London

The Maze – a Gordon Ramsay Michelin star restaurant in London

This year, my father decided to celebrate his birthday in London with me.
It was the second time we celebrated it together since I can remember so I wanted to find a nice restaurant for the occasion.
 
There are some towns like Marseille where it’s hard to find a restaurant because the choice is limited.
In London, this is the opposite. I found it hard to find a restaurant because the choice is huge and I didn’t know which type of cuisine I wanted to eat. I knew that my father would be happy with any of my choices so it really depended on me.
The problem was that his birthday fell on a Saturday this year and, when I started to look for a restaurant about 10 days before the date, there were almost all already fully booked!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I hate weekends. I hate weekends because everybody is off and it’s impossible to find an activity to do without being surrounded by a horde of people. I always arranged myself to work during weekends and my bosses and colleagues seemed to be grateful so we were all happy. 
So it was the first time since I have been in London that I had to find a restaurant for a Saturday night. And it was a nightmare… I spent more than 10 hours on my computer before finding it. I learned that if you don’t book months in advance, you’ll have to eat super early, super late or in a restaurant of second choice. As I had planned something for the second part of the evening and wanted to eat in a fancy restaurant, I resigned myself to eat early.
I finally opted for the Maze at 18:15. At the same time, Norwegians are used to eat early.

The Maze is a Gordon Ramsay Michelin star restaurant that combines French cuisine with Asian influences in tasting sized dishes, allowing guests to experience more.
It’s located on Grosvernor Square and I’m sure that I passed by many times without noticing it, the entrance being very discreet.

After confirming our booking, an hostess took our coats and another one led us to our table.
Despite the early hour, the bar was already almost full and many tables in the restaurant were already occupied.
The atmosphere was both chic and cozy.
We were led to a table at the far end of the restaurant, a place that I found more intimate.

The lighting was also part of the atmosphere and was dim, which made it very difficult to take pictures. I tried nonetheless to take a picture of each course to give you an idea. But they’re far from reflecting the truth.

As soon as we sat, we ordered some Champagne. I think that you would agree that a celebration without Champagne isn’t a celebration! I ordered a glass of Rosé Champagne which happened to be from the Gosset house, one of my favourite. It was delicious: very easy to drink and it didn’t make me feel tipsy at all.

Then, we had a look at the menu.
I had already seen the menu online and was really tempted by the Chef’s menu.  My father was also tempted so we ordered 2 Chef’s menu composed of 7 courses. He also choose a wine pairing and I opted for a bottle of sparkling water.
The first course was called “English Breakfast” and we were a bit skeptical about what to expect.
Finally, it was a full English Breakfast served in an egg shell, placed on crispy rice noodles and accompanied with a soldier.
It was a surprising but excellent appetizer.

The second course was some yellow fish tuna accompanied with Ibérico ham and avocado purée. 
The combination was perfect.
The third course was a foie gras mousse with pain d’épices, pears and Sauternes gel. 
It was very good but, for me, nothing can beat a traditional foie gras terrine.
The fourth course was a dumpling stuffed with lobster, tiger prawn and salmon served in an aromatic broth. The dumpling was amazing but the broth was a little too strong for my taste.
I realised that I forgot to take a picture of this dish so I borrowed one. I might have been too impatient to eat it as I love dumplings.
The fifth course was a duck breast and braised leg, accompanied with romanesco, wild mushrooms and lemon. 
We were waiting for this dish and a Maitre d’ came to apologize for the wait and informed us that the kitchen had overcooked the duck and therefore therefore had to cook a new one. Thankfully Gordon Ramsay wasn’t here or it would have been a “Kitchen nightmare” for the person in charge! We appreciated the honesty of the Maitre d’ and weren’t bothered at all. And when the duck arrived, it was perfectly cooked: pink as it should always be.
The sixth and seventh courses were desserts, and I ordered a new glass of Champagne to accompany them.
The sixth course was a sundae with blackberry, apple and custard.
It was very light and tasty but my French side would have preferred some cheese.
The seventh and final course was some destructurised profiteroles with chocolate sauce, Baileys gel and ginger ice cream. 
It was a real delight!
Then, as I mentioned at the reservation stage that the dinner was to celebrate my father’s birthday, he got a small cake. Nothing is comparison of the cake my boyfriend got in NYC for his birthday! But it’s the intention that counts.

When we thought ti was finished, we were served some madeleines. 
There were slightly warm and melted in the mouth. The perfect end of a perfect meal!
All the dishes were excellent and I couldn’t say which one I preferred. 
The price of the menu was £75, which isn’t excessive for a Michelin star restaurant. 
However, the portions were small. It’s done on purpose to allow the guests to try many different dishes. But I know that if my boyfriend could have joined us, he would never have had enough to eat with a menu and would have had to buy a Kebab on Edgware Road on the way home! This is why I wouldn’t recommend Maze if you’re planning a meal with big eaters.

My only regret is that we didn’t see Gordon Ramsay. But he has so many restaurants in London (and abroad) that he can’t visit all of them everyday.
I heard a guest at the table next to us asking if he was here tonight and the waitress answered that unfortunately he wasn’t but that he was here the day before. I wondered if he really was or if it was the answer the staff had to give. 
We left the restaurant around 21:15 and didn’t feel rushed to leave. 

For the second part of the evening, I had booked a table at the Crazy Coqs Cabaret and Jazz for a jazz concert. The Crazy Coqs is part of the Zédel complex, which will deserve an article on its own another day. 

 
The Maze
10-13 Grosvernor Square
London W1K 6JP
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