A brilliant Christmas gift from my Mum and Auntie to my sister and I was Sunday lunch for 4 at Claridges. We finally made it last weekend on the day of the BAFTA awards, the atmosphere was suitably electric, not only did we have a lovely meal but we spotted Julianne Moore and Tom Ford in their finery heading off to the red carpet. The venue is uber glam.
Upon arrival, at 2:45, the dining room was heaving. We were seated, offered an aperitif and presented with a bewildering array of menus to choose from. 3 seemed overkill but actually meant that there was something to please each of us so we were glad of the choice. My sister can be a tad fussy with food, she's the first to admit and she was happy with the set Sunday menu which included a roast beef and yorkshire pudding main.
The room was smaller than I expected, but it's cosy. The winelist was concise and presented on an ipad. The service was mostly polite though we felt rushed towards the end of the meal.
Things started on a high point with a lovely butternut squash amuse with truffle oil. I expected it to be cold for some reason and remember being quite taken aback that it was hot. Cranny wasn't keen so I got 2 servings. Those black pieces just visible are mushroom pieces, I really liked this.
I chose from the a la carte menu, 3 courses for £70. To start I had the thai spiced lobster ravioli. Generous with the lobster, this dish was pretty to look at and the spice was pleasantly subtle. Other starters sampled were the Caesar salad, pork belly with crayfish bisque and rump of beef with root vegetable salad. All well received.
My main course was a slight disappointment in that I was the only person at our table to not get a gravy pouring from the waiters. My lamb suffered as a result, it was crying out for some moisture but it was all about the shepherds pie for me anyway, served as a side dish accompanying my lamb.
This was brilliantly smoky and much better than the Salt-baked Herdwick lamb loin. Other mains enjoyed were, of course, the Kid's roast beef, loin of venison and shoulder of rose veal. All with gravy.
There was some confusion when ordering dessert/cheese. My sister, opting for the 3 course Sunday lunch menu wanted cheese instead of dessert to be served when I had my cheese, after my dessert. A fairly simple request which flummoxed 3 waiters 1 after the other. In the end her cheese was served at the same time as our desserts and it seemed simpler to just go with it.
Anyway, the cheese was lovely, I do love cheese trolley time when eating out. Served with white grapes and a choice of biscuits or bread. Having seen images from other bloggers earlier meals here, I think the range of cheeses on offer here has diminished over the years, as have Ramsay's Michelin stars. One can never have too many cheeses.
A pre dessert of passionfruit mousse, sorbet and foam was excellent. The foam was very tart and the accompanying buttery pistachio biscuit was a perfect partner. I really wished this was bigger. My actual dessert was the orange and passionfruit pannacotta with cheesecake ice cream. The generous portion was a bit too much for me, I still had the cheese to contend with which had already been selected and plated. The pannacotta itself was wonderful, it's creamy consistency complemented by the crunch of the cheesecake chunks in the ice cream. My favourite of the 3 dishes I'd chosen.
Other desserts were banana and caramel soufflé and chocolate fondant. I enjoyed many parts of the meal but I see where there are areas for improvement in the plates offered up here. I am soon to try Royal Hospital Road and am keen to compare his 3* offerings to the food here at Claridges.
No doubt about it though, officially my best Christmas present!
55 Brook St