Cussy-Chops’s (Gordon Ramsay’s) hard graft has been decorated with numerous Michelin stars since 1993 – the Gordon Ramsay group currently own 25 restaurants globally.
For Cussy-Chops, running a nosh-house is much like Karl Lagerfeld designing a red-carpet dazzler – a natural. His top table, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road London, is one of only four eateries in the UK that currently hold three Michelin stars.
Last month THEGAYUK were invited to sample Ramsay’s culinary fare, minus reality-TV cameras, to see if there is ‘Hell’ in The Narrow Limehouse London’s ‘Kitchen’.
In 2007 The Narrow’s doors were first flung open, and it’s clear that was the last time the interior received any TLC. She’s neatly situated by the Thames – from the conservatory, your view to the left is the financial hub of London, and to the right, the Shard beams at you in all its phallic glory. Despite this sophisticated location, there’s a feeling that you could be visiting your great-grandma in her residential home – sun-bleached blue sofas and a complete lack of attempt to hide the B&Q-style window frames.
The gastro pub’s toilets matched the standard of a Wetherspoon’s during the World Cup. Cussy-Chops and his Kitchen Nightmare team should get back on the road and head to Limehouse and address his own flagging decor.
We were seated in the Nana’s glass-house and offered an apéritif – cocktails seemed appropriate.
Devil in Disguise: Leblon Cachaca, Green Chartreuse, Martini Bianco, white Cacao and lemon. A slight undercurrent similar to tequila with herby notes. In the description, the Devil boasts: Our creation to expose chocolate and lemon magnificent compatibility – hm. Got the lemon, maybe they overexposed the chocolate. Refreshing all the same.
Internacional: Bacardi Superior, apricot-infused Martini Rosso and Kümmel. If you could drink a Cuban version of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, this is what it would taste like. An original, heavily-scented imbibe that jabs with potency and flavours of cumin.
Good service in a Ramsay gaff is like buff, topless bar staff at Ku Bar – totally expected. We weren’t disappointed. NoF Words passed our lips – the staff were knowledgeable and treated us as if we were regulars.
To oil the food devouring, our waiter chose a bottle of Gouguenheim Valle Escondido Malbec, Mendoza 2014, from Argentina. A deep red, rich and forceful number – aromas of currants chocolate and cherries with a lasting finish. Malbec-n-marvellous.
To start, from the specials’ board: goat’s cheese and spinach ravioli. Al dente and piping hot – the goat cheese’s strong flavour didn’t overpower but gave a notable presence. Delicious.
Our other starter: Potted salt beef with apple, pickle and sourdough. Think pastrami minus the pepper. A decent pub potted meat.
For a Tuesday night, Gordon’s gaff was simmering with locals who’d come straight from the office or schlepped from their Limehouse pied-à-terres, giving the riverside eatery a warm and relaxed atmosphere.
For our mains: Wye Valley duck breast with port sauce, confit garlic and sautéed potatoes. The duck was succulent and pink in the middle, verging on the sweet side, beautifully mirrored by the rich sauce.
commendation: the 10oz Aberdeenshire ribeye with peppercorn sauce. Ribeye can be riddled with fat, thus spoiling the consumption. This was a quality cut of beef, tender and without a fat infestation. The sauce was light, not too creamy – the corns liquified on the tongue.
We shared a couple of sides: creamy spinach and rosemary hand-cut chips. The spinach was fluffy and the chips were crisp, but seemed to have detached themselves from the rosemary.
Belt loops by pud time were feeling the pressure – but we soldiered on.
We shared a banana sticky toffee pudding with Purbeck salted caramel ice cream and, from the specials, a vanilla creme brûlée. Our waiter, who had a slight touch of the Robert Downey Jr’s about him, urged us toward said sticky pud – we were jolly pleased he did. The velvety sponge brimmed with banana and flattered the premium south-west ice cream.
The brûlée slipped off the spoon like gazpacho – it wasn’t set. A good crunch to the head and the vanilla pulled through.
Finally, a couple of espresso martinis to aid our navigational system for the journey home – more ice-lolly than flat-white – lush.
Dear Cussy-Chops, take some spondoodles out of your ever-expanding bank account and spruce up The Narrow- one facelift and you’ll have yourself a pretty respectable gastro pub – just sayin.
REVIEWED BY: Thabian Sutherland
ADDRESS: 44 Narrow Street, London, E14 8DP
TELEPHONE: +44 (0) 207 592 7950
RATING: ★★★★ (explained)
PRICE: ££££ (explained)
Tipping Policy: A discretionary service charge of 12.5% will be added to your bill.