So after a week in Frankfurt where they have a very straightforward approach to cooking meat ( i.e. Let's cook it until it is just perfect and then put it in the oven for another 30 minutes at high heat ) I was much in need of a decent night out. Robin ( the genetic A lister of the two of us ) and I decided to try Gary Rhodes place in the Dolphin Square hotel.
I normally loathe TV chefdom, but despite myself, I have always had a soft spot for Rhodes, primarily because he can cook and he gives a damn. I am pleased to say that although it was hideously expensive, RiS was not a disappointment.
The room itself is not unlike the dining room on a rather louche liner and the chairs were slung far too low so you practically had to reach up to the food. We guessed that this was an allowance made for the many fat ass M.P's who populate Dolphin Sq.
Two appallingly bad Martini's were forgotten as we had some of the best appetizers we have ever tried. A lamb's kidney sausage was light and suitable offally and went well with a glass of South African Pinotage, but the star of the whole meal was Robin's choice of the Lobster Thermidor Omlette which was so far beyond spectacular it is hard to describe. Rich yet light, creamy yet subtle. I cannot think of a better taste I have had this year.
We rather wussed out on the main course as we shared a perfectly fine chateaubriand ( again a sop to the M.P. crowd ) which did not really show off the kitchen and which was slightly overcooked for Robin's taste but fine for mine. Again though, there was a twist the meat was supported by an amazing bernaise which had been flashed under the grill and "confit" potatoes ( not sure how you confit a potato- but they were good enough to persuade me to forget my low carb diet for an evening ) A wonderous 94 Ribero at £42 was expensive but worth every penny.
I normally shun desserts as the last bastion of the terminally girly, but in this case a signature Bread & Butter Pudding and a sticky reworking of the 70's classic Baba were very good.
The other highlight though was a 1/3 bottle of Royal Tokay at £28 which was one of the most complex wines my undiscerning tastebuds had ever had to get their chops around.
There were only about another 20 people in the place so service had chance to be exemplary and enthusiastic.
The bill, including service, was "to be paid in installments" £220 for the two.
So, as I said, not cheap but worth it. The same price as the much hoopla'd Nahm, but its superior in every aspect.
the real difference between this and say an MPW place is that Rhodes is often in the kitchen and despite his media celebdom and his many sidelines, he is apparently pathalogical about this place being as good as it could be. And, it was very good indeed