I’m excited about this one. It’s my very first time visiting a Gordon Ramsay gaff. I’ve been putting in overtime in preparation, swearing irrationally at strangers and finishing my sentences with ‘Done’ as much as humanly possible for weeks now. I’m ready for Heddon Street Kitchen (you bunch of fucks etc.)
It’s another one of these blogger dinners so we’re being relentlessly plied with booze from the off. Good to know Ramsay realises how important I am. The cocktails were very well put together and generous on the measures – I started with a Brits Spritz, a pleasant British take on the Aperol classic with Kamm & Sons, elderflower cordial, soda and Prosecco, whilst taking liberal sips of my blogger neighbour Madeleine Miranda‘s sweet raspberry Love Potion No.9 (cheers Madeline.)
A mammoth selection of starters came out next. They’re normally individual servings but we were given sharing platters to try a bit of everything. Of the fishy lot, I thought the spicy tuna tartare was probably the best, cut into delicate cubes with mini-taco-like wanton crisps to scoop them up. California maki rolls were satisfyingly stodgy but didn’t wow. I don’t really get the fried rock oysters – why you’d charge £13.50 for expensive seafood, batter it then serve with a bitter fennel and lemon confit salad that totally overpowers it is a head scratcher.
Best to stick to the meat treats on the whole, as they’re all winners. Tamarind spiced chicken wings are sticky, sour and something else starting with S that means well nice. Sumptuous pink slices of roasted veal carpaccio barely need a wink before they dissolve into your indebted tastebuds.
Consulting my notes from the night, I’ve got ‘beef hash thing ‘ written down as the other good starter. That’d be the potted salt beef brisket. I’d clearly lost the conscientious reviewer battle to the cocktail barrage by this point; a Lady Regent comprising Hendricks gin, Ruinquinquin peach liquor, elderflower, lemon and mint was the decider. Plot officially lost.
I’d have been pleased with any of the mains if I’ve have got a full plate. They’re not the kind of dishes that lend themselves to sharing though. Pork belly was a bit fattier than I’d have liked but had a jizzism-worthy piece of crackling welded to each slice. An apple sauce splodge was located nearby, seemingly put there as an afterthought.
More on the money were the lamb cutlets, served with a Middle-eastern influenced lentil bed and aubergine puree. Spiced plaice with chorizo and a bright green parsley oil also happily went down the chute. My fellow blogger breds were seriously hating on Gordon’s mac & cheese, but I quite enjoyed its light and creamy texture.
The penultimate cocktail of the night was a cheeky little rum number called Heddon St Grog. It wouldn’t have been out of place at a tiki bar with its mottled copper mug and throwback Um Bongo fruitiness. Slightly confused what it’s doing on the HSK menu though. I’m not sure many people come here for the authentic tiki experience.
Never one to pick a dessert over a starter, I’ll still happily eat a pudding if it’s there. Which these were. I’d only order the chocolate fondant if I was paying, an oozing delight that did right to keep a slight cocoa bitterness. Pineapple carpaccio was a good cleanser but how excited can you get about very thinly sliced fruit? I remember there being quite a nice creme brûlée…and a pear tart. Meh.
There’s a lot to like about Heddon Street Kitchen; friendly atmosphere, not too expensive, portions that don’t mug you off, and great cocktails. As for the menu, it’s as if they’ve thrown as many different cuisines at the wall to see what sticks. Trying to please everyone may be a necessary evil if you’re somewhat just off Regent St, but it makes for a patchy dining experience. When it’s good though, it’s really frickin’ good. Take my advice and order my recommendations – and if you still don’t approve smash the place up in textbook Ramsey rage. Done.
3–9 Heddon Street, W1B 4BE