150 Piccadilly, London, England, W1J 9BR, United Kingdom

Back to search results

Chef interview

John Williams MBE is the head chef of the Ritz Hotel in London.

Read more

What follows are notes from a meal in February 2011.

The dining room here is striking, luxuriously appointed as you might expect, yet for me the food is what I care about, and the attention to details shows in the bread. Several top London restaurants just buy in their bread, but here it is made from scratch and it shows. A brioche was extremely delicate, an oliver bread light in texture and heavily flavoured with olive, while even a plain white bread was excellent (easily 17/20 bread).

The first dish today was chicken terrine, served with a quail egg beignet and pickled mushrooms. The technique shown in the terrine was hard to fault, the texture smooth and the garnishes carefully made (16/20 at least). Next was celeriac baked in hay, served with salt beef, bone marrow and black truffle. This was a pretty dish, the bone marrow providing some depth of flavour and the earthy celeriac going well with the beef (16/20). 

My favourite dish from this meal was tea smoked salmon with crayfish and bergamot. Normally I am not a fan of bergamot, but here the flavour was well controlled, and the salmon was fabulous, nicely paired with carefully cooked crayfish (18/20). Native lobster was cooked just a fraction longer than I would have ideally liked, but was by no means overcooked, served with a rich carrot puree and ginger broth. These were pretty strong flavours for the delicate lobster; I thought it was fine but my experienced dining companion thought the broth overpowered the lobster (15/20). 

Next was an ingredient treat, milk-fed lamb from Pauillac, presented on a wooden board and carved at the table: the lamb was carefully cooked and the flavour was lovely (comfortably 17/20). Cheese from Paxton and Whitfield was pleasant rather than exciting, which I found odd as they are a very good supplier (15/20). Dessert was Brillat Savarin cheesecake, served with poached rhubarb, buttermilk and vanilla sorbet. This was a prettily presented dish, and for me I would just like to have seen more Brillat Savarin flavour, though I really liked the idea of the rhubarb to provide balancing acidity (16/20). Coffee was of very good quality. The sommelier provided some well-matched wine pairing, and I particularly liked the Podium 2008 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesy Garofoli with the salmon. Service was top of the range, attentive, knowledgeable and friendly. Why this restaurant does not have a Michelin star is a mystery to me. The bill was £106 a head, so hardly cheap, but this was for a full tasting mneu with generous wine pairing.



Further reviews: 28th Mar 2024 | 02nd Feb 2024 | 11th Dec 2023 | 01st Nov 2023 | 24th Sep 2023 | 26th Jun 2023 | 10th May 2023 | 08th Mar 2023 | 09th Dec 2022 | 04th Nov 2022 | 30th Sep 2022 | 20th Jul 2022 | 24th Jun 2022 | 15th Apr 2022 | 08th Feb 2022 | 14th Dec 2021 | 06th Dec 2021 | 22nd Oct 2021 | 14th Oct 2021 | 25th Jun 2021 | 25th May 2021 | 15th Oct 2020 | 28th Aug 2020 | 31st Jul 2020 | 29th Feb 2020 | 19th Nov 2019 | 25th Oct 2019 | 30th Sep 2019 | 30th Aug 2019 | 16th Jul 2019 | 18th Apr 2019 | 12th Mar 2019 | 26th Sep 2018 | 01st Aug 2018 | 04th May 2018 | 20th Apr 2018 | 13th Feb 2018 | 11th Dec 2017 | 02nd Feb 2017 | 15th Jun 2016 | 27th Jan 2016 | 26th Aug 2015 | 28th Feb 2015 | 21st Dec 2013 | 24th Aug 2013 | 30th Apr 2013 | 29th Dec 2011 | 01st Dec 2010

Add a comment


User comments