My night with Gordon Ramsey: Foxtrot Oscar
79 Royal Hospital Road
Chelsea, London, England
There’s a popular weekly menu here in London, England called the ‘Sunday Roast’ menu. I believe it dates back to the olden days when farmers would work long and hard hours in the fields and farms on Sundays. For the entire day, a roast would be slow cooking in the oven at home in a pan filled with the week’s leftover vegetables.
A homey but hip restaurant that features a ‘Sunday Roast’ menu is Gordon Ramsey’s Chelsea restaurant, Foxtrot Oscar. We made reservations for 7 pm, and came hungry. I was determined to order the Sunday Roast but was quickly distracted by all the other delicious items.
The bread was very trademark English: hearty and crusty. I can’t say that I liked it but I think it was fitting, given the cuisine and the location.
For starters we chose a beet and root vegetable salad. I thought the dish was very quintessential English, and I wasn’t disappointed. The beets were sweet and also firm in texture, which I loved, and I don’t even usually eat beets. The clouds of luscious goat cheese dressing was also pretty delightful, bringing out the sweetness in the red endive leaves and the cubes of potatoes.
We also ordered a creamed cauliflower soup with roasted apple and walnuts. It was interesting that there was olive oil drizzled on the soup though because in every reality TV show that Gordon Ramsey appears on, he is dead set against drizzling olive oil on soups. I even distinctly remember a scene from the American Masterchef this past summer when Gordon Ramsey made fun of fellow judge, Joe Bastianich for needing to drizzle olive oil on everything.
The soup was not as creamy as I would have expected (maybe it was the olive oil!). It was a little runny but still tasty. The walnuts were still crunchy and retained their distinctive flavour and texture.
The grilled sardines were quite tasty. The meat was light and flaky and the sauce had a tangy sweetness to it.
Everyone at our table was salivating when the Roast rib of beef came to the table in all its juicy glory in a pool of the sauce it was cooked in alongside caramelized yams and crispy potatoes and a plump little Yorkshire pudding. The meat was delicious, moist and tender. Perched on top of a bed of cabbage, the meat was a perfect cut of lean and marbled beef.
The Yorkshire pudding didn’t have the fluffy, eggy, soft insides that I had hoped for, but the outside of the pudding definitely matched the texture of the hard, crusty bread served before the meal.
I was surprised though that the onglet (hanger steak) we ordered was a little bit more flavourful than the roast. The onglet was also featured on the Sunday Roast menu but it was pan fried as opposed to roasted. Somehow, it picked up the flavours of the pan incredibly. The meat was tender, despite the lower end cut; the natural flavours of the beef seemed to pull through and was only brought out even more by the delectable medallion of garlic butter melting on top of it.
I enjoyed the fat ‘chips’ served with our dishes. The chips were crispy and weren’t too oily, they were a great compliment to the meal.
We also ordered the Suffolk pork belly off the menu. Cooked with a sweet, acidic apple sauce and served with roasted artichokes, the pork was another highlight of this meal. The apple sauce brought out the sweetness in the pork, and the fatty portions on the meat added a moist element to the dish. Yes, this dish made me homesick for bacon. If only my breakfast bacon at home could be cooked in this delectable way though.
I saved room for dessert, hoping to finally try the famous British dessert called ‘Spotted Dick.’ The name is pretty provocative but it’s on every dessert menu here in London. The ‘spots’ refer to the currants baked into a creamy pudding. To our disappointment though, the kitchen was out of spotted dick and we were stuck ordering the vanilla cheesecake and the creme brulee.
The creme brulee was rich, creamy and smooth. I was pleased that the top gave away with a dramatic crack at the smash of my spoon: that’s the ultimate test for any creme brulee. The cheesecake was another story though. It was served in a large tumbler with a layer of loose graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of the glass. The cheesecake itself, while very thick, dense and rich was obviously a no-bake cheesecake. The texture of the cake was so soft that I felt like spreading it on a cracker rather than eating it with a spoon.
All in all, I was not impressed by the service of this restaurant. I’m not sure if that was because I had the most difficult time understanding the incomprehensible accent of our server or if it was because the service was very slow. We waited a very long time for our desserts, so I was especially disappointed that the cheesecake was no-bake.