The final London meal of 2013 had me returning once again to my old favourite , The Ritz hotel for a little treat before the Xmas madness kicked off. I had booked myself a table for myself which would allow me the opportunity to be at one with my thoughts and reminisce about the ups and downs of the year and what 2014 would send my way. Well , in essence that was my plan until a greedy fellow foodie got to find out what was in store and offered to join me for my tasting menu…..of `desserts`. Enter stage left….Kevin Chan aka “The Fine dining explorer” probably the most travelled food lover i`ve ever come across. We plotted and arranged quickly over a few emails and then met up for what would turn out to be a crazy `Man v Food` afternoon.
This lunch at The Ritz all came about after i booked a table at Janice Wongs ` 2am Dessert bar` in Singapore for a Dessert tasting menu ( i do have a very sweet tooth ). I was speaking to Lewis Wilson about my Asia tour next Easter 2014. Lewis is the Pastry chef at The Ritz and he informed me “Ohhhh no problem , i can do you one of those next time you eat with us”. I had never seen a dessert tasting menu before , i was really excited and so I booked the very next day. Lewis said that he would come in to the Ritz kitchen on his day off ( cheers for that mate ) and prepare me 6 to 8 desserts to sample. Now that sounds like a plan made in heaven …BUT the new Ritz chef also decided that he wanted to do some cooking.He said i couldn`t just come to the Ritz and eat sweets without something savoury ( couldn`t i ) ?. So he would also do a few `small` courses. Anyways , long story short , i met Kevin in the Ritz reception and then sat down to discover that we would be eating an 18 course Sunday lunch. This was after the previous evenings 15 courses at Hedone……Ahhhhh , ok guys , let`s get this show on the road . We sat down at 12.30 to eat. My train back to Cumbria left at 5.30….and so the food began.
Foie gras bonbon truffle madeira jelly , Lemon macaron with salmon mousse topped with salmon roe
Seaweed cracker / shrimp / cucumber / sauce marie (hollandaise infused with lobster)
Cheese bacon tartlets,Warm cheese brioche ,Olive wheel with goat cheese,apple jelly
Celeriac puree , pea , parmesan, black truffle – How beautiful is that little bite ?
Lobster , cucumber, red beetroot, golden beetroot, Oscietra caviar
Goose Foie gras terrine marinated in salt, sugar, gingerbread liqueur with white port jelly. Red port reduction, pear puree , pear poached in red port , almond and hazelnut cake , Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar. – Now when it comes to Foie gras I tend to slide into a world of my own….its a silent world where I don`t really speak much. I close my eyes and I drift away eating the worlds finest ingredient sooooo slowly and savouring every single heavenly mouthful.
Langoustine, cauliflower puree, spiced apple jelly, apple puree, crispy pork skin
Pigeon, mushroom , artichoke , braised onion , parsley puree
Poached Duck egg, Pomme mousseline, crispy chicken skin, croutons, truffle jus with fresh white Alba truffle sliced over the top. – Now here was my only criticism of the entire meal. A superb dish in the making but as you can see here the Truffle jus was an extremely full bodied affair.The air around us was perfumed with the heavenly scent of white truffle but the taste of the truffle was non existent when eaten with the dominant sauce.A tiny amount , even a spoonful would have been perfect. We ate the truffle with the egg separately to enjoy the white truffle in its prime.The sauce made one hell of a wonderful mashed potato afterwards. Top marks but needs a bit of thought on the serving of this dish.
Wild sea bass , artichoke , bouillabaisse , oyster.
Veal sweetbread , fried parsnip , parsnip crumbs , parsnip puree , black truffle
Dover sole ballotine ,gateaux of leek and pumpkin filled with truffle mousse ,pumpkin crumble, shellfish sauce
Venison , celeriac puree , seared foie gras , chestnut , roll of red cabbage , leaves of Brussels sprouts , port and elderberry sauce
Champagne sorbet , sugar shell , gold leaf – The delicate sugar shell was removed to reveal a quenelle of sorbet.
Clementine – Seared, sorbet, parfait, peel, marmalade and Gold.
Caramelised apple millefeuille , apple sauce , vanilla ice cream
Praline , choux pastry , Caramelised nut brittle – Lewis the pastry chef was having a laugh. This was a full size Choux bun , a big dessert and filled to the max inside with Chestnut cream…..we sat and ate in silence at this stage.
Chocolate , Hazelnut , meringue. – Almost four and a half hours after we first sat down the end of the meal was in sight. Dessert number 5 was the one that finished me off. I managed to eat it but that was “hands in the air” time. I simply couldn’t manage the last course…..Someone else could…..his name was Kevin.
Raspberry tartlet , orange delight , vanilla macaron , coffee chocolate. Photo courtesy of finedining explorer as I had to leg it for the train home….Extremely full of amazing food and wine and i arrived at Euston with 2 minutes to spare. Kevin actually sent me the photos as they arrived at the table….He looked , he pondered for a moment and he ate 2 servings of Petits fours…..What an animal.Oh and for the record he then went home and had Chicken Hot Pot for supper….beggars belief.
TO VIEW ALL OF THE RITZ PHOTOS THEN PLEASE CLICK HERE
Thank you so much to the wonderful team at The Ritz , always a totally amazing experience for me. Classic fine dining in superb surroundings , Faultless service with big smiles , stunning wines and the food….Oh my god… the food.