Gone are the days of bad food in London. I did not have one shabby meal whilst I was out there. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to be taken to one of Gordon Ramsays restaurants (something I've always wanted to do!!!) This particular establishment was named the Boxwood Cafe. It's in The Berkley hotel. I took photos, so I figured I might as well post about it!!!
To begin with, I was not a HUGE fan of the setting. The restaurant is in a basement, and I felt like the tables were very institutional. The pictures on the website do not hint at this, they actually make it seem very light and comfy and ambient. The lighting for the photos was obviously added. The place was not DARK, but something about the lighting was off putting. not dark enough, but not very light either. There were tables that were placed along the walls with a long shared bench running the length of the wall. I hate shared benches, especially at fine dining establishments. The last thing I want when I'm (supposedly) enjoying my meal is to feel my neighbor flop their ass down next to me after having used the loo.
Fortunately, the food was not of the same caliber as the dining room.
A bread basket was brought out with light and dark breads, along with a pat of butter and a gorgeous anchovy butter. It was salty, creamy, just fishy enough, but not overpowering.
For a starter, I had the Baked Orkney scallops with sea urchin butter, watercress and apple. I actually couldn't taste the sea urchin butter very much, but the scallops combined with the crisp apple and crunchy watercress were an amazing combination. Served in large shells, the presentation was quite lovely as well. My dining partner had the Tagliolini of white and brown crab with chilli, parsley and spring onion. This was a gorgeous dish because it had depth and levels of flavors that the scallops did not. However, being a mild animal, I am of the school that scallops should be presented as they were: minimal dressing, so the fish could stand out. The crap was mixed in a way that reminded me of coleslaw. I didn't think it was the most appetizing looking dish, but the flavor did stand up to it. It was spicy in a woody, smokey way, which I absolutely adore. I do, however, think that the spices drowned the spice of the crab.
My main was the Pan-fried fillet of black bream with Shetland mussels, clams and leeks. The black bream was served on a lovely circular cake of the leeks, mussels and clams. The leeks were by far my favorite part. Creamy, oniony, with a hint of the clams and mussels. There were, hoever, only about 4 clams/mussels in the leek circle, which made me a bit sad. The bream was panfried without accutrement, to accent the flavor of the fish. It was cooked perfectly, with a crispy skin and melty inside. The amount of fish however, was too much. There were 2 fillets, and I could barely make it through one. After one, I had grown a bit tired of the fish as a whole, I suppose I wanted something a BIT more exciting.
My dining partner had quite the main: Steamed sea bass with langoustine, baby artichokes and coco bean purée. The flavors of this number were amazing. Having the puree (reminiscent of mashed potatoes, but better) artichokes, langoustine and sea bass on the toungue was exciting, flavorful, different, and comforting at the same time. A definite winner.
No dessert because we were full. Sorry! My partner picked the wine, and it was amazing. I don't know enough about wine, so you will have to ask him if you care!!
So I suppose the question is, would I reccomend it? Well, It WAS delicious. The portions were quite big. I'm not sure, however, if the price justified the experience. I felt a bit like I was buried underground, in a cave with good food. When I go out to restaurants, I like to have the experience be special. The place, the food, everything. I like to feel a bit like a celebrity. I did not feel like a celebrity at Boxwood. While I definitely do not regret the meal, (great company) I probably would pick somewhere else next time and not be a repeat visitor at Boxwood.
Tata for now. ;-)