Footballer turned faux-pas
I would expect a restaurant by Gordon Ramsay to be like a perfume by a celebrity. That is to say, my hopes for his endeavors aren’t optimistic. Still, the endless tedium of restaurants that form part of Ramsey’s Empire must be doing fabulous things for his bottom line. Whether or not they are as rewarding to his paying customers is a test to put to Bread Street Kitchen.
Unsurprisingly, the location of this restaurant is as unfeeling as I expect the food to be. It is situated in a brutal shopping mall (One New Change) whose hulking mass blots out the beauty of neighboring St Paul’s Cathedral. The inside of the restaurant is a yawning black hole, punctuated with the kind of exposed faux-pipework, vents and urban city bric-a-brac that ought to be sold in a flatpack entitled ‘same shit, different restaurant: the warehouse chapter’. Here then, underneath the façade of character is where we dine.
The second crime of the evening takes the shape of a felonious salad. A king crab cocktail is sold for the princely sum of £15, but has only a pauper’s share of fish which is left drowning in a swamp of mayonnaise and limp lettuce. Another salad of pear and endive at least spares us the feeling of being shortchanged, on the premise that there isn’t a high ticket item to root around for. Although mundane is perhaps a little cruel to describe something so innocuous, anything more positive might be a stretch.
Beetroot tart is more interesting than you might imagine, formed of deconstructed layers of crisp pastry, beet, goats curt and pine nuts. The most satisfying dish of the evening, however, is off a Josper grill. This cooking equipment allows items to be roasted tight against charcoal in a sealed barbeque set-up. The closed nature of this cooking method and lack of flames mean that the meat doesn’t dry up, and ensures high moisture retention. A poussin clearly benefits from this attention, and is juicy with its own moisture and that from a coating of reviving chimichurri.
Desserts are universally pleasing, a feeling that is long awaited and greeted like family when it finally shows up. Chocolate fondant is exactly how you would want it, molten and hot. Panna cotta has a scandalous wobble and a bright hit of vanilla to match.
Bread Street Kitchen is not as gauche as one might imagine, and there is satisfaction to be had in some of its elements. Prices are a resolutely immoral £55 per person.
Tube: Mansion House