Cuisine: Modern European
Location: UK, London – Belgravia
On coming to London I hadn’t given a thought to the fact I could possibly visit the restaurants of chefs that are on TV. Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal, and Gordon Ramsay immediately spring to mind. Sure, one of the things about travelling is trying out new things, so I thought I would try and squeeze in a few fine dining restaurants. Unfortunately I may have left things a little too late so availability combined with popularity counts against you the closer the time approaches. After having a read of some reviews, I did manage to snag a booking at Gordon Ramsay’s, Michelin star restaurant, Petrus.
I caught the tube to Knightsbridge and walked to Petrus (or could stop over at Harrods beforehand). Finding it was rather difficult as I found myself in a residential district on a narrow lane-way lined with apartments and houses. Fortunately I asked one of the locals who pointed me in the right direction. I was immediately greeted with the friendly waitstaff on either side opening the double doors for me to walk through. I was taken to my table situated next to a large, floor to ceiling, cylindrical wine galley. Petrus is named after one of the most expensive wines in the world, hence, it was fitting situated behind me was the cylindrical glass case encasing a variety of wines. The interior is modern, smart, but not ostentatious. Just like my experience at The Ledbury, the waitstaff were very friendly, highly professional, and efficient. I did ask if Darrius was here on mention of the maitr’d at The Ledbury who had worked with him. A short time later, Darrius appeared and I chatted to him briefly about my travels in between courses. He was very friendly and looked after me throughout the night. The service was second to none.
At Petrus they serve lunch and dinner with al a carte and degustation options available. I liked the look of the al a carte menu and chose 3 courses for £65 but you get a lot more than just 3 courses. While I waited I was presented with a basket of sourdough bread & softened butter. After experiencing the delicious French butter, I was curious to see how the English version stacked up. Nowhere near as good but it’s still better than what we get in Australia. With the sprinkle of salt atop the butter, I spread it generously and enjoyed the lovely bread. Then it all began.
Pre-starter #1: Foie Gras & Smoked Salmon
Foie gras & smoked salmon sandwiched within a wafer crisp. Surprisingly, the salmon balances really well with the foie gras. The salmon is pretty distinctive in it’s own right but it somehow marries really well with the very rich flavour of the foie gras. Who would have thought? There was also filo pastry surrounding a soft cheese mixture – the pastry offsets the richness of the herbed cheese mixture.
I obviously was eagerly waiting for my courses and I made the horrible mistake of consuming my dish without taking a photo. A really delicious start to the dinner.
Pre-starter #2: Asparagus Mousse
Asparagus mousse mixed with horseradish with a wafer on top and then salmon tartare on top of the wafer – fantastic! Really light smooth mousse with the after taste of asparagus balanced with the creamy horseradish. A few soft pieces of asparagus were also thrown in as a textual contrast, with the more crunchier wafer providing the separation between the flavours of the light mousse and the salmon. The dill & salmon are an excellent combination tasting similar to gravalax.
Entree: Pan fried sea scallops with cauliflower, anchovy and caper, lemon buerre noisette
This Scottish dish contained succulent but firm scallops with a lovely golden brown finish on top, contrasted with the crisp bread crumbed fish. The creamy cheese mixture partners perfectly with seafood but the sweetness of the raisins and the saltiness of the capers counteracts the richness. The sauce adds a lovely buttery element to the dish. Delicious & well executed.
Mains: Roast duck breast with confit duck leg & granola, spring onion and Szechuan pepper jus
The mains was another delight. Perfectly cooked duck breast with the fat left on and roasted like roast pork, creating a salty and slightly chewy texture. The jus was packed with flavour. I could just keep eating this dish for eternity. The jus really made the dish and I loved the duck mixture the duck breasts sat on. All the elements of the dish combined to ensure an absolutely delicious dish full of flavour. If only I could lick the dish – yes, it’s lickworthy!
Pre -Dessert: White chocolate & passion fruit mousse
Wow! Presented like 2 mini ice creams in a wafer cone, the passion fruit flavour was not too intense nor the chocolate, ensuring the flavours shone through in the light airy mousse. That mousse could easily be served as a dessert on it’s own in a larger quantity. It’s so delicious, light soft flavours.
Dessert: Chocolate sphere with milk ice cream and honeycomb
This came with theatre. A dark sphere of chocolate appeared in a large white bowl before the waiter poured hot milk chocolate over the top melting the sphere so that it partly melted and collapsed. A layer of vanilla ice cream immediately spewed out and the honeycomb was revealed. One bite and I thought I was in a dream. This is chocolate decadence at it’s best. The chocolate is not too strong initially and balances well with the creamy melted vanilla ice cream. There is a smaller sphere of vanilla ice cream which has been preserved. After awhile, the dish does become rich but I enjoyed every spoonful. I would have loved a little more honeycomb which worked very well both in sweetness and texture. Later I did get a little bowl of honeycomb after dessert and I also got taken down to the kitchen. Pretty amazing to see the kitchen at work. You only see this on TV.
Petrus Food Review Summary
Verdict: I’m really being spoilt but I must indulge while I’m all the way over here. Another fantastic dinner in a lovely polished setting with professional service to match the professional food served. I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experience with the highlight being the main course of roast duck. What a fantastic jus so full of flavour it absolutely transforms the meal and steals the show from the perfectly cooked and roasted succulent duck. Of course, there was consistency across all the dishes and the signature dessert of the chocolate sphere presented not only theatre, but such amazing chocolate decadence. If there is a meal to finish off the night, this was it.
Price: Expensive (~$122 AUD, $1 AUD = £0.6 Pound)
Petrus Restaurant Details
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