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Singapore: Bistro Du Vin

12 Jun

I was looking for a French place for an early Father’s Day celebration and decided on Bistro Du Vin at Shaw Centre (Orchard). I’ve never tried it earlier despite the Les Amis Group brand name as the decor was a bit try-too-hard-to-be-authentically-French for my liking (though I actually do like the decor…yes I’m weird like that), but I finally decided on doing so after reading a few good online reviews.

As mentioned, it looks exactly like a Parisian bistro that was transplanted all the way to Singapore. No detail was spared in recreating an authentic look and mood. For a moment, I really thought I was in the dreamy City of Lights with strains of La Vie en Rose playing in the background.

The menu here is classical French bistro fare. They do a very reasonably priced 3 course set lunch at $30++ although quite a few options come at an additional fee.

To start, we were served a lovely French loaf with a thin crust and very fluffy insides. Ice water was offered (and repeatedly refilled throughout the course of the lunch), there is none of that sparkling or still snootiness here. I’m impressed.

For appetisers, my mum had the green asparagus with escargots and Hollandaise sauce (+$3) which was delicious. I loved every element of this, and their Hollandaise sauce was very good. If you haven’t had asparagus with Hollandaise, try it! It goes really well with the sauce, along with salmon and poached eggs.

The salted cod brandade with toast, soft boiled egg, Espelette hollandaise (+$3) was also another good dish, although I personally felt the portion was a little too big for an appetiser. The cod tasted fresh and not fishy or overly salty, and the sweetish yolk of the perfect soft boiled egg provided a good complement to it. The Hollandaise here had the addition of Espelette, a French red pepper that gave it a little piquant kick.

To balance the richer dishes, we also had the tomato soup with garlic croutons which tasted like it was made from scratch (sour alert!) and was the ultimate comfort food.

For my main, I chose the baked Norwegian salmon and prawns with champagne butter sauce because I wanted something light. It came in a such a generous portion I probably would have been contented with half. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the sauce was very moreish, not too rich with a heavy dash of citrus. The bonus roasted prawns were also really huge and crunchy. Yums!

My mum had the duck leg confit, brussel sprouts and mustard sauce (+$4) which I felt wasn’t as good compared to the one in restaurants such as Skyve and Pamplemousse. The skin could have been crispier (only some bits were very crispy) and the meat much more juicy. Though I appreciated the wholegrain mustard sauce, I preferred if it was in a separate sauce bowl for dipping or pouring so it won’t make the skin soggy. Props on boldly serving brussel sprouts as a side though, this rarely seen in Singapore vegetable is an acquired taste but I do like it!

My dad’s roasted spring chicken, sauteed mushrooms, bacon and garlic was very well marinated and moist (even the breast meat). It was such a huge portion at half a huge chicken too. He commented that the bacon wasn’t crispy but I’m not sure why it was even here. It could have been taken off the plate and it would make no difference to the dish to me.

For dessert, I had the apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream (+$3). Their version had slices of tart green apples laid on top of a wafer thin filo pastry. While it was crispy, I much prefer the version at Ember that had a lovely crumbly crust and a juicy apple filling. Perhaps I should have gone for the banana crumble with chocolate ice cream or the cheese plate instead.

My dad’s gratinated pineapple with champagne sabayon and coconut sorbet actually tasted much better than I expected. The warm pineapple was very juicy and had slightly charred top. Thoroughly refreshing. When paired with a light champagne sabayon and a coconut sorbet, this dessert simply screams beach holiday in the tropics! I only wished the coconut was lighter in taste and mouth feel – more towards coconut juice/pulp and less of coconut milk.

My mum’s creme brulee was also one of the best renditions I’ve tasted. Crispy caramelised top – check, smooth custard generously studded with vanilla beans – check, not too sweet – check.

Tea or coffee was also included in the set lunch and I was pleased to find out that they serve Clipper Tea, a British tea brand involved in fair trade that I’m partial to. Service wise, the front of house team at Bistro Du Vin was faultless – very efficient, warm and attentive.

While there were some hits, I thought the food was not bad, but not great (I can think of restaurants that serve a better duck confit, a better apple pie etc). But overall its charming setting, great service, hearty portions and reasonable prices are big pluses. The set lunch offers quite a few options and it’s relatively quiet during lunch, so you’ll get some privacy if you’re having a business lunch.

Price: $$-$$$
Location: #02-12 Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, S (228208). There’s a second branch at Zion Road.
Tel: +65 6733 7763
Opening Hours: Daily 12 to 2pm, 6 to 10pm

Singapore: Les Bouchons

6 Jun

Let me tell you about my favourite steak place in Singapore. I like my steak done French style, so accompanied with frites (fries) that have been preferably twice fried in duck fat. In my humble opinion, Les Bouchons on Ann Siang Road serves some of the best steaks in Singapore at reasonable prices, unlike many other popular steak houses in Singapore that cost an arm and a leg. I first dined here a few years ago, and so far it still ranks as my favourite place to satisfy a steak craving.

The setting is quite intimate as it’s a very small venue (not more than 30), and mostly packed with expats/French-speaking expats. The menu here is very short, since steak is the order of the day anyway. Wine prices here are really reasonable so a bottle of red to share (no pictures) is mandatory. I usually get a Bordeaux, or if we want something easy drinking, a Beaujolais Noveau. For non beef eaters who are there accompanying their friends, Les Bouchons has options like lamb, salmon and sausages so no fear there.

Reminiscent of some casual bistros in Paris, a basket of warm bread rolls with packets of butter are placed on our table upon our arrival. I know people can’t help eating the bread as it tastes better than it looks but I usually control since I don’t have the biggest stomach space.

With each main ordered, we each get a garden salad with chopped walnuts and the most tangy citrus vinaigrette dressing that really gets your appetite going.

I always order the Burgundy escargots with garlic butter because I can never pass up ordering escargots. Unlike other restaurants, these don’t come served in shells or the classic escargot dish so it’s not the most appetising in terms of looks. The sauce for the escargots is quite heavy on parsley, and I thought could do with more garlic and salt. So this may not be for everyone but I do like the very herbaceous taste and tender, unrubbery texture of the escargots.

My go to main, is always the grilled rib eye steak with “Vigneron” butter, served with free flow of homemade French fries. The rib eye here is superb – it’s marbled but not too fatty, has a slightly charred flavour, and always served in my requested medium rare the way it should be. The savoury garlic herb butter on the top always melts into the piping hot steak and further enhances the buttery flavours the rib eye. And don’t you forget about the fries…the fries here, are something special. It’s crispy but moist and fluffy on the inside, and from the looks of it probably twice fried.

I always look forward to the accompanying sauce plate consisting of horseradish, wholegrain mustard, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and Bearnaise sauce to dunk my fries into. I love mustard and mayonnaise so this totally agrees with me.

Les Bouchons is a small place, so make reservations early. They have another branch at Robertson Quay called Les Bouchons Rive Gauche but I prefer the Ann Siang branch. There is another popular French steak place not too far away from Les Bouchons (that shall not be named) and I’ve tried it too but I think it can’t compare in terms of the quality and flavour of the meat. Good sauce and nice place though. Even friends that I’ve recommended Les Bouchons who have tried the other place agree with me.

Price: $$-$$$
Location: 7 Ann Siang Road, S (069689)
Tel: +65 6423 0737

Hangzhou: Provence Restaurant

10 Mar

We were looking for a nice non-Chinese restaurant in Hangzhou to celebrate our wedding anniversary and luckily for us, we stayed a short walk away from Baishaquan, an enclave with a small array of international restaurants and bars. We stopped by Provence, a Mediterranean French restaurant housed in a two story bungalow for a late lunch. I reckon this place will look lovely in Spring.

The basic menu had all the classic French dishes including crepes, quiches and some pastas; and the wine list was quite comprehensive.

In addition to the basic menu, they also had daily specials on a chalkboard. I was pleasantly surprised when the waitress brought this out as it felt quite authentic and assuaged my fears that having a non-Chinese meal in Hangzhou would not be a mistake.

A basket of complimentary of warm soft loaf bread with garlic herb butter and tapenade was served. Well, the tapenade was actually missing some ingredients as it was just blended olives and olive oil but at least they tried. I lapped up the delicious butter spread in no time.

I had a glass of Australian Chenin Blanc while the husband, a glass of Bordeaux. Both were very good and exceeded our expectations.

The dozen escargots with herbs was served sizzling hot and unusually overflowing with olive oil. While the taste of the escargots were surprisingly good – very tender and had a nice natural grassy flavour – and the portion was generous, the marinade was lacking in garlic, salt and herbs and they could have used less oil. On another note, I have not seen such a huge escargot dish before.

For our mains, I had the pork fillet with mustard caper sauce. The meat was quite tender and the sauce actually quite nice and tart, but there was way too much pork (like 4 pieces) and not enough sauce to go around.

The husband had the duck confit with onion red wine sauce which was decent too, but I wished the sauce was on the side so I could have the skin crispy. I never had duck confit served with sauce over it before, as I thought they usually put it on the side for you to dip so that you can still savour the crispy skin.

Unfortunately we were so stuffed that we didn’t have space for dessert. While I wouldn’t say it’s a must eat in Hangzhou if you’re a tourist (save your space for Hangbang Cai!), it was pretty decent for China. So you know where to go if you’re craving for French or a nice meal out in Hangzhou.

Price: $$ (~500RMB for 2 including 2 glasses of wine)
Location: 1 Baishaquan, Shuguang Road, Hangzhou 310007, China (5 mins walk from Tea Boutique Hotel)
Tel: +86 571 8797 6115

Shanghai: Mr & Mrs Bund

24 Nov

The search for my birthday meal in Shanghai began 3 weeks before our trip. I was looking for a restaurant with memorable food, a fun atmosphere and a good view. Mr & Mrs Bund, a modern French eatery by Chef Paul Pairet which is located in the Bund 18 building, seemed to fit the bill. Although several online reviewers slammed the restaurant’s expensive bottled water, poor service, pretentiousness and overrated food, there were even more reviews that raved about it. Hence I decided that I would have to try to determine for myself.

The entrance to the restaurant is discreet. Ring the doorbell to be let in – seems like we will be in for a surprise!

Since I made the reservation really early, we got a seat by the window which got us a view of the bund. +10. However I wasn’t a fan of the iron railings that ruined our view (it’s a safety requirement though if I’m not wrong). -5. And the lighting in that area was very, very dim compared to the rest of the restaurant – hence this is going to be a post with super iphone grainy pictures since I didn’t want to use flash on my camera. -10. Bummer! :(

Mood wise, the restaurant was buzzing, stylish and very “see and be seen”. It’s a huge place and felt like a secret dining hall that had a whimsical Alice In Wonderland-ish theme. Service staff rushed around in black vests and red Converse sneakers. Crowd wise, there were many groups that seemed to be celebrating some occasion or another, many wealthy looking expats (this is Shanghai after all) and the occasional curious tourist (like us). Food here is actually served communal style (a nod to Chinese cuisine I suppose) and encourages sharing, but there were also single portions of many dishes available on the menu.

Now on to the food. Complimentary bread – sourdough and something else (very pointy tips). Interesting how the sourdough was so “griddled”. Cripsy crust and warm, but not great.

Complimentary amuse bouche of tuna mousse with crostinis – Cleverly served out of a tin can, the tuna mousse was airy-fairy light and was so moreish that I had to stop myself from licking that tin clean. The crostinis were super crispy.

We ordered mostly from the rookie menu which is I suppose a sample of the restaurant’s best/most popular dishes. It’s necessary to have one since the full menu is almost as thick as a textbook. First appetiser was the foie gras light crumble (80 RMB) which was a foie gras mousse with hazelnut and raisins. They seem to have a penchant for mousses and this was very cleverly executed – since I usually find foie gras terrines too rich, but when done in a mousse it was just nice. The sweet fruity and nutty toppings, plus the side green apple slices complemented the foie gras very well. I was disappointed by the bread though, since it was the same as the one in our basket but was quite burnt so we asked for a replacement since it was too bitter to stomach. A brioche or something in smaller slices would be more ideal.

Definitely tastes better than it looks.

Second appetiser was house smoked salmon seasoned at the table (125 RMB). I love smoked salmon and was excited since I’ve never tried a house smoked one before. This one smelt of fruit wood and had a tinge of sweetness, and not salty at all like the pre-packet ones.

It was served with seven toppings, including horseradish ice cream, sour cream and dill, egg, pickled onions and capers. My favourite one was the horseradish ice cream had a very intense flavour. We had fun pairing our salmon with the different toppings to see what went well.

My main was the double teriyaki pork rib (150 RMB) with orange reduction and garlic chip. It was surprisingly a huge portion and had those nice slightly burnt edges. The meat was cooked just right and the terikyaki glaze wasn’t too sweet, which I appreciated since I normally steer clear of anything teriyaki because of that. And if you’re wondering, the garlic chip was basically roasted garlic skin that became crispy.

The hubs had duck confit with truffle jus, potato puree and salad (either 150 or 180 RMB??). The duck confit didn’t disappoint, though I’ve had better in Singapore. After we poured the truffle jus over, the skin got a bit soggy which was a pity. Maybe we should have just dipped it in the sauce instead.

The salad had a very refreshing vinaigrette that balanced the richness of the duck.

I was very excited by our dessert, since partially why I chose Mr & Mrs Bund was to try its famous and mind boggling candied lemon with lemon tart (100 RMB). It’s basically a hollowed out candied lemon filled with lemon sorbet, lemon curd, vanilla chantilly – I seriously don’t know how they do it since you can’t see any holes or how they sealed it up – and served with a buttery lemon sable fry.

I love lemon desserts so needless to say, I loved this. Lemon in its many forms and textures = yums! The pink part is actually grapefruit, which I thought was was a clever touch since a wedge of lemon would have been too sour. I could have definitely eaten one by myself. Some tables split it four ways or more but I think you can only share this between two people max otherwise you won’t be able to taste the different components.

I wanted to try another strawberries with cola dessert on the main menu but by then we were seriously on the verge of puking and had to call it a day. We had also ordered wine by the glass (they have quite a big selection) and I had a NZ Sauvignon Blanc (grassy and buttery) while the hubs had a Bordeaux (berry with long finish) which were both very, very good and went well with our choice of mains.

Service was a huge letdown though, as wait staff were very slow with taking our orders and this particular head waiter in our area (he sports a high ponytail and an extremely sullen look) was very rude and even threw our menu down on the table in front of me when he was clearing our plates. I certainly did not expect such level of service at a bund restaurant and at this price point. And though we specified it was a birthday occasion, they didn’t pull out any surprise or complimentary dessert for us which was a bit disappointing (maybe it’s not a China thing – though we did see another table get it but am not sure about the origins). But other than that, food, wine and atmosphere were quite good (I wouldn’t say awesome though, maybe except the wines) and I would definitely come back again perhaps for supper (since they close at 4am on weekends) or in a bigger group to try more things on the menu.

Price: $$$
Location: Bund 18, 6F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu (near Nanjing Dong Lu)

Shanghai: La Creperie

18 Nov

Post awesome dinner at Goga, we rolled over to La Creperie (which was literally 50m away) for dessert. It was delicious enough that we went back a second time on our trip to try the savoury items as well. Having just visited Brittany a few months ago, I felt that the place looked and felt quite authentic with tonnes of stacked cider bottles, wait staff clad in the ubiquitous Breton-style striped shirts, sizable number of French diners and a friendly French man at the helm (could be the owner). For the savoury items you get them in galettes (buckwheat crepes) which are thinner and crispier but has a slightly more “wheaty” taste (unless you specify otherwise), while the sweet items are the usual familiar crepes. It was almost full on both nights and quite a relaxing place to just chill over dessert and drinks. The place is really dark though so apologies for the grainy photos.

The area with high bar tables and stools

Cute lighthouse salt and pepper shakers

I had to try the Breton cider (35 RMB) that came in a huge cup (that looked more like a bowl). I got the sweet one but it also comes in dry. Delish! Just want I needed after a huge meal to aid digestion :)

They also served homemade lemonade (35 RMB) which was ok, the husband liked it a lot. But to be honest I would rather get imported and authentic cider from Brittany for the same price :)

La Marin (scallops, parsley, creme, white wine, slice bacon, mixed mushrooms) (108 RMB) – This came recommended on the menu and the galette was served crispy, yay! However it was incredibly rich (there was a lot of topping) that I had a bit of trouble finishing it. The scallops were very plump and well seared.

La Bigoudene (ham, emmenthal cheese, sunny side egg, salad + choice of 1 vege)  (62 RMB) – The husband chose spinach for the veggie (out of mushroom, tomato, spinach, onion, potato). I actually liked this more as I’m always a sucker for a runny sunny side egg to spread on my galette. This felt like a wholesome meal with the veggies and the ham and emmenthal were very delicious! Like the previous galette, this was also served cripsy.

La Defi (homemade caramel ice cream, cooked banana, salted caramel) (60 RMB) This is sorta “the dessert” to order at La Creperie, and it was voted top 10 desserts in Shanghai by Cityweekend. Not that I needed an accolade to influence my choice since the word caramel appeared twice. You can never go wrong caramel and banana on a crepe and I appreciated that the ice cream was home made and in caramel flavour (instead of the boring vanilla). Loved the caramelised banana though I wished there was MUCH MORE of it. Very generous with the salted caramel topping though :) Pretty delicious!

La Barometre (Stewed apple, salted caramel) (48 RMB) – My next favourite dessert pairing after banana and caramel would be apple and er, caramel so this was a natural second choice…also good but much lighter and less sweet. There was also another variation with caramelised apple instead. If you only had one choice for dessert, get La Defi though :)

For a proper meal you would probably need to order a savoury and a sweet crepe, unless you’re a small eater. The galettes are very thin by themselves. Though it wasn’t as amazing as the crepes I had in Brittany (naturally!), I did enjoy the crepes at La Creperie and it’s probably one of the best places to get authentic Breton crepes in Asia. I love my crepes so was very pleased with this find.

Location: 1 Taojiang Lu (near Dongping Lu)
Price: $-$$

Shanghai: Jean Georges

3 Nov

Since I met Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Formula 1 Paddock Club in Singapore last year, I have been a huge fangirl of his as I was genuinely touched by how personable and humble he was. If you’re not aware, Chef Jean-Georges is a successful chef and restauranteur based in NYC that invented his own unique brand of Fusion French-Asian cuisine that makes use of light sauces, broths and oils instead of the traditional heavy French ingredients; and he now owns an empire of restaurants around the world. At F1 I managed to sample his signature dishes in tasting plates format which were pretty delicious by event catering standards, and I was looking forward to finally eating at one of his restaurants. So it was natural that we treated ourselves to Jean Georges at Three On The Bund for a nice lunch while we were in Shanghai.

We had window seats but unfortunately it was super foggy that day. Anyway the dining room has a very elegant old-world Manhatten feel, don’t you think?

The adjacent Nougatine, its more casual sibling.

Complimentary bread – Served hot, thankfully. My raisin and nut bread was sweet and I definitely could have eaten more. The bread roll was crispy and fluffy on the inside. Good bread course.

Foie Gras Brûlé, Dried Sour Cherries and Candied Pistachio – This was good. The foie gras had a crispy top just like in creme brûlé and was set on top of a toasted brioche and white port wine gelée. I’m not a fan of cherries (because of maraschino cherries) but here they tasted natural, slightly tart and complimented the foie gras very well as it could cut through its “richness”. The tartness was then balanced by the candied pistachios and port gelée. I thought the flavour combination, presentation and concept were excellent. One of Chef Jean-Georges signature dishes and I can see why.

Tuna Tartar, Avocado, Spicy Radish and Ginger Marinade – This looked promising and I loved the sample I had at F1. And though you can’t see it, the tuna is actually sliced into “ribbons”, very pretty. However, the ginger marinade was far too pungent, sour, acidic and too much in quantity for a marinade (the tuna ribbons were swimming it it). A pity as I would have loved it if the marinade was tuned down a notch for e.g. if it was just a ginger glaze and much less sour.

Soy sauce glazed tenderloin with onion rings and potato puree – A simple main but executed oh-so-well. The soy sauce/beef combination really worked here, the onion rings were extremely thin and crispy and the potato puree was smooth, buttery and simply divine. Interestingly, the beef had a very “liverish” flavour, perhaps because it’s grass-fed beef.

Black Truffle – Fontina Pizza – I upgraded my main to this pizza as I loved the truffle and cheese combination on a pizza. The crust was good and the truffle flavour very intense but a pity this was way too big a portion for me and I was struggling just after a quarter, especially since the hubs wasn’t keen since he doesn’t like truffles. It was also on the salty side. Would recommend ordering this if you could share w 2-4 pax as I think it’s quite rich to eat it on your own.

Jean-Georges Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream – I didn’t need to see the menu to decide on my dessert. Chef Jean-Georges was the chef who popularised THE molten lava chocolate cake that is now ubiquitously on almost every single restaurant’s dessert menu and aspiring dessert chef’s arsenal. So I definitely had to eat it here. It was good as expected – with a very molten centre, thin cake and lovely chocolate soil – but honestly it wasn’t much significantly better than the other good molten lava chocolate cakes out there. And trust me, it kills me to say this. Still, please order it to give credit to the chef who gave us this genius dessert.

Crackling Lime Tart, Vanilla Chantilly Mousse I am always up for a lime/lemon tart to round up a meal. This tart had a twist because the base actually had pop-rocks type bits. Very fun dish and it definitely did awaken and cleanse my palette.

Petit Fours

Service was good, and commendable for China. Overall an enjoyable meal but I wasn’t too blown away and it is a little pricey after all the additions, though it is still significantly cheaper than dinner or a plane ticket to NYC. I would say give the set lunch a try if  you’re interested. I hope his restaurants in NYC fare better and that I would make it there someday soon.

Price: $$$-$$$$ for lunch (RMB 218 per for 3 course set, additional RMB 68 for truffle fontina pizza, 10% service charge), dinner probably $$$$
Location: 4/F, Three on the Bund, 17 Guangdong Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu

London: Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (***)

19 Jul

We chose to splurge our pounds on Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea for a gourmet meal in London. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant in his huge restaurant empire and it’s one of the two 3 Michelin starred restaurants in Central London. Prior to this meal, I’ve not eaten at a 3 starred establishment before, so to say I was excited about our meal was an understatement.

Since it was going to be a once in a lifetime experience, I went for the menu prestige (seven courses for £125) instead of the set lunch which my friend had (three courses for £45).

We were served a choice of french butter or goat’s milk butter to go with our bread so I had to go with the more interesting option. It was my first time trying goat milk’s butter and I liked it! The subtle goat taste gave it a kick and the texture was so smooth and creamy. But it’s definitely an acquired taste if u hate lamb.

Bread served was olive bread. I love olives and I love bread so double yums for me.

Our amuse bouche was langoustine with caviar in a chilled tomato consomme. This was okay, serving the consomme chilled made it refreshing.

The first course was ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon poached in a light bisque with a chervil velouté. It was a huge piece of ravioli and I liked the combination of juicy seafood in the filling. Perhaps I’m being too picky here, but I was a little disappointed they had used the same ingredient of langoustine in the amuse bouche since this a signature dish and the courses were served back to back. I know langoustines were probably in season, but I’m just saying.

My second course was pressed foie gras with peppered Madeira jelly, smoked duck, peach and almond crumble. It does look like a piece of cake from afar doesn’t it? Though the flavour was okay, the portion was a bit too much for me as I’m not a fan of pressed foie gras compared to pan fried ones. Perhaps serving it with some brioche toast would make it less overbearing.

The third course was roasted fillet of line caught turbot with morels. Simple but very well cooked. One of the better dishes.

The fourth course was roasted pigeon from Bresse with grilled polenta, smoked ventrèche and date sauce. This was also one of the better dishes, the pigeon was very good and I also liked the polenta and sweetish date sauce. I think I had a choice of either pigeon or lamb.

I could choose between a cheese course or a pre-dessert so I chose the pre-dessert since my friend got the selection of cheeses from the trolley (£10 supplement). Out came the cheese trolley – CHEESE GALORE – and the cute waiter wheeling it. 

My friend’s cheese platter.

The fifth and pre dessert course was Armanac prune crème brûlée with Granny Smith apple juice. Both were a little sweet and tart which make them good palate cleansers. I quite liked them separately, but I’m not sure if they were supposed to complement each other.

The sixth course and second pre-dessert was strawberry, champagne and elderflower soup and vanilla cream served in the cutest glass with a glass straw (classy!). This was a Wimbledon special since we were in town during Wimbledon season. Loved the flavours here and strawberries and cream is so quintessentially British!

And to end, the seventh and main dessert course was bitter chocolate and hazelnut cylinder with blackcurrant granité and ginger mousse. A chocolate course in any tasting meal seems compulsory and this was okay. What I did like was the ginger mousse which I thought gave the chocolate more oomph.

The petit fours in Restaurant Gordon Ramsay are not your average petit fours as they taste freshly made and have much thought and effort put into them. This was the dramatic looking white chocolates with a strawberry ice cream centre served in a bowl of dry ice. You could say I enjoyed this more than the dessert course even – strawberries were definitely in season and this was so delish!

And the real finale of the meal were the futuristic looking chocolate truffles served in silver dust. How pretty does that look? Between the two of us, we had quite a few bon bons each since they were generous with the petit fours.

Not too sure what possessed me, but despite the 7 course meal + many complimentary courses + wine, I still ordered a cup of earl grey tea to conclude our meal. The sugar cubes came in a really cool swivel container. By the time we were done with our very long lunch, it must have almost been 3pm+ in the afternoon!

All in all, I would say Restaurant Gordon Ramsay serves very competent classical French cooking. I didn’t have a bad dish and there were some small nice surprises but I didn’t experience anything particularly outstanding or memorable either. Perhaps I’m looking for a more wow-factor kind of place when it’s supposedly 3M stars. My tasting menu was more than double the cost of a set lunch but it wasn’t exactly that much more impressive than what my friend had (we shared all our dishes). Aside from the food, it’s a classy place that isn’t snooty (though I could definitely smell very rich and old diners in the room) and the service team – headed by the imposing French maître d – is very brisk and professional to the point of being almost clockwork like. It’s certainly worth a try in London especially for the more affordable set lunches. Just don’t go with ultra high expectations because of its 3 Michelin star tag.

Verdict: 7/10
Price: $$$$-$$$$$ (£45 for 3 course set lunch, £125 for tasting menu, additional 12.5% gratuity)
Location: 68 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HP