REVIEW: Bread Street Kitchen
It was, Gordon Ramsay told ShortList in February, the toughest launch of his restaurant career to date.
His Bread Street Kitchen, located in The Avenues in the cavernous underbelly of Atlantis, The Palm, opened to considerable fanfare in late October last year, but was greeted with a response that might best be described as lukewarm.
Inconsistent food, inattentive service and an ambience that was less the desired “warehouse” and more all-day-dining restaurant in a passable but unremarkable four-star beach resort, all contributed to a collective shrug from the city’s diners. There are, as Ramsay admitted, innumerable alternatives in which to spend your money.
When the chef returned within five months of opening, complete with a whole new round of PR, it was billed as routine; part of a hands-on philosophy that ensures establishments bearing his name are up to his exacting standards. The message, though, was clear: please give us another chance.
So, we did. To see what impact Ramsay’s visit had on his relaxed, British-style canteen, we popped by unannounced last week, hunkering down in a corner to assess any changes or tweaks to both the kitchen and the overall experience.
From the pleasingly truncated menu – focus is always a good thing – we ordered the rigatoni with tomatoes, aubergine, mozzarella and pecorino and the chilled tomato and raspberry soup to start.
The former was all comfort and mellow sweetness, with just enough acidic tang to raise it above the rustic, while the latter was a subtle, sharp surprise, with the liberal use of aged balsamic offering deeper, sharper notes.
It was the mains, though, that made us really sit up and purr in appreciation. The roasted cod with crushed potatoes, artichoke and salted capers was a delicate pile of precision, from the exquisitely cooked fish – crisp skin, soft flesh – to the earthy potatoes and lemon sauce that offered a depth usually associated with a pan jus. The portion size may have been an issue, but wanting more is never less than a compliment.
We also ordered the obligatory beef Wellington, the restaurant’s signature and a dish that is every bit deserving of its reputation – and, on Wednesdays, a whole evening in its honour. Served on a board with truffle mash, bone marrow sauce and pickled walnuts, the pastry-cased beef was a slice of soft, pink perfection, the kind of warm-hearted, honest meal you might nominate as your last ever. A dish that can often be overly-carbed sludge was, in short, faultless.
For dessert, a treacle tart with cinnamon ice-cream was shared, a suitably Anglophile end to the evening that resulted in plenty of unself-conscious spoon-licking.
The scorecard, then, was filled with plenty of As. The food was impeccable and the service attentive, flexible – we’d arrived early and decamped to the bar – and knowledgeable about the menu. The lone C would still be the ambiance. This food deserves a more intimate, more refined setting than the high-ceilinged beige.
Bread Street Kitchen
Where: The Avenues, Atlantis, The Palm
Contact: +9714 426 2000