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Dec 2, 2008 02:00 AM

blowout lunch , best in london right now !

im looking for ideas for a big lunch , i know it helps if i give constraints , but in this case there are none . All style and cuisines considered , cost not a factor (for once).

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  1. l'Ambassade, Le Gavroche, River Cafe, Sketch, the Square

    9 Replies
    1. re: food.snob

      thanks food snob :
      i dont think id be too welcome at the ambassade after my 2 year old projectile vomited across the dining room a week last saturday at lunch , we left sharply whilst several of the staff (there was without doubt more staff than custies that day ) were desperately scrubbing the floor . They were thoroughly lovely about it , the service was second to none .
      Was extremely underwhelmed by le gavroche , although i had incredibly high expectations , merely found it good .
      i do like the square but went recently for lunch .
      Sketch is opulent and a beatuiful room but the food doesnt quite live up to the surroundings .
      I want to go to the river cafe , it sounds great , but its just a little too west for my lunch partner (so there is a constraint afterall , apologies .
      have you been to helene darroze , i dont see it on your website ?
      anybody else for that matter with their idea ?

      1. re: millema's on the list.
        A friend went recently, he quite liked it and he has good judgement.
        Plus, Raymond Blanc had his bday there a couple of weeks ago...he ought to be able to pick a decent resto, n'est-ce pas?

        I think it would be good.

        Have you eaten at Sketch?

        1. re: food.snob

          i have eaten at sketch , but must admit it was quite a while ago .
          Incidentally i did go with your recommendation, Aaya ,the other week - both my wife , daughter and i thought it was great . Nice corner table to trap our daughter in , though she enjoyed the food so much it was never a problem kepping her entertained . It undoubtedly compared with zuma , nobu , roka etc on the food front , maybe a little under umu , but hey , when you compare pricing it is significantly better value than all of them , especially with the incredible 50 % off the a la carte . We effectively ate everything they had , wouldve even given you a run for your money , and the bill was £80 , terriffic ! taking the family again this sat lunch .

          1. re: millema

            Glad you enjoyed that.

            Sketch can be pretty amazing, if you pick the right time to go...

            1. re: food.snob

              i certainly enjoyed the EXPERIENCE , but the food was way behind the other components of the lunch , and that just wont work for me !

              1. re: food.snob

                Yes, would recommend that you make a return trip - Ducasse London must be pretty new when you first went a year ago. BTW, I was at his other restaurants in Paris, Monte Carlo and New York. This London one is right up there with the others, which was why I was a bit puzzled when I couldn't find any write-ups in the Chowhound UK board on it.

                1. re: klyeoh

                  That is some commendation indeed!
                  It wasn't brand new, but quite so, I think. Maybe it had yet to find its feet.
                  One criticism was the prices...they probably deterred a lot of people.

                  What were the best dishes?


                  1. re: food.snob

                    Not sure if what we had were the best the restaurant had to offer, but here're what we ordered:

                    - Soft-boiled organic egg, crayfish and cep mushrooms, Nantua sauce. Ducasse's version knocked L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon's L'Oeuf Frit aux Mendiants et Petite Salade (which I had a couple of days earlier) for dead;
                    - Roasted chicken & lobster, sweetbread & creamy jus. This dish was absolutely divine - order this in your next visit!!

                    - Baked sea bass, razor clams, parsley shellfish jus. It was delicately balanced & absolutely enjoyable;
                    - fillet of beef and seared foie gras Rossini. The Ducasse folks proved beyond doubt that they can re-produce a classic perfectly. In this sense, I'd rate Ducasse London way above Ducasse New York, with its brazen pretensions on fusion-American or whatever. But come to think of it, my less-than-stellar experience at Ducasse NY is more than a year back, probably the time you had your Ducasse London let-down. So perhaps a repeat visit to Ducasse NY is overdue for me.

                    - we both ordered their famed Baba au rhum de votre choix, comme a Monte Carlo. It was absolutely perfect!

      2. re: food.snob

        I had lunch at Alain Ducasse, the Dorchester, last Thu. It's one of the best meals I've had in a long while. Recent comparisons were my meals at 2-Michelin star restaurants: Michael Mina, Masa's and Chez Panisse in San Francisco. But Alain Ducasse simply blew them away - the food, the service, were stupendous.

      3. Another rec: L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Some pics of what I had there.

        3 Replies
        1. re: klyeoh

          I have heard a lot of good things about l'Atelier too.

          Is that first photo there go at 'oeuf coque sans coque'?

          1. re: food.snob

            No, it's the L'Oeuf Frit (deep-fried hen's egg with dried fruits, pine kernel & salad). I rather enjoyed their entree Le Parmentier (Confit leg of duck with parmesan-grated mash), pic below.