Review: Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay
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Review: Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay

No kitchen nightmares here.

Outstanding food, world-class wine and a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere. Rebecca Cox reviews Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay. 

Aperitif finished, first snack demolished and cleared, appetiser approaching. It is the moment in every fine dining experience that sets the tone. Are we doing white-gloves, pause in conversation and holding our breath while plates are set down and cloches removed-style service? Not at Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay, where, despite the food being of the highest calibre, service is refreshingly relaxed. Wine is served with a side of chatter, jokes are shared while plates are cleared away. There’s no need to hold your breath during your visit to Pétrus, which is a relief since breathing out is the only option by pudding. 

One gets the impression this filters from the top down, since we are lucky enough to make a post-dinner visit downstairs to the kitchen to meet Head Chef Orson Vergnaud, and find him relaxed and friendly, in a surprisingly calm mid-service kitchen (not necessarily what you’d expect from a kitchen with Gordon Ramsay’s name above the door). Upstairs it is General Manager Matteo Baccanelli setting the tone, enormously welcoming and always smiling, making sure attention to detail is unwavering – key when dinner will cost you upwards of £120 per person. Head Sommelier Daniele Chelo is similarly warm, excited to share wines with us from regions we mentioned we enjoyed (and with the restaurant’s famous 1200-strong wine list there is presumably not a dull day at the office). 

WINE 

Let’s start with the wine, then, shall we? The signature circular wine cellar sits at the heart of Pétrus’ dining room, with tables widely spaced around its circumference making for a pleasant mixture of a discreet and private setting without a lack of buzz or atmosphere. Diners can select between rare French vintages and modern European gems. There are three levels of wine pairings to choose from on the Prestige Menu, ranging in price from £150 to £395. Worth the steep price tag for the true oenophile, the wines we sampled throughout the course of the evening, from the fragrant German Riesling to the crisp and salty Sardinian white, were exquisite. 

Eel Plaisir Sucré at Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay

FOOD

With such good wine, it’s hard at times to tell whether the wine complements the food or the other way around. Several courses, though, are truly outstanding. The bar is set high with the memorable fried oyster appetiser, served with oyster ‘custard’ alongside crispy bread and salted butter. The smoked eel, served with a generous helping of caviar and refreshing celeriac and apple accompaniment is the perfect fresh spring starter. The Cornish turbot, with tenderstem broccoli, clams and sauce Vin Jaune is a real masterpiece, tasting even better than it looks (which is picture-perfect). We’ll skate over the English and French cheese course (not because it wasn’t delicious, it was, but if we’re being honest, an unnecessary indulgence on a menu like this one) and move straight to dessert, which has to be the plaisir sucré, a chocolate, nutty, fruity stack of just-on-the-edge-of-too-sweet perfection that goes perfectly with an espresso martini and the final loosening of one’s belt.

THE FINAL WORD

Ramsay’s Pétrus was initially headed up by his former friend Marcus Wareing when they ran it as a joint venture from 1999-2008, the boot from the Berkeley and subsequent relaunch a fall-out of the pair parting ways. But in a post-meal (and admittedly very-wine-paired) haze heading home after a cheerful and indulgent evening spent at this Belgravia institution, I can’t help but wonder whether the old rivals couldn’t sort out their differences with just one evening spent together in this way. As Alain Ducasse once told me: ‘I have gathered warring politicians together over dinner, and while we eat there is no war. A meal is the school of peace.’ Chef Vergnaud and his team are more than capable of doing the same. 

Plaisir Sucré at Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay

MENUS

Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay offers five main menus; the Prestige Menu (a vegetarian Prestige Menu is offered); the Discovery Menu; the à la carte menu (a vegetarian à la carte menu is offered); a weekday, three-course lunch menu; and the Chef’s Table menu. Wine pairing is offered throughout. gordonramsayrestaurants.com/petrus/menus 

BOOK 

Pétrus, 1 Kinnerton Street, Belgravia, SW1X 8EA | gordonramsayrestaurants.com/petrus