish around the plate to get all the herby aioli on the plate.

For something incredible, you have to be willing to dive all-in … calories and cholesterol be damn! Just bite into the pork belly ($17) and enjoy the crispy skin that’s the perfect ratio of fat for flavours and skin for chewiness. A thin sherry gastrique and bits of pomegranate add a slight sweetness against the otherwise savoury dish. It’s so good that a table of four may want to double the order so you can each have another piece.


The duck confit ($21) was another strong dish with the traditional crunchy skin encapsulating soft rich meat. Pairing the fowl with salad was a great idea to keep it lighter and allows a diner to still enjoy some starters.


Aside from the food, two things really stuck out for me. Firstly, the odd portion sizes at Laissez Faire. While the small and large plates weren’t overly big, the sides like roasted Brussels sprouts and parsnips ($14) were massive. Who knows, maybe it’s their way of making diners eat their vegetables. Yet, there’s so much bacon incorporated into the dish that vegetables seem secondary. Moreover, the sauce is way too sweet and the pickled mustard seeds, while a great idea, needs to be applied with a lighter touch. Maybe it’s me, but I want my vegetables to actually taste like vegetables.


Portion sizes were wonky in the dessert department as well. The apple tarte tatin ($11) is barely sharable compared to the brioche panna cotta ($14), which actually resembles a regular-sized dessert.

Nevertheless, both are decent – the apple tatin served as a deconstructed version consisting of well-poached apples with a thinned caramel sauce on top of a piece of really buttery pastry. The flavours are bang on, just the form was a bit disappointing as I was actually hoping for the traditional tarte format. The panna cotta has the requisite creamy texture with a strong vanilla flavour. I could have done without the bits of crunchy brioche crumbles, which takes away from that lovely silky texture; yet, I can see some liking the contrasting texture and hint of saltiness it adds to the dessert.


The second thing that stuck with me, albeit I didn’t realize until I was writing the blog post, was how wildly inaccurate the prices charged for the desserts were from the published amounts. On the menu, it’s listed as $9 for the apple tarte tatin and $11 for the panna cotta, while what’s actually charged is $11 and $14, respectively. Perhaps a $1 difference is reasonable when there’s a last minute change, but to add $3 to each dish is terribly inconsistent. Sadly, the caliber and size of the desserts definitely aren’t worth the augmented price.

Maybe it all comes back to the laissez faire attitude – who cares if prices are incorrectly charged, the Italian dishes aren’t necessarily the strongest, or the sides are the same size as mains? Just go with it and pop another bottle of bubbly to forget about the situation – oddly, we did end up getting a BOGO 50% off deal for the Prosecco without realizing it. After all, it all works out in the end… just chill out.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 589 King Street West

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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CRU (Toronto)


LBS has switched out their three letters for three new ones … CRU. With the change, the menu’s morphed from similarly priced seafood options to a more standard format. No worries, their spacious banquette seating environment and large bar still remains.


CRU’s menu now straddles a variety of proteins and cultures. Items such as the burrata ($19) and brown butter gnocchi ($23) have an Italian influence, although updated with different spices. The burrata is covered with a date compote, honey, tangy za’atar seasoning, and tons of micro greens to give the creamy cheese a Middle Eastern flair. It’s rather refreshing, but better suited for summer months; I was craving something more comforting and sinful.


The brown butter gnocchi ($23) was more satisfying – well flavoured plump soft nuggets in a savoury brown butter sauce with earthy chestnuts, crunchy lightly pickled cauliflower, and briny capers thrown in. The gnocchi is a richer dish and works well for sharing.


Their starters are the more adventurous options. Thumbnail sized caviar doughnuts (complimentary order shown below; normal order is $16) takes a dense cake batter and glazes it with sweet crème fraiche. It’s kept savoury by decorating the pastry with radish, chives, and, of course, caviar. If you like sweet and salty combinations, this one will blow the typical bacon and maple glaze version out of the water.


I was actually fooled by the vegan ‘nduja (complimentary order shown below; normal order is $11) where the spicy salty spread did taste like the pork version – the only difference being it was much smoother. Topped on crispy grilled bread, slices of pickled fennel and dill were a good attempt to balance out the powerful spread. If the smokiness was toned down a bit, the ‘nduja may be even better.  


CRU’s mains were definitely what impressed our table with the aged duck breast ($29) being the favourite. The combination of gamey duck meat, thin sliver of fat, and well rendered crispy skin made for a tasty bite. As the juices and fat melded together on my taste buds, I instantly wanted another bite. Paired with soft confit squash and some pumpkin seed crumble, the dish definitely had a fall/winter flair.


Some people may find the Angus striploin ($33) a tad chewy but I enjoyed the well seared crust and deep beef flavours. Even the glazed celeriac, paired with the dish, was a treat. Usually the root vegetable is served in a puree form, its flavours diluted by cream, butter, or stock. Left whole, so that its natural tastes were prevalent, it made for an interesting side - imagine something that has the texture of turnip but the after taste of celery.


While we knew not to expect Chabrol caliber apple tart tatin ($10), the deconstructed version was a letdown. There was way too much cinnamon apple filling and the puff pastry is better described as thin crispy wafers than pastry. Good luck trying to spoon any of the compote or ice cream onto the thick spoon provided. The dessert was disappointing and messy.


Go for the millionaire’s tart ($12) instead. Indeed, it’s a rich dessert given it’s constructed with chocolate ganache, caramel, and hazelnut ice cream. But, the ganache is made with dark chocolate so the sugariness of the tart is restrained. It was lusciously flavourful and left my taste buds feeling like a million bucks.


In general, CRU’s dishes are packed with flavours. Each element on the plate holds its own and together packs a powerful punch. It’s certainly a change from the safe fare at LBS. CRU food is here to make a statement.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 100 Yonge Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Cafe Cancan (Toronto)


¯Can you, can you do the cancan?¯ That’s the song running through my mind after hearing Café Cancan replaces the former Harbord Room. I’m half expecting to see a raised bar looking like a stage flanked with velvet curtains and the staff wearing hot pants with fishnets. The reality couldn’t be further - clean cut white furniture and a pastel motif that feels familiar, similar to a host of Italian restaurants opening over the last two years.  

Their menu is fittingly French and filled with the classics including a small foie gras selection and baked escargot. With the cold weather, I start with a hearty French onion soup ($16). Café Cancan’s version tastes surprisingly light even though it incorporates pieces of pulled beef shank and plenty of gruyere, thanks to healthy dose of sherry and vinegar. While it was satisfying, I would have liked the broth to incorporate more onion as I found it predominantly tasted like slightly sour beef soup.


The duck confit ($24) was great, the skin crispy and glistening while the meat fork tender and flavourful. It was smart of the chef to keep the accompanying farro porridge less salty (since confit always has quite a bit of seasoning); the risotto-like side was flavoured with duck jus with a hint of creaminess from the gruyere.


While the size of the tenderloin used in the steak au poivre ($34) is pretty small, the thicker cut allows the beef to stay medium rare. The velvety peppercorn sauce was what you’d expect with the dish and the hot frites nice and crispy.


Café Cancan’s beef cheek bourguigon ($26) is delicious and hearty thanks to thick cuts of pork belly included in the dish. With two fair-sized chunks of beef cheek, you’ll be full afterwards. The sauce did seem a little light on the red wine, but could be due to all the other rich ingredients overpowering it, including the buttery pommes puree.


Only the skate wing a la meuniére ($25) remained unfinished at the end of the meal. Perhaps there was too much going on with the sauce: a tremendous amount of lemon, but then also grapes, apples, and hazelnuts. Moreover, being a thinner fish with distinctive gelatinous muscle layers, the texture can be weird - decreasing the sauce would help with the consistency, allowing the fish to remain crispy. 


Unlike restaurants that are trimming down dessert menus to less than a handful, Café Cancan has plenty of choose from.  If you’re in a rush, put in an order for the Northern spy apple tart for two ($18) earlier as it takes fifteen minutes to prepare. The extra time is well worth it as you’ll be treated to a hot cinnamon apple dessert with relatively crispy pastry. While it’s not nearly as good as Chabrol’s version (there's not enough pastry and the crème anglais is a bit thick), it’s nonetheless satisfying.


The opera cake ($12) also arrives doused in a silky coffee sauce, which I wish was more bitter to help balance out the sweetness of the chocolate and cream layered cake. Regardless, it was still a good dessert, just not a great option for those who don’t like rich sweet items.  


It’s great to see Toronto’s French bistro scene continue to expand. While Café Cancan’s aesthetically looks modern, their menu is refreshingly traditional and for the most part, well executed. It’s not the greatest option for vegetarians or those who want a healthy meal, but is that really what French cuisine is known for? Give me the molten cheese topped soup! I'm eating for winter.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 89 Harbord Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Cafe Cancan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CLOSED: Doma (Toronto)


Doma offers an array of dishes they describe as "Korean with French inspiration or French with Korean influences". To keep things fresh, their menu changes monthly and only a few favourites from the previous month are carried forward. It’s a pretty democratic way to create a menu; as staff ask diners about their favourite dishes, the menu should be curated around the taste of customers.

Most people partake in their tasting menu where for $65 a person you try everything. In reality, for the sake of fairness, it’s really your democratic duty to sample it all so you can give a well-informed opinion on your favourite dish. If you’re not up for the task, the prices per dish have also been included in this post.

Within a short while of ordering, an amuse bouche is brought out. Being an acorn jelly, the actual jelly is neutral, so you’re greeted with a hit of spice from the finely diced kimchi and pickled onions with a slight saltiness added by the soy dashi. A refreshing summery start.


Meanwhile, the yook hwae ($18), a beef tartare that’s spiked with the spicy gochujang, is filled with flavours: of course there’s a bit of heat, but this is fairly delicate and balanced with sweet pear gel and pickled honey; black garlic aioli adds a lovely savoury creaminess. 

The long strips of beef, instead of the customary diced pieces, takes getting used to as it’s difficult to scoop the tartare and causes the entire pile of meat to come off in one bite. Hence, you’ll need the aid of a fork and it’s best to break the rice and seaweed chips into smaller pieces to create one-bite portions. Nonetheless, the tartare tastes good and I enjoy the little pieces of cauliflower and broccoli mixed in for crunch. The chips are also kept neutral so they add texture without competing on flavours.

More than one staff member told us their grilled octopus ($20) is the sole dish that’s been on every menu since the start. In my opinion, this needs to be tweaked or retired. Sure, the slaw of cabbage, bell peppers, cucumber, pear jelly, and seaweed is good – it’s that mix of sweet, sour, and spicy flavours that’s synonymous with Korean flavours. Even the pickled grainy mustard on top really adds a pop to the salad. But then, the actual octopus, although meaty and tender is just SO sweet. If octopus can be rendered into a chewy candy, it’d resemble what Doma serves.


Instead, they should keep the sam gye tang ($24), a great rendition of the French chicken roulade where medallions of dark meat is stuffed, rolled, and then baked until the skin crisps up. The Asian flavours are brought in with the stuffing: a mix of ginseng, dates, and more meat. It’s tender and flavourful, and with a dollop of fragrant ginger and scallion paste even better. White and black fungus is added for crunch and also helps to soak up the oriental herb infused chicken veloute sauce in all its crevices. Of all the dishes, this was the greatest at amalgamating the French and Asian flavours in one plate.


If Doma doesn’t keep the uhsun mandoo ($26) forever on their menu, I’ll be seriously mad. What a seafood lover’s delight with a piece of wonderfully cooked white fish (could be pickerel), a large sweet prawn, and the best part, a mandoo, which is a Korean dumpling filled with crab encapsulated in a ravioli pasta. Each of the individual proteins already have sufficient flavours, but then you smear on onion or pea puree and the ingredients change again.


While the sweet potato rice cakes ($16) were good – a base of chewy Korean rice cakes filled with a creamy sweet potato puree - it could have been the dish that French flavours are featured more prominently. The European influence was in there with a light sprinkling of parmigian, but it didn’t really add much and everything else was more Korean focused. The tofu and pork belly ragout spooned onto the rice cakes is similar to the sweet bean paste sauce found in ja jang mein. In lieu of the ragout, it would be interesting to pair the rice cakes with a creamy sauce or replace it with a thicker beef bourguignon instead.


For being glazed in gochujang, I would have expected the pork belly ($26) to be spicier. Instead, it merely tastes sweet and savoury, especially with the grilled nectarines accompanying the dish. Overall, the flavour that was missing from Doma’s dishes is something spicy. Indeed, there was a bit of it from the kimchi in the amuse bouche, but afterwards everything else was void of the taste that is so popular in Korean cuisine. The pork belly could have been the opportunity to showcase spice, even if it was merely incorporated into a side dish with the meat. 


Nonetheless, I’m glad Doma invested in using a premium part of the pork belly where the meat and fat alternates in layers (rather than having one thick piece of each), it makes the pork belly less heavy and the flavours better-rounded.

When it came to dessert, the Korean influence flew out the window. The first dessert, an ode to corn ($10) wasn’t even French and instead best described as North American. Sweet corn ice cream is combined with salted caramel popcorn, sponge cake, and corn kernels. The sweet and salty dessert was good and the honey truffle sponge cake an interesting pulled fluffy texture. Nonetheless, it was a bit disappointing that it had nothing to do with Doma’s vision.

While the apple tarte tatin ($10) is definitely a nod in the French direction, it once again has no Korean influences (unless the country loves marshmallows). The dessert was just so sugary ... when there’s caramel sauce one doesn’t need marshmallows on top. Despite looking decent, it was just too sweet and even the fruit was overpowered.


While Korean cuisine isn’t known for desserts, there are still some notable dishes. Chewy glutinous rice creations, similar to mocha, could have been filled with fruit and topped with Chantilly cream to make a Doma appropriate sweet. With so many renditions of red bean paste encapsulated desserts (whether it be pan fried, baked, or deep fried), surely something French could have been incorporated into the pastries to give it a fusion twist.

Don’t get me wrong, with the exception of the octopus and apple tarte tatin, I was pleased with the taste of Doma’s August menu. If our waiter didn’t feel the need to explain that restaurant is known for French and Korean inspired creations, I could have just accepted the dishes as presented. But, if they really want to be known for marrying the two cultures, more dedication is required at ensuring every dish (not sure some) really showcase the spirit of each culture’s cuisine. Otherwise, it’d just be another mixed continental restaurant , which are a dime a dozen.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 50 Clinton Street
 

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Doma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CLOSED: Weslodge (Toronto)


While restaurants like Cactus Club Café are known for their pretty approachable waitresses, at Weslodge, the scales tip in favour for the ladies where dapper young men sling the food instead. Dressed in tailored jean shirts, some even complete with leather suspenders, I’m guessing they’re supposed to resemble cowboys … very clean and tailored cowboys.

Despite the upscale saloon environment, their menu is more adventurous than steak and potatoes. There’s items from the sea and non-American risottos; of course, there’s still beef, but it’s braised and served with jus.  

During Winterlicious ($38), I’m happy to see their special price fixe menu includes renditions of their normally available dishes, such as the smoked trout and crisp potato cake starter. It’s a superb dish, the fish cooked through but still having the smoked flavour and aroma, which is balanced out with thinly sliced cucumbers and tangy crème fraiche. The potato base is not the shredded pancake or latkes version, rather a square of non-creamy potato gratin that flakes apart just like the fish.

The braised beef cheek was prepared to my liking: fork tender yet still has a meaty texture and just enough fat for moisture. Generally I’m skeptical about fruit sauces, but Weslodge’s huckleberry version had an appropriate level of fruitiness to cut against beef’s richness without reminding me of a fruit salad. Yet, the most surprising part of the dish was the sunchokes - cut into wedges and roasted so well they were creamy and encapsulated in a lovely crispy caramelized crust.


The meal was delicious to the end. The apple tarte tatin incorporated a thick layer of thinly sliced apples, nice and soft with crunchy butter graham clusters for contrast. With the light Ontario cider sorbet on the side, the dessert was positively refreshing. If only the tarte was warmer, it would have been perfect.


Looking back at the evening, it was a great experience: the friendly banter, attentive service, and delectable food. It wasn’t always like this. My last visit to Weslodge, when it first opened, was a stark contrast – our group of six was crammed into a table for four, it took forever to get a cocktail (even longer for food), and the burger was just a step above Jack Astors (no offense Jack Astors). Oh, how the tumbleweeds turn for I’ll be back … and it’s not because of the hot cowboys.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10
Is Winterlicious worth it (based on my meal selection)?
Winterlicious - $38
Regular menu - $58 - trout ($18), beef ($30) and dessert ($10)
Savings - $20 or 34%
How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 480 King Street West


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Weslodge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (London)

Location: London, England
Address: 68 Royal Hospital Road
Website: http://www.gordonramsay.com/royalhospitalroad/
Type of Meal: Lunch



Since Hell’s Kitchen aired in 2005, I’ve wanted to eat at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants.  The show portrays a chef that’s committed to excellence with kitchens churning out traditional but delicious looking dishes.  Hence, during our visit to London, I knew I had to visit his namesake restaurant – Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.  It’s no easy feat to earn a Michelin star accolade, let alone receive three of them and hold the standing for over ten years (started in 2001). If there was ever a place to experience Mr. Ramsay, his Royal Hospital Road establishment would be it. Of course, with his busy celebrity life, he doesn’t actually cook there anymore; rather, he’s left Chef Clare Smyth in charge.  But, he must have some hand in designing the menu and this would be my chance to try his brilliance.


So, as quickly as I could, I signed up online for a reservation at this 45 seat restaurant months in advance. Although I wouldn’t have dreamt of missing the sitting, you’re required to provide them with a credit card to secure the spot and be charged a hefty fine if you don’t show up.

On the day of the meal, we show up 15 minutes early and found the door locked with several other patrons waiting outside.  For a restaurant that specifies we must be ready to be seated at the time of our reservation, it’s a bit strange that they wouldn’t open up a little earlier to let people in.  About five minutes from our reservation time, the door finally unlocks and we’re greeted warmly and whisked in the intimate dining room. 

The dining area is small with all the tables situated in a square room and fairly close together - to the point that the staff need to move tables for some guests to get in and out which is unexpected for fine dining.  The chairs were plush and cozy but I could only imagine if a heavier set person were to sit in them they may find it fairly snug.

Not long after being seated, the manager arrives asking our table who is hosting.  Finding this to be a strange question, we offered up my husband’s father nonetheless.  It wasn’t until reading other blogger experiences that I realized they only print prices in the host’s menu, with the thought of allowing the other guests to order without apprehension.  The manager also came by later to speak to us and brief us on a bit about the restaurant’s history and answer any questions we may have, a great personal touch.

Gordon Ramsay’s lunch menu offers two three-course options – a set lunch (£55) or an a la carte (£95).  The set lunch’s choices are more limited, but our waiter advised that we could mix and match as we wanted with a slight supplement if we ordered the set lunch and wanted to substitute with something off the a la carte. This freedom is certainly appreciated with one guest substituting his dessert (no extra charge) and another substituting the main for the truffle pasta special of the day (supplement of £35).  The extra charge for pasta may seem steep, but Gordon Ramsay did provide a generous portion of the white truffle, which arrived in a box and freshly shaved on top of the creamy linguine with mushrooms.  Although I didn’t try the dish, my mother-in-law noted that the pasta was great with the truffle blending deliciously into the decadent creamy sauce.

We were first offered a selection of breads so I selected the sourdough and bacon brioche which other reviewers seem to rave about. Honestly, it was pretty run-of-the-mill bread, for a delicious bread basket Scarpetta is by far still my favourite.

Our amuse for the day was a cold refreshing tomato consommé laced with delicate pieces of tomatoes, frozen nitrogen cream and little dots of dill oil. It was a simple but invigorating way to wake up the taste buds.

My husband and I ordered off of the different menus with me getting the lunch (£55) and him the a la carte (£95) to allow us the ability to compare.  Mine began with the tartlet of confit salmon. Upon its arrival, the dish looked anything but a tartlet with it being so big.  The crust was wonderfully delicate and crispy made from phyllo dough rather than pastry. Cool shavings of fennel lined the base adding a fresh salad to the dish.  Numerous pieces of perfectly poached salmon sat on top along with sweet grilled peppers, thinly slice radishes and a soft boiled quail egg. Dots of basil dressing decorated the dish and added further flavour to the lightly seasoned tart. This was my favourite dish from my menu and this easily can be offered as a standalone main at any of Gordon Ramsay’s other restaurants.

After such a flawless start the miso glazed cod was a bit of a let-down. Don’t get me wrong, all the individual ingredients were cooked perfectly – the fish flakey, squid tender, shitake mushrooms meaty and Shanghai bok choy crispy. Rather, the black quinoa and lapsang souchong broth were throwing me off.  I didn’t realize that black quinoa isn’t fluffy but rather harder, more granular and has a nutty flavour; in the end, resembling sesame seeds.  Somehow, I just didn’t like the grainy texture with the cod. Lapsang souchong is essentially a Chinese smoked black tea which in itself doesn’t have much flavour – in Chinese cooking it’s often mixed with soy sauce or other ingredients rather than being by itself.  The dish did have some miso with it, but I didn’t find it pronounce enough so the fish just seemed like it was sitting in a strong tea broth which was slightly bland.

On the other hand, my husband’s experience with his menu was the complete opposite. His appetizer of seafood ravioli certainly looked promising when it was presented - a single oversized plump ravioli sitting in a sorrel velouté and bisque sauce with a dollop of expensive oscietra caviar on top. The ravioli was wonderful with its thin pasta dough barely containing a hefty mixture of lobster, langoustine (aka prawns/shrimp) and salmon. But the sorrel sauce, a leafy herb, has an acquired taste and personally we found the acidic tang slightly off putting.  I know Michelin star chefs need to be inventive and use little known ingredients, but really, I would have much rather the ravioli just be paired with a simple cream sauce, maybe laced with some truffle oil.

But, his main of pig done five ways more than made up for the lackluster starter.  Distinct portions of each are laid out on a white plate with a simple jus connecting everything.  Starting from left to right was a roasted loin/chop? very tender and went well with the smooth, thick and caramel like apple sauce.  The cute cabbage roll was another traditional but tasty portion to the offerings.  Where the dish shone was suckling pig, so crispy yet light it can certainly stand up to the Chinese and Catalonian versions I’ve had in my life.  Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten much about the next style other than it having a squashed potato underneath it. Lastly, was a sausage which was plump and juicy having just a hint of spice (this also went well with the smashed potato).

Before dessert was brought out, we were treated to slim glasses of passion fruit milk shake to cleanse the palate. I especially enjoyed the glass straws sitting within the thick liquid.

My dessert, a take on the classic banana, peanut butter and chocolate mixture, was delicious.  Each part of the dish was unassuming but went well together and allowed you to mix and match the sweetness of the caramelized bananas with the paper thin dark chocolate sheets.  The middle log appeared to be a banana and vanilla ice cream rolled into a nutty toffee mixture.  Lastly, a scoop of rich peanut butter mousse rounds out everything having a slight saltiness to it.  

The apple tarte tatin my husband and father-in-law shared was much more impressive arriving table side still warm in the pan.  It’s cut in half and then placed onto a caramel drizzle decorated plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.  The flakey pastry was soaked with butter and sweet thin caramel with a generous portion of soft apples in the middle. This was my first taste of the dessert and I love this indulgent take on the apple tart / upside down cake.

Before we moved onto coffee, a silver dish was brought out and when the dome lifted truffles of white chocolate strawberry ice cream sat amongst billowing dry ice. The sweet in itself really isn’t anything spectacular – cold strawberry ice cream encased in a crisp white chocolate crust – but the presentation is certainly exhilarating.  Gordon Ramsay was nice enough to bring another dome just so the one guest who away from the table when the first was brought out could experience it for themselves.

Rosewater Turkish delights and chocolate truffle squares were the petit fours accompanying our coffee and tea. Since I was stuffed by this point, I only tried the Turkish delight which was delicate yet had such a powerful rosewater taste… it’s an acquired taste that I liked.  Thankfully, they weren’t too sugary and were a great last bite.

 

Visiting Restaurant Gordon Ramsay was one of the most anticipated parts of my trip. So much so that I planned this restaurant last so that its magnificence wouldn’t overshadow everything else we tried. Regrettably, I really didn’t need to worry about this happening; overall, Gordon Ramsay was good but really not as magical as I had built it up to be in my mind. But, at least a foodie dream has been satisfied! Although, if anyone can tell me how to get a reservation for the one of Hell’s Kitchen’s final episodes, I can be enticed to try Mr. Ramsay’s creations again.     

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Urbanspoon