The Ritz Restuarant
I’ve always wanted to visit the Ritz.
I summoned up the courage to enter this hallowed place a few weeks ago. I was apprehensive due to the smartly dressed doormen who looked like they knew how to deal with riff raff. I have personal experience of their skill as once, when I was passing by, I thought it would be nice to sneak a peak. I was refused entry on account of my shoes, as apparently I needed to return in something more becoming.
This is probably also because the Ritz is but a stone’s throw away from Buckingham Palace. Need to keep up appearances should Charles drop by I guess.
With such experience under my belt, the next time I arrived I came in jacket and tie. They then held the door open for me. So that is how I ended up in.
The entrance hall. Ornate and decadent.
To complete the picture of cultured luxury from days gone by, there was a harpist in the background to set the mood. This was complemented by the dress of the patrons. Fascinators, tails, and other objects of high society made me feel underdressed in jacket and tie. The is the first restaurant I’ve been to that required a tie. Better be worth the price of admission then.
Cream coloured – parmesan moose. Smooth, creamy cheese balanced on an oat biscuit. Excellent contrast as the fulsome taste of the creamy drop was complemented by earthy crunchy base.
Pink coloured – duck liver. Fulsome duck liver with a sweet kick. Sweet taste lingered and combined with umami, set off again with an oak cracker. Great.
Bread. Beautifully formed, crunchy exterior, soft inside. Decent although I would have preferred a bit of choice in the bread as when I finished scoffing this down, I was rewarded with exactly the same again.
Butter. Pre-warmed so easy to slice.
Native lobster, tomato and basil. Slightly overcooked, this lobster was a bit rubbery. Although on the taste front, the cream sauce and lobster was great. Too bad about the texture, as although the presentation got full marks with the different colours of different cuts of lobster, the texture made it fall on its face.
Tomato with jelly. As an accompaniment to the lobster, the jelly had an exquisitely clean flavour and contrasted with sweet tomatoes, so sweet that they almost tasted like a fruit, I was confused as to whether I was eating a savoury or sweet course. Stupendous.
Duck liver parfait. Crispy package on the outside. Fulsome inside. A delicious little snack.
Scallop and langoustine, edamame and mousse. I was worried when this came given what has just happened with the lobster. That concern was misplaced. The scallop was carefully cooked, just the right side of done so gently yielding to your knife. The langoustine was excellent, succulent but firm in a good way. Topped off with a creamy sauce, it was a delight. Although a little on the small side.
Beef Wellington. This was what we had come all this way for. With particular flair and presentation, the beef Wellington arrived.
Carved at your table after being presented like jewelry. It almost seemed like the Wellington was preening.
Then carved with a flourish. Note the foes gras in the middle to keep it moist and flavour the medium rare meat.
Expertly plated and delivered to the table.
Wrapped in truffle, mushroom and butter pastry with radish. Finished with a red wine sauce. The last time I ate a piece of beef this good was back when I lived in Japan, almost a decade ago. The melting foie gras, succulent beef, delicious casing and stupendous pastry set my heart a flutter. The sauce finished it off. Crispy, crunchy, meltingly soft, it ticked all the right boxes if my tongue could write. This was something special.
Hen of the wood. An inspired accompaniment to the wellington. Bursting with woody, meaty flavour, it could have been served as a main course by itself. Some bits were moist and bouncy. Others dry and crispy. In both guises, this was scrumptious.
Mashed potatoes. Smooth and fulsome. In a little egg like bowl, full marks for presentation. Although the other main course dishes stole the show.
Flowers. Not for eating. Expertly arranged and carefully presented.
Ritz chocolate souffle with vanilla chantilly. A perfect specimen. Never have I ever seen a souffle so perfectly formed. So that you don’t forget, there was plenty of Ritz branding on top.
With a bite taken. That bite was like biting into a cloud, it was so airy and light. That would have been a chocolate cloud given the cocoa depth of flavour. In that non substantive way that clouds are, this was something to eat again and again. Kind of like how you only realise somethings when you lose it. Such as the UK has been finding out over the last few years about competent politicians.
Raspberry tart, vanilla macaroon, chocolate bonbon. Raspberry tart with sharp fruit with great base. Vanilla macaroon with deep vanilla taste, this was the best macaroon I have ever had. Even better than Laduree and Pierre Hermes. The chocolate bonbon was exquisite too.
Strawberry sponge cake with white chocolate glazing. Slightly too heavy in the casing although the inside was light, airy and deliciously fruity.
An excellent meal. Yet what I will remember most of the wellington. I now have something else to replace my dreams of sushi. Overlooking Buckingham Palace, there is no better place to eat a meal fit for a king. Now this is probably why they have a strict dress code, you can’t have this as an everyday affair. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to fit through my own front door.
A quiet eating 9/10.
Lunch (3 courses) was GBP160 per person excluding drinks and service.
London W1J 9BR