No special occasion. A friend and I walked past the Ritz Hotel one night and decided we should really pretend to be fabulous enough to go for dinner, so we booked for mid-March 2017.
After having scrutinized the menu I thought the best deal was to go for the tasting menu.
I was intrigued by the encyclopedic wine list and curious after seeing the list of the usual sparkling wine, white wine, red wine… but THEN the menu listed Orange wine. Interesting – a wine that I’d never heard of! How could I resist?! Thought they might include that in the wine flight but I missed out on that occasion… but just 2 weeks later I found myself sipping some in Barcelona reading about how it was going to be the next big thing of 2017!
Anyway; back to the Ritz. We sat in the Rivoli Bar for a cocktail before the meal. Very civilised. Shown to a table, drinks added to the meal tab. Seamless. Delicious nibbles and great service. £20 a pop for the cocktails, but lovely experience.
Walked through to the Ritz Restaurant and shown to a table. Elegant dining room accentuated with a pianist, cellist, a couple of violins and a singer later in the evening.
We had at least three waiters keep an attentive eye on us. The courses were all on the main menu so we were able to work out how much we’d saved (ignoring how much we’d spent! 🙂 ) in total that evening.
They bill the tasting menu at the Ritz Restaurant as six courses when in fact it’s probably eight or nine all things considered. It’s a ‘Surprise Menu’ so every course is presented to you under a cloche which is flamboyantly removed by waiters (one for each person so the dishes are revealed at the same time) and each dish explained.
Canapés – goats cheese and shortbread, chicken cornichons, lemon macaroon with smoked salmon filling.
Starter 1: Jerusalem Artichoke with petals. Shaped like pate so I was nervous because I’m not a fan of pate and I suspected it may be Chicken Liver pate. Again – not a fan.
Starter 2: Just as I was explaining my relief to my friend Goose Liver pate arrives at the table. But this pate was complemented so well by gingerbread and mango, oh and toasted brioche that I gobbled it up! Great to try things I would never order in a million years!
Starter 3: Langoustines. Luckily these were already removed from their shells. Therefore enjoyable.
Started 4: Turbot with Caviar and Champagne sauce. One of the favourites. Price of the dish, when ordered outside of the tasting menu, reflects that.
Main Course 1: My friend is new to foodie-ism if you’ll pardon the expression. When the veal sweetbread was served she didn’t hear the waiter’s description so asked me what he had said. I chose the higher ground and refused to tell her until the following day. The waiter had asked about allergies/intolerances at the beginning but it hadn’t occurred to me to say NOT SWEETBREADS. 🙂 For me it’s a texture thing, and probably psychological.
What made this dish for me was the Madeira sauce. I don’t think I’ve had Madeira sauce that silky and rich before.
Main Course 2: A medley of lamb. Again a small glazed sweetbread on the plate but that wasn’t the main event. Delicious Loin of Lamb but for me the Lamb Croquette with braised shoulder inside and a smidgen of Goats Cheese and Black Garlic on top was the highlight of the dish.
Dessert 1: Poached rhubard with cream. A refreshing palette cleanser.
Dessert 2: Probably the dish that I gasped with delight at the most after the cloche had been removed. Description of ‘Hazlenut Semi-Freddo’ does not do this spectacular dish justice. Worth checking out the photos of the Desserts if you haven’t already!
Petit Fours: I could barely get them down but a nice mixture of sweets from sugary to creamy and rich.
So full! Another nice touch was that there was no mention of service charge on the bill which was refreshing but the service really was outstanding so we were prepared to dig deep. All in all £200 a head, but worth it (for me) as a one-off to cross off the list!
My descriptions aren’t as well articulated as they are on the actual Dinner menu so check it out here: 03.04.17-Dinner