10-13 Grosvenor Square, W1K
What? Gordon Ramsay’s outpost in Mayfair, which plunders classic French cuisine then sprinkles some Asian elements over it. Or you can go full-Asian by booking a spot at the Sushi Bar. The new Express Menu showcases both, offering three courses for £44 (£30 sans booze).
Where? A smart spot off Grosvenor Square that’s convenient for both the local hedge funds and Bond Street shoppers. Don’t get Maze confused with its next door neighbour Maze Grill. You want the one with the comfy-looking lounge filled with low-slung velvet couches, modern art and creamy banquettes.
Who? Gordon’s name may be up in lights, but it’s French head chef Alex Thiebaut who keeps the day-to-day operation running, while the sushi bar is overseen by French-Japanese chef Gohei Kishi.
Order this... The shiny burrata dome that arrives looking like a leafier 02 Arena, with salad cranes in a river of pesto, was the standout dish of the menu, but the other starter is also your only chance to try the sushi, in this case a tuna avocado maki roll. The mains have something for everyone – champagne cod for the elegant, aged beef belly for the decadent, and an artichoke risotto made meaty with morels. Dessert is either a vanilla creme patissiere topped with fresh strawberries and elderflower sorbet – a celebration of the English country garden – or a playful take on a white chocolate mousse with cherries.
Business or pleasure? It’s an economical way to entertain business contacts in a classic, yet laid back location. Besides, the unfortunate lift music played in the background might send you to sleep if you ate there socially.
Need to book? It’s probably for the best if you do. It was quiet on my visit, but the general manager says the dining room fills up between 12.30pm and 1.30pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Call 0207 107 0000 or email email@example.com
The verdict: A refined dining experience in a prestigious location. The Express Menu is genuinely efficient – all three dishes were served up within ten minutes of each other – so it’s a safe bet if you’ve only got an hour to spare. Speaking of safe, the dishes are dependably pleasant, but surprisingly light. At last, a fancy business lunch that won’t make you want to nod off at your desk in the afternoon.
One more thing... The sommelier is hand on to match a half bottle of house wine with your choices on the menu but, with or without booze, the price includes tea or coffee and petit fours – mine were dainty cubes of mango jelly with lime zest.