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May 22, 2014 01:05 PM

the Dorchester or Le Gavroche?

i have 1 night last night in london....which one should provide the more epic experience for dinner?


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  1. I have been to neither, but if it were me I would love to try Gavroche as it's old school, and one of londons grand dame restaurants.

    Ducasse is mean to be very strong, after all it has three stars, but for some reason it feels more international and less London.

    An emotional response rather than an objective view of the food I am afraid.

    1. I loved Ducasse, but am giving the Dorchester a miss until the Sultan of Brunei changes his stance:

      2 Replies
        1. re: zuriga1

          Also, unrelated, but added ammo, the way they treat their waitstaff is awful and a health and safety nightmare. I know far too many people who have worked in their kitchens coming back with horror stories.

          Saying that not sure what it is like in the actual restaurant itself, the staff I have spoken to are mainly catering, tea etc.

      1. I'd go Le Gavroche - more traditional but a London institution whereas Ducasse is just an outpost of the empire which is very good, just not especially exciting. I'm also inclined to agree with Klyeoh but that's a personal decision.

        1. im already eating in Ledbury, Fera, Cinnamon club, and Gordon im leaning towards Le Gavroche too.

          The next day..we will be headed to paris for more dinners..

          27 Replies
          1. re: erickp

            Personally, I don't know why you'd want a French meal when you are heading for Paris. Why not search out something different.. maybe The Square or Hedone?

            1. re: zuriga1

              i thought Hedone is French too? Square menu looks very French too....both square and Hedone are great too....but i want to try Le Gavroche or Dorchester.

              1. re: erickp

                Fair enough. For me, Hedone just seemed, 'Modern European,' and not particularly French. I think I'd go with Le Gavroche.. particularly because of what's being said about the Dorchester group's policies.

                1. re: erickp

                  I would say French generally means "classic French" rather than simply French inspired. Both The Square and Hedone are modern menus, the roots of the style of cooking are classic French, but they are a long long way from this now. Lots of modern British cooking techniques and ideas that give British cuisine is character and standing.

                  Paris is also evolving and some of the more modern places are looking to London, Spain etc for inspiration so like restaurants in many countries we see a homogenisation of food styles.

                  The Dorchester is Ducasse so will be refined, quite classic but with some twists. Gavroche is slightly more rooted in tradition. In both their French roots should be obvious.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    oh...I DO like Modern twist....hmmm. Man, I wish I had more days in many good places. I had to do cinnamon club since I don't have a single indian dinner, and I don't think its a good idea to eat indian for lunch then an epic dinner at night. Indian is too filling. Im most likely gonna just have a super light lunch to prepare for dinner. I would love to replace cinnamon club with Hedone or Square...but then all my dinners will be too similar already...and again, no indian.

                    I already have a reservation at the le Gavroche since its pretty hard to get into at this point. I basically took the last spot of that night.
                    oh well...maybe next time, I will try Hedone and Square. If I had more days...I'd also like to venture out to see fat duck.

                    1. re: erickp

                      Where are you eating in Paris out of interest? Might make quite a difference to which we would recommend.

                      Have to say I wouldn't bother with Le Gavroche or Ducasse if I was heading to Paris straight after - completely echo what Phil says about the Square and Hedone.

                      1. re: ManInTransit

                        These are the places I already have dinner booked. (based on location/timing/availability for that day... in order)
                        1) Le Kitchen Gallerie (paris)
                        2) joel Robuchon atelier (paris)
                        3) L'Orange du Chateau (Blois)
                        4) Chez l'ami Jean (paris)
                        5) Fogon (paris)
                        6) jules Vernes (paris)
                        7) Le Cinq (paris)
                        8) Maison Tirel-Guerin (near St Malo)
                        9)Cap horn restaurant (st Malo)
                        10) Christophe Queant (burgundy)
                        11) Ma Cuisine (burgundy)
                        12) L'oustea de Baumaniere (provence)
                        13) Crhistian Etienne (Avignon)
                        14) L'atelier Jean-luc rabanel

                        1. re: erickp

                          What a great list - very envious of your trip.

                          It's only personal but given you're trying Ducasse's food as the Jules Verne and then classic French at Le Cinq and elsewhere I probably wouldn't go with Le Gavroche or the Dorchester.

                          I do think Hedone would be a better choice (although note the service issues mentioned elsewhere on the board).

                          Or what about one of the new wave places such as Dabbous, Story or the Clove Club. Different to your other choices and different to what you'll get in Paris.

                          Goes without saying if you can get out to the Fat Duck that would be a great choice.

                          Or if you are happy for a day trip out of London you can't do better than the Sportsman in Kent.

                        2. re: ManInTransit

                          so, Le Gavroche and Ducasse are too conservative and traditional? vs hedone and square are more modern/English influenced?

                          hedone and square are both available that night and are relatively easy to get into. I just have to cancel my Le Gavroche reservation which is already the last slot that night...and Ducasse is available but only 1 slot left as well as of last week. (might be gone already)

                          Just my impression, I just felt Le gavroche would be more impressive in terms of food/ambience/number of courses for my last night in London.

                          1. re: erickp

                            Well Le Gavroche is just intensely French and if you want beautiful souffles, millefeuille, Cote de Veau all cooked in classically French style then you can wait and have it in Paris - it's not to say they're too traditional but just that they are both French-run very French restaurants. Ducasse is slightly more modern but just looks very similar to many of the other Ducasse restaurants around the world - there's nothing particularly 'London' about it.

                            I would definitely swap in one of Hedone and the Square. Hedone is more of a differential in that it involves whole dishes built around a single ingredient which will be the absolute best form of that ingredient obtainable. It's a bit stiff service wise but very interesting food and the liquid parmesan ravioli dish is one of London's best.

                            The Square is classically influenced but over the years has evolved into a very British restaurant so won't be quite as similar to what you get in Paris.

                            1. re: ManInTransit

                              i'll check out Hedone definitely looks interesting...what is carte blanche in the menu? any one had it? is that basically like omekase where he just gives you everything until you're stuffed?

                              i do like these restaurants, i actually switched my Guy Savoy reservation for chef l'ami jean....which is why i am beginning to see your point about switching le Gavroche with Hedone.

                              1. re: erickp

                                Carte Blanche is basically just a surprise 10-ish course tasting menu - not limitless food but there's a lot of it.

                                1. re: ManInTransit

                         guys convinced me to switch to hedone! I'm keeping my reservations at le Gavroche and will just cancel a day or 2 before...just in case someone sways me back. hehe

                                  1. re: erickp

                                    You won't be sorry. Hedone has delicious food, and it's a casual setting. The bread is superb.

                                    1. re: zuriga1

                                      square looks amazing too....but i think its gonna be hard to switch up anything else at this point. The line up looks pretty solid.

                              2. re: ManInTransit

                                MT offers some great advice. Given your France choices I would be heading to London restaurants which show off British food. Some would say Paris is trying to catch London rather the other way around at the moment with London pushing the boundaries and Paris trying to move forward.

                                That said your French list is pretty staid with some old faves rather than capturing much that is current or pushing boundaries. It feels more like a "Foders" list rather than CH. Is this what you prefer if not maybe test it in the French board?

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  this is my first time to both, I feel like I need to try the established favorites in their home country and mix in some popular new places.
                                  what would be your take on my schedule if you had to change the list? Most of those places I actually got from CH recommendations and some French friends. (but its always relative to how updated they are or what their preference is or how serious a foodie they are...)

                                  1. re: erickp

                                    I think Robuchon, Le Cinq and Jules Verne are too similar - go for one not all three. Replace two with some of the newer tables (see France board).

                                    Fogon is interesting, its OK Spanish in Paris in my book Goust is better (Spanish chef not a Spanish restaurant).

                                    Ze Kitchen Gallerie spits the house but I have not been recently - its a touch spartan and in a niche demographic. You have some pretty grand tables in country France so you can afford to mix Paris up a bit.

                                    1. re: PhilD

                                      I thought robuchon Atellier was suppose to be less traditional and more modern? ive been to robuchon in las vegas which got 3 mich stars...but im not sure that was his best branch.
                                      Le Cinq- from the French board CH seems to like this place.
                                      JV- we are visiting the Eiffel tower, so it was a convenient lunch place.
                                      Fogon and Ze kitchen Gallerie - because it was close to the hotel I am staying at and Fogon is one of the restaurants open on sunday. Ze kitchen Gallerie is literally next to my hotel and that's the day I, its an easy place to eat without trying to figure out the vicinity.

                                      1. re: erickp

                                        We went to Ze Kitchen a few years ago, and I didn't like it at all, but I'm just one opinion. If it's convenient to your hotel and your travel day, it's probably a decent choice.

                                        I have never had a bad meal in Paris and have been there umpteen times. Even the small, out of the way places on back streets are usually wonderful. The French board here should be of great help.

                                        1. re: erickp

                                          Maybe beter to discuss on the France board?

                            2. re: erickp

                              Oh and I don't want to put yet another spanner in your works but if you really are looking for the best food then I'd go for any of Trishna, Gymkhana or Quilon ahead of the Cinnamon Club. Cinnamon Club has a great room but the food isn't as good as the others and it's quite expensive for what it is.

                              1. re: ManInTransit

                                AAAARRRGGHHH!!! I think the restaurants already know my by name if I make another reservation change. hahaha.... I probably switched from 3 different indian restaurants now, because of 3 different English friends...the final one who is Indian in ethnicity but was born in England recommended Cinnamon Club. Now I can 3 more names! man...this is the problem with these just gotta try out everything and have your own opinion.
                                what i want to try as far as indian food is not the traditional style...but a more playful or modern take with a big tasting menu. Showing more creativity in execution and cool plating designs.

                                1. re: erickp

                                  I am probably one of the few people here that liked Cinnamon Club. The food is modern and the setting is beautiful and unlike almost anywhere else I've eaten here or in the States.

                                  1. re: zuriga1

                                    I liked Cinnamon Club but that was many years ago, and it was fairly unique then. It's no longer on my London list but Trishna or Gymkhana are musts to try next visit.

                                    Erick, I wonder if your Indian friend is up to date on London Indian food?

                                    1. re: PhilD

                                      Trishna and Gymkhana are on my list, too. I would go back to Cafe Spice Namaste for their duck dish alone. It was fantastic. Our local Indian has always been superb, but we ate there last week and it wasn't good at all - must be new chef. We'll have to find another spot nearby.

                                      1. re: PhilD

                                        the last time my Indian friend was there was about a year ago, and he stayed for a year.

                                        Trishna looks really amazing.