THERE are a lot of champagne-matched dinners to be had in London. But few are as stellar, or premium, as the one at Gordon Ramsay’s relaunched Petrus in Belgravia (not far from the old site at the Berkeley). This is a £450 per head chance to sup on Petrus chef Mark Askew’s finest dishes, prepared in front of your nose, paired with a host of Krugs to show off not just the sophisticated, almondy taste of the Champagne but the elegant way in which it sets off the flavours of the food.
The dinner kicks off with plenty of Krug Grande Cuvee to keep the amuse bouche company – sublime, tiny foie gras and quince chips and smoked salmon blinis with Oscietra caviar. Naturally.
The theme of well-honed decadence continues with pressed foie gras with Sauternes jelly and truffles – a wondrous slab of melting pink liver set off with a daub of sunshine in the form of the jelly, and all set alight with a glass of Krug Vintage 1998 – a fiercely well-made bubbly that knows its place.
Lobster and Oscietra caviar linguini with a champagne and chive veloute was next – the linguini a dense parcel waiting to be unfolded and set afloat in the pale, warm lobster gravy. With this the Krug Collection 1989 shone brilliantly, offering a caramelly haze of nutty bite and enveloping the food – and us – in a warm halo of pleasure.
Then the veal – ah the veal. Brought to the table and carved in front of us, this rack of English Rose with crispy sweetbread and caper jus was a symphony in carnivorous joy, engaging all pleasure receptors in the mouth at once. Melting pale pink meat with belly fat; milky sweetbread and the tart hit of caper jus made the perfect mouthful. What did we drink alongside it? Krug Rose, of course – probably my favourite of the bunch, after the 1989.
A beautiful cheese board came next and – understanding that even Krug has its limits – we were given some rather special Burgundy (2007 Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru, Les Charmes, Domaine Hudelot-Noellat, to be precise) to go with and were jolly thrilled by it.
Tapering down, now, we are kindly given a light pudding of marinated pineapple with coconut pannacotta, lime and chilli syrup, served with a return to the Grande Cuvee. Fresh-baked (and still warm) madeleines came next and some pretty chocolates.
It’s a first-rate experience, perfectly executed. Mark Askew, one of Ramsay’s longest-serving chefs, has a wonderful feeling for food. And the sommelier, the award-winning, very youthful Johannes Hartmann, is something of a genius as well as being a charming chaperone for the evening.
The chef’s table is popular, so book ahead if you’re planning a Christmas special treat for colleagues of family.
The Krug experience includes the tasting menu and Champagne at £450 per guest based on a minimum of 6 guests. To book, go to www.gordonramsay.com/petrus or call 020 7592 1373/4.