So we start 2016 freezing our nuts off. No that’s not a new nitrogen cooled peanut cooking technique invented by Heston, although peanuts come to mind by the time we had got to HSK after a 20 minute artic walk! Met by warmth and smiles, we were very glad to be there. Instantly a very relaxed friendly vibe was apparent; this seemed to have the potential for a very good night ahead.
A couple of us were an hour early so we were seated in a very comfortable bar area and instantly brought water and popcorn without having to ask. Maybe silly….. but I liked that. The bar waiter was equally warming and hospitable….. So far 10 out of 10. With a fantastic original selection of cocktails, Bill and I, being the Alpha males we were, went for a ‘Love Potion no9’ and a ‘Lady Regent’ !! Absolutely gorgeous without being London silly prices either. A similar attitude Mr Ramsey must have adopted when putting together his wine list….. Mostly very tasty and affordable wines with some big boys if you wanted to spend the money. One thing I dislike on our London experiences is when you are given a wine list and there’s only 1 under £75 and you feel a cheapskate ordering it! It’s still flipping £75 too for the honour! To compliment the alcohol, the bar snacks were of an equally worthy note. I went for nuts!…. Not frozen but with Olives, Welsh Rarebit on Crumpet….. not bad, and Ham & Egg Croquettes…. Very nice especially with their dipping sauce.
Next up was a ‘Boozy Shake’….. Not something Gordon had learnt in Glasgow growing up, but a ‘Gentleman’s Breakfast’ was an alcoholic vanilla milkshake. Damn tasty! More cocktails with friendly and chatty service was to follow.
From this initial impression you knew that HSK wanted you to go home satisfied, happy, not broke yet having had a little taste of the finer things in life. 9.5/10 thus far.
Now with the full gang of 5 we were led to the Chef’s table…. Near the kitchen yes but also near the entrance for the artic winds when the door opened, and also with 4 nice stools and 1 that I think they must have whipped up in a DIY workshop earlier that day…. A little out of character for the night so far.
The menu was again nice and affordable so clearly not aiming at the ‘posh nosh’ end perhaps one would have expected at Claridges. Still, to compliment the exemplary service to date and the warm vibe of the place, we expected top ‘pub grub’. Pub…. I’m sure that’s not what’s the aim here but the warmth of one nonetheless.
To start I went for the Flatbread with butternut squash, mushrooms, caper berries and cheese. Not too bad. Others went for the Potted Beef, and the Egg and Soldiers. We also had a plate of Spicy Wings for the table. All very nice, nothing worth noting, just decent tasty food.
What did surprise me, and let it down, was that the waiters didn’t know what went where?….. Maybe I’m spoilt but typically these higher end restaurants have the ability to take orders and note the seating arrangement for the food. Perhaps this was one way of achieving that pub vibe again?
During the meal we had various wines with affordable price tags. Nothing worthy of a mention except that having spent a pretty penny over Christmas and going on holiday I was glad of the normality here.
For main I opted for a Lake District Farm Pork Chop. And thats exactly what I got. Wholesome tasty food but I’m not inspired to write much more on it!
The burgers were apparently good, the Chicken Paillard also good especially the Chorizo butter, and the fillet steak….. well good also! You can guess my adjective to describe the sides…….
I was a little underwhelmed by now and with some Christmas guilt in mind I decided against a desert. Macaroons, a Chocolate Tart and a Pavalova were had elsewhere, and again were tasty sweets.
I feel in writing this review that I haven’t given it enough dazzle or exciting substance. However no doubt if I was speaking with Gordon he’d comment ‘you ate, didn’t spend too much, went away happy’. And he’d have a point. Maybe he can be the face of that advert ‘does what it says on the side of the tin’?
But from a tough, old, world class Scottish chef you don’t expect the nancy boy cocktails, and service with a smile, to be the highlight of an evening!
3-9 Heddon Street,
020 7592 1212