It’s the talk of the town, or the city if you will. The big opening. The one-to-watch. The restaurant from the man who loves an expletive and claims his least favourite sandwich is an idiot one. Yes, Gordon Ramsay’s got a new restaurant opening named Lucky Cat in June but we, as the greedy foodies that we are, got to sample some of the offerings ahead of time. Lucky Cat will be an “authentic Asian eating house” and will replace Maze, the Ramsay restaurant that currently resides in Lucky Cat’s location.
Ramsay lived up to all chef stereotypes upon meeting him, clad in chef whites and wielding a knife he rustled up a six-course tasting menu for an intimate group of eager, hungry individuals, with the help of his team that includes head chef and tofu-lover Ben Orpwood. I kind of expected to have a slanging match with him from years of watching The F Word and Kitchen Nightmares, but I’ve got to give it to him – he was a truly lovely chap!
On the topic of lovely, I was seated next to journalist and millennial idol Dolly Alderton (the one from The High Low, Everything I Know About Love, etc.) Chatting to her I quickly released I was acting as if I had no clue who she was, despite having edged towards her at the cocktail reception eager for us to “bump” into each other to induce a “oh, I’m so sorry” kind of meeting that led to bestfriend-ship (move over Farley!) Yet, never, ever one to keep my cool, a rustle in my handbag led me to knock my Everything I Know About Love book onto the floor and, subsequently, at Dolly’s feet. Yes, she’s the author. Yes, I was a tomato. I’d literally just read about her snogging someone on the bus and now I was sat next to her. Life is a serendipitous little devil.
Anyway, despite not being in the location in which Lucky Cat will reside, the kind of vibe and atmosphere that Gordon wanted with Lucky Cat oozed through in the form of neon blue lights and sleek white tables. There was a real hint at the grandiose buzzy-ness of Tokyo; the city being the main influence behind the new venture. We sat instead in Icetank on Grape Street and enjoyed sharing plates of dishes that included Hiramasa kingfish, Orkney scallop and seared duck breast.
Known for his culinary expertise (and for sayings such as “the crab is so raw it’s singing “under the sea,””) Ramsay wow-ed with this new offering. Flavours burst in the mouth and teased the tastebuds, with Asian influence rife in the form of soy, yuzu, ponzu, illuminating Gordon’s knowledge of Asia from working and touring there frequently. Perhaps the highlight dish was the Orkney Scallop which was made moreish by coupling it with yuzu and sweetcorn hot sauce which stuck to its bottom and introduced a deep, delicious flavour.
For those who don’t rave about desserts the lemongrass, ginger and yoghurt sorbet with jaggery syrup made for the perfect alternative as a sweet palette cleanser. Jaggery typically comes from the sap of palm trees and works as a replacement for refined sugar; it’s like a cross between spicy molasses and buttery caramel and makes for a tasty flavour. Drinks wise, the wine pairings were delicious – sake playing a large part, alongside cocktails “Lucky Geisha,” which involves vodka, sake, egg white, and yuzu; plus a “Lucky Negroni” whose composition will be determined by the guest rolling a dice.
The preview menu has stirred up extra excitement around the opening. Well known, popular foods such as scallops, asparagus and duck are infused with creative and quirky Asian flavours and you can truly taste the detail and attention to it, seen in the dishes all the way through to the name. This is first time he’ll have opened a restaurant since 2014, busy making mayhem and having babies in the interim!
The cat’s out of the bag now! The official opening date will be Monday 24th June and bookings are open from today! 10-13 Grosvenor Square, W1K 6JP, www.gordonramsayrestaurants.com