Okay, okay, I know. It’s been ages since my last post. I have a couple of excuses lined up. First, I was on vacation for 8 days in London, England. Second, I spent Labor Day Weekend in Delaware at the beach. And on either end of those trips, I was in the Washington, D.C. area at my company’s office. Now, with that out of the way, I can proceed with a review of Gordon Ramsey’s Petrus. The restaurant is located in posh Knightsbridge (near the world-famous Harrods if that doesn’t ring a bell) with a clientele to match. The service however, and the food are both exactly what you would expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant.
For starters, when you walk in you are not only greeted by the friendly staff but also by a large circular glass wine tower, outfitted with hundreds of wines, nearly all outside my budget. The restaurant is small, though not cramped, and has room for sixteen tables. With ten cooks in the kitchen and at least ten more staff in the dining room, it’s more than one staff member per table.
With all the supposed high-rollers around us, we were the only table with a bottle of tap water on the table — London’s finest. There are two menu choices at dinner — a 3 course dinner or a 5 course chef’s tasting menu. They also offer a full vegetarian menu that can be used for the 3 course dinner. Each dish sounded amazing, so the choices were tough. Before we even ordered, we were brought a canape to start which included a mini fois gras sandwich and a fish croquette. Hard to dislike fois gras or anything fried and each were quite a nice start. Next we were served a watercress mousse with salmon tartar, horseradish sauce and thinly sliced potatoes (the Vegetarian’s mousse substituted pickled vegetables for the salmon). Whoever thought to make a mousse out of watercress was probably laughed at, but when you make it this good, it’s no laughing matter.
For our first course, I selected the pan-fried scallops with cauliflower, anchovy and caper beurre noisette. Often times a scallop dish will come with 2 or 3 scallops, but this dish had a whopping 5. Each were perfectly crispy, yet delicate on the inside. Between each scallop was a potato (I think) pancake of sorts. The dish contrasted the delicious scallops with the crispy cakes and was brought together with the tiny fresh anchovy and beurre noisette sauce. The Vegetarian ordered the English asparagus salad with quail eggs and hollandaise sauce — and topped with truffles, of course. As any true Michelin starred restaurant, each dish was sauced table side. The meal was off to a killer start.
The second course was a no-brainer for me — pork belly. The dish was a crispy Suffolk pork belly with sage Lyonnaise, braised apple and Madeira jus. The pork comes out as a pressed square with the crispiest crispy skin you’ll ever see. I’ve actually seen Ramsey make this on TV, and it involves cooking the pork twice and pressing it for hours before crisping the skin. I could eat this dish almost every day. The Vegetarian had wild mushroom linguine with spring onions, shaved parmesan and cep sauce — with the obligatory truffles. The pasta was so rich but not heavy, a magical balance.
Prior to our dessert courses (more on that soon), we were pressured (not really) into a cheese course. For the first time I tried a goat cheddar, something I didn’t know existed.
…Now dessert. First we received our regular dessert, a White chocolate cylinder filled with coffee and mascarpone ice cream for the Vegetarian and a Pistachio parfait with sour cherry carpaccio and elderflower cream for me. The coffee “mousse” cylinder was just over the top. My parfait was hardly traditional, but it was all gone after I was done with it, so it was great. After this regularly scheduled dessert we were brought a cone of passion fruit cream which was topped with what can only be described as “pop-rocks.” Yes, you heard me. Though I’m certain they were house made and that we were the only ones in the dining room that had ever had them let along heard of them.
Soon after this course, the manager kindly asked if we were interested in taking a tour of the kitchen and sitting in the lounge area to relax. I think it was mostly to turn our table over, but the way it was done was perfect. We toured the kitchen, watched them in action and then were treated like royalty in the lounge. We were given a little chest of chocolate, chocolate almonds, frozen ice cream on a stick and coffee. We sat, digested and relaxed. It was pretty splendid. After a nice relaxing espresso and more chocolate than I could eat, it was time to bid Petrus adieu. Upon leaving, the Vegetarian was presented a small box with a chocolate treat for later.
Overall, I was pretty blown away by the service, the food and the decor. A trifecta of awesomeness. Considering the level of service and quality of food, the prices were reasonable, though with the conversion rate to pounds, it’s a bit more expensive. Definitely not a cheap meal by any means, but as a celebration for our one-year anniversary, it was well worth it. If ever in London, it is well worth a visit, especially for the lunch 3 course menu du jour which is half the dinner price.