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Dinner at Claridges!
Claridges in general
Member Name: Whizz11
Claridges in general
Advantages: Five Star Service, food and location
Claridges is the famous five star hotel in London. It is situated on the corner of Brook Street and Davies Street just behind Bond Street and Oxford Street so it is in a very central location and easy to get to. There has been a hotel on that site since the early 1800's when a gentleman called James Mivart opened an establishment there for guests who wished to stay in London for long stays.
Just down the street another hotel was owned by William and Marianne Claridge (hence where the name came from) and when James Mivart retired they bought his location and then owned the whole row of houses on Brook Street.
There are a number of different restaurants and bars in the hotel but I am going to concentrate this review on Claridges Bar and the Gordon Ramsay restaurant as these were the two that we visited when we went there.
Upon entering the hotel I was actually in awe of just how beautiful it is. It has a very elegant, sumptuous look to it with very clean lines and grand features. The Claridges Bar is situated in the Foyer Area. The style of the bar is a modern Art Deco look, think very lounge bar, dimly lit etc. There are quite a few tables to sit at with big comfy leather chairs and then there is also a round leather bar with mirror behind it which you can sit at on bar stools. There is a huge chandelier in the centre of the bar which is truly exquisite! We sat at the bar and immediately there was something offering to take our coats and to serve us a drink.
The thing that most impressed me about Claridges was the level of service that we received. It was fantastic, I'll tell you more later but the attention to detail and pleasant manner of all the wait staff was unbelievable and very nice.
The bar had a very extensive cocktail menu as well as wines, champagne etc. We went for the pink champagne which was lovely but yes, quite expensive. I actually managed to knock over my half full glass and spill it on the waiter behind the bar but he very graciously refilled it again which I thought was a lovely touch.
When our reservation time arrived we paid our bill (the bar I separate to the restaurant so we could not carry a tab over) and were shown to our seats in Gordon Ramsay's. The restaurant itself was again in the Art Deco style but was quite classic looking. All of the tables were round and had white linen table clothes on them. The ceilings were very high giving the restaurant a rather large but intimate feeling at the same time. We were some of the first people in that evening and it was quite quiet to begin with but once it filled up it was louder. What's nice is that they require smart dress and for gentleman to wear a jacket. I like this because it keeps the old tradition up of dressing for dinner and makes the atmosphere very posh and exciting.
We had the choice of two menus. A three course menu for £70 each where you choose what you eat or a six course taster menu at £80 each where the courses were chosen for you and you could pick between 2 main courses. We both love food so of course we went for the six course menu!
The menu is modern European cuisine and boy, has Gordon taught his chefs well, the food was absolutely fabulous. We first started with soup, a sweet corn, mushroom and duck soup. The bowl was small but just enough to give you a good taste. Then we had foie gras, controversial I know but Gordon does still serve this at this restaurants. I know quite a few top London restaurants no longer serve this. Next came a seafood ravioli. Main course was either pan fried Halibut or Pork Belly. Before dessert we had a raspberry coulis with cream and then for dessert a to die for Chocolate fondant with lovely gooey warm chocolate in the middle. In between courses a waiter would come and fill up our drink glasses, we were not allowed to pour anything ourselves. They have special waiters to just pour the wines, different waiters to pour the sauce on your main course, it was really well done.
Each dinner sitting lasts for 2 hours. At no time did I feel rushed but they do bring the courses fairly promptly.
After dinner, and I thought this was quite a clever way of getting us up from the table, one of the hosts offered to show us around the kitchen. We got to go and meet the chefs and see how things were prepared etc. We also saw the chef's table which you can reserve for dinner. It seats 6-8 people and is £850 for dinner, drinks not included. You sit in front of the ovens and get to see how things are prepared and be a part of the goings on. It looks excellent fun and I would love to go back and do that.
After the tour we were shown to a table where we could have tea and coffee at our leisure which was nice. We actually sat there for a few hours and listened to the piano music, soaked up the atmosphere etc. We first had a couple of cocktails and then coffee.
Everything was extremely clean and tidy. The toilets were lovely as well. They were very ornately decorated and had a lady in there the whole night passing your towel to you etc. You know it's a nice bathroom when the hand towels are actually towels and not paper towels!
This was an expensive night out, a very expensive night out but in my opinion well worth it. There was no sign of the credit crunch affecting diners here as the restaurant was full all night and upon speaking to the maitre de, found out that it was like that most nights. My husband had to book the table about four months ago, that is how popular it is. A beautiful setting, some of the best food in the world and well worth a visit once you have saved up the pennies!
Summary: Dinner at Claridges!