|Is He Worth The Hype?|
We find out as Gordon Ramsay opens The Devonshire
Gordon Ramsay has received a good helping of bad press recently. Talk of over expansion, falling standards and spreading himself too thin are rife in the restaurant industry so is it really possible for Ramsay to successfully launch yet another venture in a market as cut throat as Chiswick?
This week saw Ramsay’s third gastro pub The Devonshire open without fanfare or festivity. Locals will find few obvious differences between the former Devonshire House and its new incarnation apart from smartly clad waiting staff and the aroma of fresh paint however, the vintage black and white images Chiswick on the walls provide an attractive addition and a distraction from the odd rogue electrical wire.
Onto the main reason for the visit which is of course the food. The Devonshire's menu, created under the guidance of Chiswick resident Mark Sargeant who is also head chef at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, follows the tried and tested style of The Narrow with a focus on classic British dishes.
To start we ordered grilled Dorset mackerel with potato salad (£6.50) and pork pie served with piccalilli and small pickled onions (£6.00). The mackerel was excellent replete with a skin grilled to crisp perfection on top of sweet firm flesh. My companion’s pork pie still warm from the oven was also deemed a success.
Our main courses of whole baked gilthead bream with fennel and watercress (£13.50) and Hake, chips and mushy peas (£12.50) both proved to be good choices marred only by very disappointing chips.
By contrast the desserts were below par. My companion was convinced his chocolate sponge (£4.00) had been microwaved and found the custard too thin however, my lemon posset (£4.00) was a little more successful.
To drink I had a large glass of a good Chilean Sauvignon Blanc well worth £5.25, my companion went for two small glasses, one from an English vineyard (£5.50) and a Pino Grigio (£4.25).
The bill came to a hefty £82.91 including £9.21 service which was good but nowhere near the slick High Road House standards.
The Devonshire still has a bit of a ‘work in progress’ feel to it which is understandable in its opening week. Things are not as seamless as one would expect from a big name like Ramsay although, according to reports from friends, there were improvements since the beginning of the week when Fay Maschler was spotted having lunch there.
So is it worth the walk? If you’re in the mood for a plate of good honest English grub and not too worried about the price then The Devonshire is the place for you. Personally I would find going there for a starter and a glass of wine a very pleasant way to spend lunchtime. As for dinner, I think I will wait until the menu changes (plans are to change it every few weeks) and they get the radiators working.
October 19, 2007