Monday, 26 January 2009

ramsay's the maze grill

lunch at the maze grill was a belated celebration of my post-graduate status. the day of the lunch turned out to be one of those rare london days when the sun shone in clarity and mum and i enjoyed the walk from bond street to grovsenor square. in a rather compact reception area mum and i both had our coats whisked away, promptly replaced with a little card to retrieve them later. we were then led through a set of glass doors and seated at a table a couple of steps lower from the chef's table. i was struck by the simplicity of the decor – it was refreshingly basic with some accents of colour. the ceiling had a decorative strip running through it to break the white.
mum and i were handed menus and a wine list and asked whether this was our first time here. a couple of seconds later our waiter reappeared with a thick wooden board. on it were cuts of red meat wrapped in white napkins sitting snugly one atop the other. the waiter then proceeded to walk us through the origin and cuts, pausing to explain the depth of the colour and that marbling in the meat is associated with the cows being beer fed. he then took the meat back to its cold closet leaving us to make our choices.
mum went for the three course lunch menu starting with a aged goats cheese and duck confit served on a bed of mixed greens. i began with a beef tartar with a quails egg served with olive oil drizzled toasted sour dough.  the salty dimension of the tartar owed itself to pickled cucumbers and capers and worked well together with the sourdough. mum goats cheese with duck confit was rich with strong flavours. our main courses followed swiftly. mum's medium rare steak came resting a top a thick wooden cutting board with aioli, béarnaise and frites in steel cups. alongside the steak was a bulb of garlic whose head had been sliced off. we spent considerable time working out how it had been cooked as it held its shape firmly but was quite cooked on the inside. resting at a slant on top was a bay leaf and a sprig of rosemary. our wine choices complimented our mains – my white bordeaux was crisp and served perfectly chilled.
my plaice revealed itself from within a round steal pot. the waiter who served it to me clasped it between a fork and a spoon and placed it in the centre of a white ceramic plate. he then spooned around it a spring green sauce with baby white cannellini beans, small whole shallots and a rare piece of veal to flavour the sauce. the fish flaked of the bone and combined delightfully with the sauce. i have to say the only think ramsay fails me on is the bread that accompanies the meal. it isn't bad, its just that it doesn't shine. but then not everything is perfect.
mum's dessert was a chocolate marquis with a crust of slightly crushed pistachio. once delivered the waiter then poured a warm vanilla coloured sauce from a silver jug to enclose the marquis. it had light flecks of vanilla pod.  i skipped dessert as i was really full but couldn't resist a bite. it was sublime – the chocolate was dark and rich, the vanilla cream a notch lighter but still smooth and creamy and the crunch of lightly salted pistachio made for a lovely dessert.
and since mum and i are both coffee addicts our end note of a full bodied filter coffee was the perfect choice. it was worth every bit.