It was sweet up at the top
'Til that ill wind started blowing
Now it's cozy down below
Recently I’ve had a bit of spare time on my hands which means I can do pleasant things like go for lunch - one of the more civilised activities that sets us apart from the beasts. I was more than happy then to drag my lardy arse and crappy camera down to Royal Hospital Road to try out Gordon Ramsay’s new joint Foxtrot Oscar.
A small restaurant near his eponymous three star it’s a rather stark and utilitarian space with only about forty covers but once full buzzed nicely. Thankfully, it was bereft of restaurant critics (“Do you know who I am ?” etc.), but instead appeared to be hosting a meeting of the red-faced and chinless club (new member…Hermano Primero). I liked it immensely.
Like The Narrow and Devonshire Arms this is another diffusion effort from El Gordo and has the similar aim of producing good food at decent prices. They pretty much succeed in their aim. There are no culinary fireworks i.e. nothing here to frighten the most conservative of punters they’ll inevitably get, just well executed food - exemplars of bistro classics if you will. This is a kitchen that can cook.
A Prawn Cocktail – admittedly not the hardest dish to prepare – succeeded by dint of decent ingredients: a generous heap of fresh langoustine tails and a well-made tangy Marie Rose sauce. It was slightly under seasoned but improved with a twist of pepper. Crab Cakes came bursting with the crustacean’s white meat and were accurately cooked – no grease overload here.
Best of all was the Veal and Foie Gras Burger. I’d had this dish before before at the Boxwood Café but the version here was leagues ahead. Cooked pink with plenty of chunks of liver, it had a good loose texture and a fine meaty taste. A blob of onion ‘jam’ came on top. The bun was pretty good too. Chips were nice but needed the requested ketchup and mayonnaise. A little accompanying Caesar Salad was exemplary. The only thing that jarred was an odd warm tomato salsa. The dish didn’t really need it.
Given that I didn’t have to get back to a job it would have been rude of me not to have tried a selection of ice cream with buttery shortbread. So I did. Coffee was excellent and cost barely more than the dishwater served up by S**b**ks and their ilk. And they threw in a couple of Turkish Delight. Lovely.
Whatever you think of the foul-mouthed one and his TV persona he really does know his er…onions when it comes to running restaurants. If chain restaurants are a necessary evil then at least let them be reliable and good value for money as the aforementioned gastros. I look forward to completing the set with the Warrington when it opens in February.