What: A dinner-only 22-cover restaurant at The Savoy, London. 1890 by Gordon Ramsay pays homage to Georges Auguste Escoffier, who is credited with professionalising kitchens by tapping into his experience in the military to develop the brigade system (1890 being the date the generously mustached Frenchman joined the central London hotel). Escoffier is also credited with pioneering the tasting menu and helping to raise the status of cooking from a laborer’s task to an artist’s endeavour. In doing so he became the world’s first celebrity chef.
Who: Err, Gordon Ramsay. 1890 by Gordon Ramsay will be the world famous chef’s third venture at the hotel joining The Savoy Grill and the more recently launched The River Restaurant. The group has been aggressively expanding its footprint over the last few years with more casual concepts - including the likes of Street Burger and Bread Street Kitchen - but this is the first top-end, star-chasing restaurant the chef has launched in the capital in some time. The kitchen is led by executive chef James Sharp. The former teacher has barely been cooking for 10 years but is clearly regarded as a rising star at Gordon Ramsay Restaurants with stints at both Ramsay‘s three-star flagship and Pétrus under his belt. Group executive development chef James ‘Jocky’ Petrie has also been heavily involved in creating the menu, as has Ramsay himself. Front of house is overseen by Sarah Rhone, the former general manager of Elystan Street and - before that - The Square. The head sommelier is Emanuel Pesqueira, who has a varied CV that includes a stint at wine-focused private member’s club 67 Pall Mall.
The vibe: The Russell Sage Studios-designed space is on the first floor overlooking the Strand-based hotel’s iconic entrance, which is famously the only place in London where cars drive on the right-hand side of the road. 1890 by Gordon Ramsay takes its design cues from the hotel itself with glowing golds, low-lighting and Art Deco flourishes.
The food: A single carte blanche menu is offered at £110 - a not unreasonable price for a menu of around 10 courses plus snacks and petit fours given where it is and the chef behind it (the carte blanche at Ramsay’s flagship costs twice as much). As one would expect from a restaurant inspired by the author of the Guide Culinaire, most of the larger plates showcase classical sauce making: lobster with sauce Américaine; turbot Véronique; short rib with sauce Bordelaise. Ramsay’s restaurants have always excelled in this area and 1890 by Gordon Ramsay does not drop the ball. The sauces are simply immaculate, with the perfect viscosity to hold themselves on the plate without being overbearing. Other dishes include devilled crab chickpea tart; roast chicken consommé with wild garlic and rosemary; and a stunning Jerusalem artichoke royale, hazelnut, Ibérico ham and black truffle.
To drink: Presented on an iPad, the wine list is not for the faint of heart employing Coravin to offer an impressive selection of the world’s most in-demand wines. While for the most part it's a case of go big or go home, entry level prices aren’t ridiculous for a famous London hotel with still wines by the glass from £10 and Champagne from £16. That said, the restaurant also offers what must be the capital’s most expensive wine pairing option: The Escoffier Eternal Elegance pairing is priced at £1890 and currently includes the likes of 1996 Petrus and 2010 Domaine Romanée Conti.
And another thing: While Ramsay - who was at the restaurant’s launch event - stresses that his latest restaurant offers a modern take on Escoffier’s repertoire there's a satisfyingly old school feel to the food here and the restaurant overall, which chimes nicely with the setting.