Please critique our dinner itinerary
Husband and I will be in London for eight nights beginning of July. Have narrowed our choices down to the following:
Gordon Ramsey (RHR)
Please let me know your thoughts. Also, we chose Rasoi for a great Indian dinner. Would you say this is the best?
Many thanks, Chowhounder from Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
Take a look at the menu from Cafe Spice Namaste. We had a really good meal there last year. I loved the duck dish and will return for that. Personally, I'd replace either Rules or Wilton's with another choice as they are somewhat similar. Upscale Locanda Locatelli has very good Italian food or maybe Hedone?
I ate Vineet's food at his Zaika restaurant maybe 12+ years ago and it was very, very good. He was definitely in the vanguard of moving Indian food from the high street and improving quality, variety and flavours.
My guess is he is old news now so Rasoi is a bit overlooked by the food cognoscenti these days. It would be good to have reports.....although it is very expensive.
Had a dinner at Rules last autumn and it was quite ordinary but expensive. Desserts were great though. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922569
If you're only considering French/British cuisines, I would recommend checking out Seven Park Place (French, excellent classical cooking and great technique), or Trinity (modern British/European, with a well-priced wine list in the Chef's cellar section) or Toasted in East Dulwich (interesting wines, excellent European cooking in small plate format).
If you're interested in the plethora of other foods available here e.g. Persian, Lebanese, Malaysian, Sichuan, Dongbei, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Sicilian, pick a couple of cuisines (you can't try all the good places in 8 days), and will provide relevant suggestions.
Rasoi is great, but like a lot of Michelin restaurants there's a huge disparity in pricing between lunch and dinner. My advice would be to skip the latter and lunch there where you can get 4 courses (plus the usual Michelin fripperies and extras) for around £30. Trishna, another starred peer, or its brand new rave reviewed sister Gymkhana, come recommended and both do a similar deal that is even cheaper. And the tiffin lunch at Moti Mahal in Covent Garden is fantastic at approx £17; it's not starred but every bit as good and considered highly. Their 'make your own salad' at the start of the meal is worth the price of admission alone. Note, with the possible exception of Moti Mahal (it blurs the lines a bit), the above are fine dining examples of curry and are not 'traditional' in the sense of rice and a bowl of spiced, braised meat by the side. If you want that you may wish to consider the likes of Zing or Potli, both in Hammersmith or Veeraswamay in Piccadilly, which is absolutely beautiful inside.
Ledbury and RHR are both on the top of their game, Ramsey because Clare Smyth is arguably London's best female chef right now (he's never there these days). She's transformed the food there. However, I'd echo Zuriga's shout of Hedone, which is simply sensational. Sit at the counter over looking the kitchen and let them take care of you, Mikael Jonsson is perhaps the most passionate and knowledgeable foodie chef in the world (try and converse if he has the time) and serves the best sourced produce in the country. Don't miss scallops, beef or millefuille if they're on, the dessert's basically the same as Passard's version in L'Arpege. Amazing.
At the fine dining end I'm also a fan of Ducasse at The Dorchester. Avoid the tasting menus and plump for the 4 course a la carte, which at £105 is a relative bargain for a 3 star restaurant - note use of the word relative! Again sourcing is top drawer, there's luxury to be had in spades and the portion's are generous to say the least. Service positively purrs too.
It's not open yet, but will be by the time of your arrival, so I can happily suggest Simon Rogan of L'Enclume in Cumbria's arrival at Claridges. If you don't know L'Enclume Google it and all will become clear. The hype is very much justified. Booking now would be essential I expect!
Another scorching hot new opening from one of Britian's most cutting edge chefs that may not have hit your radar is Nuno Mendes at the Chiltern Firehouse. I've not been yet, but all are raving about it from critics to bloggers alike and I've eaten enough of the man's food to know he can cook the balls off anything.
Finally, Harwood is fab, but to break things up how about a short train ride out to Marlowe to the Hand & Flowers, Britian's only 2 star gastropub? A) Marlowe's worth a look as a quintessential British town in it's own right and makes for a lovely day, plus B) Tom Kerridge's food is worth the pilgrimage. It's a proper old pub too and when I say old I mean old, it's Tudor with all the low ceilings, exposed beams and wonky walls you'd expect and want. A delightful experience. Again, this one's booked months in advance so get on it if you do decide to add it to the itinerary.